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National Health Experts Launch Bipartisan Coalition to Fight Chronic Disease

Seven Chronic Diseases Affect More Than 3.2 Million Marylanders

BALTIMORE, April 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., FACS, 17th U.S. Surgeon General (2002-2006), President of the non-profit Canyon Ranch Institute, and National Chairperson of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, and AstraZeneca CEO David Brennan, newly elected Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), today joined state and local leaders from Maryland to launch a partnership calling for comprehensive health reform to address the growing crisis of chronic disease in Maryland and nationwide.

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is a coalition committed to making chronic disease prevention and management a major part of comprehensive health reform. PFCD is led nationally by Dr. Carmona, as national chairperson, and Ken Thorpe, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and former White House health policy advisor, as executive director.

The Maryland chapter of PFCD has 38 state partners and a distinguished panel of co-chairs including: Former Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend; Mid-Atlantic Association of Community Health Centers' Chief Executive Officer, Miguel McInnis, M.P.H.; Maryland State and D.C. AFL-CIO President, Fred Mason; and The COSHAR Foundation's Executive Director, Sharon D. Allison-Ottey, M.D. PFCD's broad coalition of national and state partners believe it is impossible to contain rising health care costs -- and tackle other issues of coverage and quality -- without addressing chronic disease.

"I humbly commend President Obama and our Congressional leaders for addressing chronic disease as part of meaningful health reform. As U.S. Surgeon General, I worked to reduce the burden of chronic disease on the largest medical practice in the world -- 300 million Americans whom I had the privilege to serve," said Dr. Carmona. "With 75 cents of every health care dollar spent to treat and manage chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and cancers, our leaders must work together to reduce the burdens that chronic diseases place on our communities. Today we welcome the state of Maryland and its dedicated leadership to the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic diseases are responsible for seven out of every 10 deaths in the United States -- taking the lives of more than 1.7 million Americans every year. Chronic diseases are also the primary driver of health care costs, accounting for more than 75 percent of the more than $2 trillion dollars spent each year on health care in the United States.

The financial burden in Maryland of chronic disease is tremendous. A study by the Milken Institute looked at seven common chronic diseases and found that in Maryland, the total treatment costs of these diseases amounted to nearly $5.2 billion in 2003. The total economic costs -- in terms of treatment and productivity loss associated with poor health from chronic diseases -- amounted to more than $25.7 billion. NOTE: STATE DATA CAN BE FOUND AT:

"Any serious proposal to reform our health care system must address preventable chronic disease," said Mr. Mason. "Our state's premier business, labor, health care, faith, and community organizations are dedicated to making prevention and management of chronic diseases a top health care priority for policymakers."

Maryland's chapter of PFCD is comprised of 38 statewide partners including:

  • Access Carroll
  • American Cancer Society, South Atlantic Division
  • Arthritis Foundation, Maryland Chapter
  • Asthma Allergy Foundation of America, Maryland-Greater D.C. Chapter
  • Baltimore County Department of Aging
  • Baltimore Housing Office of Community Services
  • Baltimore Medical System
  • Community Free Clinic
  • Community Health Charities of Maryland
  • The COSHAR Foundation, Inc.
  • Eastern Area Treatment Program
  • Emmanuel Brinklow Seventh Day Adventists Church
  • Epilepsy Foundation of the Chesapeake Region
  • Greater Baltimore Committee
  • The Healthcare Council of the National Capital Area
  • Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Maryland Chapter
  • Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, National Capital Area Chapter
  • Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area
  • Maryland Academy of Family Physicians
  • American Academy of Pediatrics, Maryland Chapter
  • Maryland Chamber of Commerce
  • Maryland Hospital Association
  • Maryland Pharmacists Association
  • Maryland Physicians Care
  • Maryland State Conference of NAACP Branches
  • The Maryland State Medical Society
  • Mid-Atlantic Association of Community Health Centers
  • National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency, Maryland
  • National Kidney Foundation of the National Capital Area
  • Primary Care Coalition of Montgomery County
  • Priority Partners MCO, Johns Hopkins Health Care
  • Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association
  • Technology Council of Maryland
  • Total Healthcare
  • Union Memorial Hospital Cancer Program
  • United Seniors of Maryland
  • University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute
  • YMCA of Central Maryland

About the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is a national and state-based coalition of hundreds of patient, provider, community, business, and labor groups, committed to raising awareness of the number-one cause of death, disability, and rising health care costs in the U.S.: poorly prevented and mismanaged chronic disease.

PFCD's mission is to:

  • Challenge policymakers to make fighting chronic disease a top priority and discuss how they will address it in their health care proposals
  • Educate the public about chronic disease and potential solutions for individuals, communities, and the nation
  • Mobilize Americans to call for change in how policymakers, governments, employers, health institutions, and other entities approach chronic disease

For more information about PFCD and its partner organizations, please visit:

SOURCE Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease
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