HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced the availability of $27 million to help older individuals with chronic conditions to improve their health and reduce their use of costly medical care. These funds are made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which has provided up to $650 million to HHS for the Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative launched earlier this fall to promote evidence-based prevention strategies in communities and states across the country.
"This program is about getting money to communities to help seniors manage chronic conditions that threaten their ability to remain in their own homes. Through HHS' national aging-services network which reaches into nearly every community in America, we are helping people living with chronic conditions and others better manage their own health,"
Secretary Sebelius said.
Research has shown that prevention programs can improve the quality of life for older individuals, including frail seniors with multiple chronic conditions, and also reduce health care costs. The Recovery Act funds will put the results of HHS' research investments into practice at more than 1,200 community-based sites across the country -- reaching tens of thousands of older Americans and their families.
"The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been about helping families in need during challenging economic times, " said Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee. "This innovative program will give at-risk older people and their caregivers the tools they need to make their own decisions so they can live longer, healthier and more independent lives."
This competitive initiative gives every state Aging and Health Department and U.S. territory the opportunity to implement rigorously tested Chronic Disease Self-Management Programs (CDSMP), one of the most prominent being the Stanford University model. The CDSMP is a six-week peer-led training program that covers topics such as healthy eating, exercise, managing fatigue and depression, and communicating effectively with health care professionals. While further research is underway, rigorous evaluations have suggested that the program improves participants' overall health and energy levels and result in savings to Medicare through fewer hospital stays. CDSMP are specifically designed to be delivered by non-health professionals in community settings, such as senior centers, congregate meal programs, faith-based organizations and senior housing projects.
"Too many seniors do not receive the recommended preventive and primary care they need," said Assistant Secretary for Health, Dr. Howard K. Koh.
"This program will strengthen the health care that our seniors need and deserve by coordinating and integrating care in the community."