Preventable Medicare Costs $60 Billion

Medicare’s expenses for its fall-related injury beneficiaries will amount as high as $60 billion annually within the next eight years as expected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The United States would have spent half a trillion dollars in treating elderly who were fall victims between the present and the new president’s election in 2020. The good news is that falls among the seniors can be obstructed by adopting community prevented programs, personal assessment & initiative and diligent involvement of physicians.

Although Medicare’s financing have been the subject of misinformed assertions, illogical & impartial arguments and continuous oral, Democrat, Republican and Independent lawmakers are determined to achieve the common objective of decreasing the number of fall victims, as well as its cost. The Affordable Care Act and the independent Congressional Budget Office are major components in working towards the reduction of fiscal costs. By July, they reported  that they have repealed Obamacare which  would have added $716 billion in costs back to Medicare between this  year and 2022. By controlling preventable falls, billions of dollars are saved.

Veteran Senator Herbert Kohl (D-WI) who is serving as Chair of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, — Representative Paul Ryan’s home state of yes Wisconsin, — headed the Senate Resolution Sept. 22 declaration as essential step towards their long-term effort in controlling the cost of Medicare. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Robert Casey Jr. (D-PA), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY), Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) comprised six other senators who sponsored Senate Resolution 553.

In these seven senators’ states, public health leaders’ initiatives on fall prevention are given top priority. All the 43 states and the District of Columbia have adopted Fall Prevention Coalitions and are convincing state and local levels to start education drive for the seniors, policy makers, health departments, doctors, and other service providers on the importance of preventing falls. All the agencies, National Council on Aging’s Falls Free Initiative, the Fall Prevention Center of Excellence, the U.S. Administration on Aging, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and private funders such as the California-based Archstone Foundation have concentrated all their efforts towards the success of the goal..

More than 20,000 older Americans die annually from all kinds of falls, whether falling from ladder while hanging Christmas lights, skidding on an icy sidewalk, tripping over a tree root in the front yard, stumbling over clutter inside the living room, swooning from over-medication, or slipping in the bath tub. Death is the usual result of fall-induced head and internal injuries. This leads to two million and more elderly fall victims who are treated in emergency rooms awhile more than 650,000 required hospitalized. Even for those older adults who are admitted in hospitals, they still need care and attention for they are likely to suffer from bad mix of medications or over-medication, decreasing vision, poor nutrition, decreased strength and balance, inadequate footwear, or hazardous living environment.

Fall victim often broke a hip never to walk again and spent the rest of their days in nursing homes. The fiscal impact of falls leading to institutionalization and long term care are far beyond the coverage of federal government and Medicare. It is always the states paying for the fall of lower income seniors who end up on long term Medicaid. Many private insurance companies, as HMOs who benefit as active participant in the lucrative Medicare Advantage Plans, understood that by maximizing Medicare subsidies, they need to educate their patients and health care providers on how to prevent falls. For the same reasons, government are endorsing and sponsoring education and prevention efforts for older adults and their health care providers to play active roles in reducing falls and their expensive financial impact on taxpayers. The FY13 Federal Budget have appropriated  $12 million for Fall Prevention Programs will benefit returns on Medicare savings over the next ten years. By spending millions of dollars for prevention programs, they are able to save billions in health care expenditures and Medicare funds.

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