Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wow, what a concept: Healthcare should Focus on Prevention & Preparedness

I received the Foundation Center's e-newsletter "Philanthropy News Digest" today. As I scanned the headlines, I was drawn to the headline Report Lays Out Blueprint for Modernizing U.S. Healthcare System. The summary information is noted below, click the links for the whole report.

(The first link, Trust for America's Health, has key health statistics by state. The Texas information was disheartening, but not surprising.)

In order to make up for a $20 billion annual shortfall in funding for public health programs, the U.S. needs to establish a stable, reliable funding stream and increase state, local, and federal spending by billions of dollars, a new report from the Trust for America's Health argues.

Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the report, Blueprint for a Healthier America: Modernizing the Federal Public Health System to Focus on Prevention and Preparedness (134 pages, PDF), found that despite the $2 trillion spent annually on health care in the United States, tens of millions of Americans suffer from preventable diseases, while major vulnerabilities exist in the nation's preparedness to respond to health emergencies. To help address these issues, the report recommends increasing federal spending by $12 billion and state and local spending by $8 billion annually over the next four to five years.

Other recommendations in the report include setting realistic short- and long-term health goals for the country; investing in disease prevention as a cornerstone of healthcare reform; implementing a National Health and Prevention Strategy focused on lowering disease rates and combating obesity; and clearly defining public health emergency preparedness and response roles and responsibilities.

"America's public health system is broken. Serious gaps exist in the nation's ability to safeguard health, putting our families, communities, states, and the country at risk," said TFAH executive director Jeff Levi. "This blueprint reflects ideas from the best and the brightest minds in public health for ways to prevent disease, prepare for disasters, and bring down healthcare costs."

“Trust for America's Health Releases Blueprint for Modernizing Public Health for the Presidential Transition and Next Congress.”

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Press Release 10/21/08.

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