Green Introduces Bill to Boost Geriatric Care
June 25, 2004
Washington, DC - In an effort to ensure that Americas growing elderly population receives the proper medical treatment, Congressman Gene Green (D-Houston) introduced the Geriatric and Chronic Care Management Act (HR 4689). Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) introduced the companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.
With the average life expectancy rising to 80 years-old for women and 74 years-old for men, Americans are living longer than ever, said Green. But with longer life expectancy comes a greater need to manage chronic diseases such as Alzheimers, diabetes, and heart disease. This legislation will allow seniors to receive the necessary care for their chronic diseases under Medicares fee-for-service program.
Twenty percent of the Medicare population has at least five chronic conditions, accounting for two-thirds of total program spending. Medicare beneficiaries with greater numbers of chronic conditions run considerably higher risk of hospitalization for medical conditions that could be treated on an outpatient basis before they get to a stage requiring hospitalization. Access to quality, chronic care services will improve beneficiary quality of life and reduce Medicares inpatient hospitalization costs all through the delivery of well coordinated services.
As the baby boomer generation retires, this country will have an increased need for the services of geriatricians, physicians trained exclusively to care for the elderly, Green continued. However, the current lack of Medicare reimbursement for geriatric care has served as a major obstacle in efforts to recruit geriatricians. This legislation will help alleviate that problem and hopefully encourage more medical students to enter the field of geriatrics so that we will have the health care resources to care for our aging population.
A senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committees Health Subcommittee, Rep. Green has consistently fought to boost the Medicare system, which millions of Americas seniors rely on for their health care. The Geriatric and Chronic Care Management Act has been endorsed by the Alzheimers Association, the American Geriatric Society and the National Association of Social Workers.