NCHC Writer
Default Image

Almost 80 percent of the $1.5 billion total U.S. health care expenditures is used to treat people with chronic diseases, yet only a minority of the more than 125 million who suffer from those diseases receives the most appropriate medical care, according to experts at a national meeting held today in Washington, D.C., on “Raising the Bar: Improving Quality of Care for the Chronically Ill Through Best Practices and Public Policy.”

The meeting was sponsored by the National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC) and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) as part of an initiative to identify innovations that improve the quality of care, to document their impact, and to disseminate that information to all parties involved in health care, including providers, purchasers, and consumers. The Institute of Medicine hosted the meeting at the National Academy of Sciences.

Speakers at the conference included representatives from the institutions profiled in the report issued today, Curing the System: Stories of Change in Chronic Illness Care. They described actions they have taken that could and should be adopted or adapted by the nation’s health care system and that could dramatically improve the quality and control the cost of chronic disease care. The expert team that selected those profiled in the report was headed by Edward Wagner, M.D., M.P.H., Director of the MacColl Institute for Healthcare Innovation, at Group Health Cooperative in Seattle.

“Improving the management of chronic diseases is extremely important to improving the quality of health care,” said Henry E. Simmons, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P., president of the National Coalition. “However, it is only one part of the much greater task we have before us, and one which has been documented by numerous reports, including those of the NCHC, the Institute of Medicine, the IHI, and the President’s Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry. We need to address the total problem of the overuse, underuse, and misuse of health care services and to change the way medicine is practiced in this country accordingly,” he added.

The National Coalition is the nation’s largest, most broadly representative alliance working to improve America’s health care system. It is non-partisan and non-profit, and its members include large and small businesses, unions, consumer, provider and religious groups, foundations, and health and pension funds. Its Honorary Co-Chairs are former Presidents George Bush, Jimmy Carter, and Gerald R. Ford. Former Governor Robert D. Ray (R-IA) and former Congressman Paul G. Rogers (D-FL) serve as Co-Chairs of the Coalition.

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement is an internationally recognized, independent, non-profit education and research organization. It was founded in 1991 with the goal of fostering collaboration among health care organizations to improve the quality of health care.