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Technology Leaders, Patient Groups and Community Advocates Launch Effort to Tackle Chronic Disease Crisis in Washington State
Date:5/21/2009

Microsoft Corp., The Moyer Foundation, Group Health, The Technology Alliance, UW TechTransfer all partners in new initiative

SEATTLE, May 21 /PRNewswire/ -- An alliance of leaders in health care, business, and community advocacy today launched the Washington state chapter of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD). Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., FACS, 17th U.S. Surgeon General (2002-2006), President of the nonprofit Canyon Ranch Institute, and National Chairperson of the PFCD, joined leaders from Washington to launch the partnership, which is calling for comprehensive health reform to address the growing crisis of chronic disease in Washington and the entire nation.

The PFCD's Washington state coalition features a distinguished group of co-chairs, including David Cerino, General Manager of Microsoft Health Solutions Group; Karen Moyer, Co-founder and Vice President of The Moyer Foundation; Dr. Gordon Bopp, past President of National Alliance on Mental Illness in Washington; and Linden Rhoads, Vice Provost of UW TechTransfer.

Chronic diseases inflict an enormous toll on the health of individuals and families, but the economic price tag is also huge. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 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 spent each year on health care in the United States.

"I humbly commend President Obama and our Congressional leaders for addressing chronic disease as part of meaningful health reform," said Dr. Carmona. "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. 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 by increasing prevention and improving health literacy of all Americans. Today we welcome the state of Washington and its dedicated leadership to the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease."

"A critical component to transforming health care is providing people with the right information so that they may prevent diseases before they develop, to the same extent that we are supported as patients to treat diseases after they occur," said Washington PFCD co-chair David Cerino. "Through innovative technology, we can help caregivers and patients embrace a holistic, proactive approach to health, creating healthier lifestyles and preventing chronic diseases and the tremendous toll they take on our society."

The financial burden in Washington of chronic diseases is tremendous. A study by the Milken Institute looked at seven common chronic diseases and found that in Washington, the total treatment costs of these diseases amounted to $4.9 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 $23 billion. NOTE: STATE DATA CAN BE FOUND AT: www.chronicdiseaseimpact.org.

"Any serious discussion over how to reform our health care system must include addressing the huge and growing problem of chronic diseases," said Washington PFCD co-chair Dr. Gordon Bopp. "Without a major commitment to preventing, detecting and managing chronic diseases in the United States, we'll never get to the root of our nation's largest health care crisis."

"In addition to a significant health and economic toll, chronic diseases also have a profound emotional impact on our society, particularly on children," said Washington PFCD co-chair Karen Moyer. "By raising awareness of the damage that chronic diseases cause and taking steps to prevent them from occurring in the first place, we can help millions of children avoid the emotional distress that this crisis is inflicting on families in Washington and across the country."

"As we continue to face economic challenges as a region and a nation, it is more clear than ever that chronic diseases are ravaging our health and our economy," said Washington PFCD co-chair Linden Rhoads. "Research and development are key weapons to combating this enormous problem, and we must ensure that we continue to provide the funding required for effective R&D."

About the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease

The PFCD is a national and state-based coalition of hundreds of patient, provider, community, business, and labor groups committed to raising awareness of the No. 1 cause of death, disability, and rising health care costs in the United States: poorly prevented and mismanaged chronic disease.

The 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 the PFCD and its partner organizations, please visit: www.fightchronicdisease.org.

Media Contacts: Nate Cole-Daum, Nyhus Communications LLC for the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, (206) 323-3733 | nate@nyhus.com


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SOURCE Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease
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