NCOA survey: Patients with chronic conditions delay health care
LAS VEGAS Providing better and affordable health care for millions of Americans struggling with chronic conditions is the leading challenge in health care and healthcare reform today, as many of these patients are delaying health care due to cost, battling emotional stresses and feeling abandoned by their healthcare provider.
That was a key message of the National Council on Aging, which unveiled on Wednesday the findings of a new healthcare survey.
“We at NCOA, and our partners, wanted to better understand their struggles and their barriers to managing their health care, and that is why we conducted a survey of over 1,000 people with chronic conditions,” said James Firman, president and CEO of NCOA. “In other words, we are going to inform the reform. We are going to be sure that one central question gets asked in the ensuing healthcare debate: What if people with chronic conditions had the support they needed to better manage their conditions, and how would that affect our healthcare system?”
The survey was conducted by Lake Research Partners between Jan. 5 and Jan. 30, among 1,109 Americans ages 44 and older nationwide who have at least one such chronic condition as heart disease, arthritis, hypertension or diabetes.
The nonprofit National Council on Aging commissioned the survey, dubbed “Re-Forming Health Care: Americans Speak Out about Chronic Conditions and the Pursuit of Healthier Lives,” with support from The Atlantic Philanthropies and the California Health Care Foundation.
With chronic conditions as the central challenge to American health care today, NCOA is working to identify gaps in chronic care, including self-care, to inform the national conversation about healthcare reform.
According to the NCOA, nearly half of all adult Americans nationwide suffer from chronic conditions; and the medical costs of said chronic diseases are staggering. In fact, chronic disease accounts for more than 75% of the nation?s $2 trillion medical care costs.
According to the survey, 25% of survey respondents have delayed health care or not filled a much-needed prescription due to cost in the past year, despite the fact that they are frequently or sometimes living in pain (71%), stressed (65%) or depressed (50%).
While most survey respondents say they rely on the healthcare system for ongoing help, many do not believe they are getting the support they need.
More than half (57%) of those surveyed say their healthcare providers have not asked whether they have help to manage their problems and 45% say they rarely or never receive referrals to resources such as classes, counselors, dieticians or health educators. More than one-third of respondents say they don?t have the funds it takes to do things that will improve their health.
This percent is much higher among Latinos (63%), African Americans (58%), people with annual household incomes below $20,000 (65%) and people with four or more chronic conditions (59%).
According to Nancy Whitelaw, SVP, Center for Healthy Aging with NCOA, the NCOA has characterized three areas of focus:
- Policy: The federal government needs to make investments in community-based programs, and in primary care and hospital settings to ensure team-based, coordinated care across all settings.
- Practice: Health care professionals have a responsibility to connect their patients to effective community self-care programs, as well as improve the quality and coordination of care to people with chronic conditions.
- Personal Skills: Americans with chronic conditions need to develop the skills and confidence to manage their health and to advocate for the help and support they need.
“We are going to keep looking forward on this agenda at NCOA and with our partners and look forward to working with all of you in the coming months about getting the message out: chronic care has to be at the heart of the reform agenda,” Whitelaw said.
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to receive prestigious health care award
BETHESDA, Md. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will be honored in Washington, D.C., for remarkable leadership in improving the quality of care for people living with cystic fibrosis, by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.
The NCQA is a private, not-for-profit organization devoted to improving the quality of health care by elevating the issue to the national level. Each year, the organization presents Health Quality Awards to individuals and organizations that show an ongoing commitment to improving the quality of health care. Previous award recipients include Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and actress and advocate Mary Tyler Moore.
The Foundation was among the first health organizations to publish health outcomes data for its accredited care centers. The data is updated annually so people with CF can track the progress of their individual care centers.
“We are honored to receive the Health Quality Award from NCQA for driving improvements in care for people with cystic fibrosis,” said Bruce Marshall, M.D., VP clinical affairs for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. “Increasingly, we’re learning that quality improvement efforts when applied to a chronic disease can have a dramatic impact on patients’ lives.”
The Foundation supports and accredits a nationwide network of more than 115 care centers, which provide vital treatments and resources to patients and families. In 2002, the Foundation launched its quality improvement program to accelerate improvement in care. Since that time, key indicators of health for people with cystic fibrosis — including lung function and nutritional status — have increased across the Foundation’s care center network. Improved lung function and nutrition leads to added years of life.
Take Care opens clinic in Chicago
CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. Take Care Health Systems, which is owned by Walgreens, has announced the opening of a new clinic in the Chicago area.
With the new opening, the clinic operator now has 35 clinics in that market.
In total, Take Care Health now has 340 clinics in 35 markets throughout 19 states.