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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

New Campaign Works to Ensure Older Adults Receive the Best Health Care Possible

April 8, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Today, the National Partnership for Women and Families, National Health Law Program (NHeLP), and Community Catalyst, launched the Campaign for Better Care to ensure that health reform works for older adults with multiple health problems. 

"Millions of older people with multiple chronic conditions and their families are counting on reform to improve coordination and care. It is essential to their independence, quality of life and financial security. If we can make the system work for this population, we can make it work for everyone," said Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families.

Researchers estimate that in 2030, 72.1 million people will be age 65 and older, nearly twice the number in 2008. And as Americans live longer, they are more likely to develop multiple chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, severe arthritis, high blood pressure, hypertension, stroke, obesity, and depression. Too often, these patients receive a lower quality of care due to a lack of communication and coordination among doctors.

A public opinion survey conducted by Lake Research Partners found that:

  • 74 percent of Americans age 50 or older say they have experienced problems related to lack of communication and coordination among doctors.
  • 40 percent of people who take five or more medications say their doctors do not talk to them about potential interactions with other drugs or over-the-counter medications when prescribing new medications.
  • 20 percent of people age 50 or older, say they have received conflicting information from different doctors.

The Campaign for Better Care is aimed at changing this and working for a health care system that delivers "comprehensive and coordinated care" for those who need it most.

"We can and must do better. Our goal with the Campaign for Better Care is to empower and engage patients and their caregivers, so we can ensure that reform delivers on its promise to vulnerable older patients and their families. It's simply not right that older people — who often are the sickest and most vulnerable — are not getting the health care they need," NHeLP Executive Director Emily Spitzer said.

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