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Major Stakeholders in Health Reform Debate Call for Greater Focus on Disease Prevention and Management in Senate Finance Committee's Policy Options Paper
Date:5/18/2009

Considerable Room to Strengthen Emphasis on Promoting Health and Wellness and Reducing Common and Costly Chronic Disease in Medicare

WASHINGTON, May 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly 200 members of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) -- an organization representing some of the nation's biggest voices in health care -- called on Sens. Max Baucus and Charles Grassley to strengthen the focus on chronic disease prevention and management in their recent paper, "Transforming the Health Care Delivery System: Proposals to Improve Patient Care and Reduce Health Care Costs."

Specifically, PFCD partners called for a greater focus on shifting the health care delivery system from its current state of providing care after a health crisis to emphasizing prevention and intervention strategies through incentives for patient and providers to better prevent, detect and manage chronic disease.

In a letter to Senate Finance Chair Max Baucus and Senate Finance Chair Ranking Member Charles Grassley, the 195 partners and affiliated organizations that signed the letter thanked the chairs for the incorporating suggestions to improve care of high cost chronically ill beneficiaries in the recently introduced policy paper, and encouraged them to strengthen the ideas brought forward in that paper to emphasize better prevention and management of chronic disease among all Medicare beneficiaries. The comments aim to encourage Congressional leadership to introduce policy reforms that motivate all participants in our health care system -- individuals, providers and payers -- to embrace health promotion and wellness, and catch disease early.

The group outlined several recommendations for updating the health care reforms proposed in the policy options paper including:

  • Ensure that reforms to the Medicare delivery model and payment system shift from rewarding acute care and treatment after a health crisis to helping beneficiaries pro-actively manage their health by emphasizing prevention, early intervention, and appropriate treatment.
  • Introduce care-coordination strategies in Medicare such as patient-centered medical homes and community health teams to strengthen communication between doctors and patients and reduce errors, wasteful spending and disparities.
  • Design financial incentives for patients and providers in Medicare to lower barriers to patient compliance with provider recommendations and prescribed care to prevent, detect, and manage disease.

Of note, the group also emphasized that slowing the progression of chronic disease is critical to improving our nation's health, guarding the financial stability of our health care system, and expanding our nation's economic horizons.

Chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, are responsible for seven out of 10 deaths and affect more than 130 million Americans. The annual economic impact on the U.S. of the seven most common chronic diseases is estimated to be $1.3 trillion, which could balloon to nearly $6 trillion by 2050.

About the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease:

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is a national and state-based coalition of patients, providers, community organizations, business and labor groups, and health policy experts committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability, and rising health care costs in the U.S.: chronic disease. For more information about the PFCD and its partner organizations, please visit: www.fightchronicdisease.org.


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SOURCE Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease
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