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President Signs Elder Falls Bill Into Law

Home Safety Council(R) Applauds Enactment of Safety of Seniors Act

WASHINGTON, April 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The Home Safety Council, the only national nonprofit organization solely dedicated to preventing unintentional home injuries, applauds today's enactment of the Safety of Seniors Act. The bill, signed into law by President Bush yesterday, comes at a critical time when each year, one in three Americans age 65 and older falls and about 30 percent of those who fall require medical treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it costs more than $19 billion annually to treat the elderly for the effects of falls.

Introduced earlier this year by Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) in the Senate and Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Ralph Hall (R-TX) in the House, this bi-partisan legislation, now Public Law 110-202, will develop effective public and professional education strategies to raise awareness about elder falls, encourage research to identify at-risk populations and evaluate falls interventions, and support demonstration projects aimed at preventing falls among older Americans.

"We thank Senators Enzi and Mikulski and Representatives Pallone and Hall for their consistent leadership on this issue," said Patricia Adkins, Chief Operating Officer of the Home Safety Council. "We applaud their efforts and are proud to have worked with them to achieve the enactment of an important law that will help keep millions of older Americans safe from falls-related injuries," she added.

The Home Safety Council and other members of the Falls Free Coalition Advocacy Work Group which include the National Council on Aging, the National Safety Council, AARP, the American Occupational Therapy Association, and the American Physical Therapy Association, have worked closely with the offices of Senators Enzi and Mikulski and Representatives Pallone and Hall to ensure passage of the legislation.

Additional Funding Needed

Based on CDC figures, more than $19 billion annually is spent on treating the elderly for the adverse effects of falls: $12 billion for hospitalization, $4 billion for emergency department visits, and $3 billion for outpatient care. Most of these expenses are paid for by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services through Medicare. It is projected that direct treatment costs from elder falls will escalate to $43.8 billion annually by 2020.

According to Adkins, the enactment of the Safety of Seniors Act is an important first step in helping older Americans and it should be followed by appropriating additional funding for the CDC's falls prevention budget.

"If we are to make a meaningful difference for older adults, we must communicate to Congress and the White House that more resources are needed to adopt programs that are working," said Adkins. "Trying to solve a $19 billion problem with a $1 million budget does not make sense. Our older Americans deserve better."

Earlier this year, the Falls Free Coalition Advocacy Work Group and 25 national policy organizations called on Congress to add $20.7 million in Fiscal Year 2009 for CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control to address the growing, large-scale problem of falls among older Americans.

About Home Safety Council

The Home Safety Council(R) (HSC) is the only national nonprofit organization solely dedicated to preventing home related injuries that result in nearly 20,000 deaths and 21 million medical visits on average each year. Through national programs, partnerships and the support of volunteers, HSC educates people of all ages to be safer in and around their homes. The Home Safety Council is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization located in Washington, DC.

Contact: Shannon McDaniel

Brand Resources Group, Inc.


SOURCE Home Safety Council
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