7-Step National Action Plan Promotes Prevention, Wellness: HHS

Monday, June 18th, 2012
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

Plans to make Americans healthier continue, with a new national action plan from the HHS.

Seventeen federal departments and agencies are currently on board to enact a seven step national plan, including initiatives to clean up the air and water, renovate or create safe outdoor spaces for physical activity, make healthier foods more accessible, and assure violence-free environments. This is part of a comprehensive effort to tackle such issues as obesity, tobacco use, health disparities and chronic disease.

One federal initiative that has helped to keep young adults healthy was the ACA’s ruling that youths could stay on their parents’ health plans until they are 26. According to a new study from the Commonwealth Fund, millions of young adults stayed on or joined their parents’ health plans in 2011 who wouldn’t have been eligible prior to ACA passage. However, nearly 40 percent of young adults aged 19 to 29 went without health insurance at some time in 2011 primarily because their parents did not have healthcare coverage, and affordability of healthcare remains a crucial issue for young adults.

Keeping older adults comfortable, while at the same time minimizing their hospitalization and healthcare costs, is behind a new study from UCSF and published in Health Affairs. The study finds that creating specialized hospital units for elderly people with acute medical illness could reduce national healthcare costs by as much $6 billion a year. Researchers suggest that minor changes in current healthcare models can yield significant results. Leaving patients in their hospital beds, for example, or constantly interrupting them in the middle of the night for disruptive evaluations, often lead to longer recovery time and longer hospital stays. Creating interdisciplinary teams that specialize in the care of older patients, and that tend to elderly patients daily, can do much to minimize their discomfort and shorten their stays.

And one healthcare model that will likely stand the test of time, and a potential Supreme Court challenge, is the ACO. According to our latest market research, ACO activity has doubled in the last 12 months. Also in our white paper: data on how many ACOs participate in the CMS Shared Savings Program, and which kinds of ACOs were the most common.

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