The Safety of Seniors Act, a bi-partisan bill designed to expand research into, and raise awareness of falls in the elderly population, cleared the House and is now headed to the president for his approval.
Falls currently cost $12 billion in hospital fees, $4 billion in emergency room visits and $3 billion in outpatient care, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those numbers are expected to rise as high as $43.8 billion by the year 2020. Medicare typically pays for the majority of these costs.
The Safety of Seniors Act (S.845) is expected to help educate the public on fall prevention, encourage research to identify at-risk populations and support projects designed to prevent falls among seniors. Several groups, including AARP and the National Council on Aging, support the legislation.