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AMA Encourages Community-Clinical Partnerships to Increase Use of Preventive Health Services Among Boomers

For immediate release
Nov. 19, 2009

Statement is attributable to:
Edward L. Langston, MD
AMA Board Member

"Nearly half of Americans are living with often-preventable chronic diseases that limit their quality of life and cost the U.S. health care system billions of dollars a year to treat. Keeping up with screenings and immunizations can help detect and prevent many of these health problems early on.

"Not one state is meeting the U.S. Health and Human Services goal for influenza and pneumonia vaccinations. Considering the availability, affordability and safety of these vaccines, we can and we must, do better than we are doing now. A community-clinical partnership through state medical societies working with their physician members, public health administrators, and advocates can help to increase the number of patients who receive the H1N1 vaccination.

"By partnering with community organizations such as local health departments, public schools, community programs, and work places, physicians can help to make a stronger impact to ensure that important, life-saving preventive health care services are offered in an array of settings to improve access and use among adults 50-64. Disease and prevention efforts will help to improve early detection and treatment of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, or more importantly, in some cases helping to prevent the onset of chronic illness through identifying and minimizing health risks.

"Seventy-five percent of the total health care spending in the U.S. is linked to chronically ill patients. Many chronic health problems are preventable, and if we can help Americans live healthier, we can reduce disease and decrease health care spending. As the nation works to improve its overall health care system and get more value from our health care dollar, each person can help make a difference by taking steps to stay healthy as they age. It is never too late to start working to prevent diseases.

"The AMA has advocated for and supports a focus on wellness and disease prevention as part of meaningful health system reform to improve patients' quality of life and as a way to curb the rise of health care costs."

The report can be accessed at www.ama-assn.org/go/aging

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The report recommends the following preventive health care services for Adults ages 50-64:

  • Cholesterol screenings
  • Cervical cancer screenings
  • Colorectal cancer screenings
  • Engage in physical activity
  • Monitor obesity risks
  • Monitor Smoking risks
  • Monitor risky alcohol use
  • Moderate Depressive Syndrome Risks
  • Monitor high blood pressure
  • Pneumococcal Immunizations
  • Influenza Immunizations

For more information or an interview, please contact:

Leah Dudowicz
AMA Media Relations
(312) 464-4813