America has a chronic disease problem. As of 2012, nearly half of U.S. adults were dealing with one or more chronic conditions - such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis - according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
One in four Americans are dealing with two or more chronic conditions. And it's only expected to get worse as 10,000 Americans will turn 65 each day from now through the end of 2029.
In total, 86 percent of U.S. healthcare spending goes toward treating these illnesses, says a report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. It's an amount as unimaginable as it is unsustainable.
Enter the CHRONIC Care Act, a bi-partisan effort to improve health outcomes of the Medicare-covered population through better management of chronic conditions. The CHRONIC Care Act is not yet law, but received rare unanimous support when it passed the U.S. Senate in September. It heads to the U.S. House of Representatives next.
“Congress realizes that our healthcare system just cannot afford the healthcare costs that will come from the Baby Boomer generation rapidly moving into Medicare," said Vitek, a senior policy director.
The CHRONIC Care Act's provisions include extending home based care by continuing the ACA-enacted Independent at Home demonstration, allowing more Medicare beneficiaries to receive care in their homes through a delivery model that uses physician and nurse practitioner-directed home-based primary care teams to reduce expenditures and improve health outcomes for patients with chronic illnesses, expanding the use of home dialysis therapy, and expanding the use of telehealth and other technologies. The idea is that this will move more care into more cost-efficient settings and encourage better care coordination.
"We can now more effectively manage patients with chronic conditions with all the technology, data and information we have available to us," said Douglas, also a senior policy director. "And most health systems are already utilizing telemedicine services to a significant extent."