HHS to release $27 million to fight chronic disease among older adults

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HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

The Department of Health and Human Services is disbursing $27 million in stimulus package funds to bolster care and prevention of chronic conditions among the elderly through the HHS' Administration on Aging (AoA), it said Wednesday.

The initiative allows state Aging and Health Departments to implement certain Chronic Disease Self-Management Programs (CDSMP), which are geared toward educating seniors on disease management with the goal of increasing health and reducing Medicare and Medicaid costs. Non-health professionals deliver the programs in community settings, such as senior centers and senior housing projects. The six-week programs cover topics such as healthy eating, exercise, managing fatigue and depression, and communicating effectively with healthcare professionals, according to HHS.

Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), who worked to include the funds in the stimulus package earlier this year, released a statement Wednesday explaining that such AoA evidence-based prevention and wellness programs “target some of the costliest areas of health care, and in doing so can save the government millions of dollars in Medicare spending.” Recent studies have shown that as much as 75% of healthcare spending goes toward treating chronic conditions.
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