Forum focuses on chronic disease management

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The important role of chronic disease management in healthcare reform was the topic of conversation Tuesday among former lawmakers and healthcare advocates at a forum in Wisconsin.

Ways to prevent chronic disease, such as increased exercise, quitting smoking, diet management and weight control were all mentioned as possible health-improvement and money saving measures. Effective management of chronic disease could lead to a change in physician and facility reimbursement, but conversation concerning specifics and details was kept to a minimum, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The forum was part of an ongoing series of forums, collectively titled "Summit Conversations on American Health Care for the 21st Century," which are being held across the country. Participants included former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson and former House majority leader Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-MO).

Recent reports indicate that nine out of 10 seniors have at least one chronic health condition, such as heart disease or diabetes, and up to 77% of seniors have two or more. (McKnight's, 5/30/08) Chronic conditions also constitute up to 75% of healthcare spending.