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Forecasting Heart Failure’s Impact

Forecasting Heart Failure’s Impact

Heart failure (HF) is the leading cause of hospitalization for people aged 65 and older in the United States. The disease is an important healthcare issue due to its high prevalence, mortality, morbidity, and cost of care. The prevalence of HF increases with age, and research has shown that about half of all Medicare beneficiaries with the disease do not survive for up to 3 years after hospitalization. “The number of hospitalizations for HF has decreased slightly in recent years,” says Paul A. Heidenreich, MD, MS, “but the cost of caring for the disease remains high and will continue to be a major concern for the U.S. healthcare system.” If present care practices continue, it is expected that costs for managing HF will increase significantly. Several factors fuel this expectation, most notably the likely increase in the number of patients who will survive longer as more life-prolonging therapies are developed. The aging population and greater numbers of people with underlying conditions that contribute to the development of HF (eg, ischemic heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes) will also have an impact. Evaluating Trends of Heart Failure Costs In an American Heart Association (AHA) policy statement published in Circulation: Heart Failure, Dr. Heidenreich and colleagues provided an in-depth look at how the changing demographics in the U.S. will impact the prevalence and cost of care for HF. According to findings, more than 8 million Americans—or one in every 33 people—will have HF by 2030. This represents a 46% increase from the estimated 5 million people who had HF in 2012. Because of aging of the population, the increase in HF will...
Caring for Chronic Conditions in Primary Care

Caring for Chronic Conditions in Primary Care

With the Patient Protec­tion and Affordable Care Act now underway, more attention is being focused on patient-centered and coordinated care. As a result, primary care physicians (PCPs) are seeking new ways to organize care around patients. This includes providing in-office services that meet all of patients’ healthcare needs and/or taking responsibility for appropriate referrals. Within MaxHeath Family Medicine, the focus is on increasing our ability to address all patient health concerns by adding a diverse array of services. In addition to a patient clinic, our practice houses centers for allergy, physical medicine and rehabilitation, cosmetic medicine, and weight loss. It also offers centers for sports medicine, brain health, and mental health. By offering more services, we have successfully improved patient outcomes, as well as financial benefits for the practice. A Focus on Allergic Rhinitis & Asthma Efficient treatment of chronic conditions is important to cultivating patient-centered primary care. Nearly half of all Americans have a chronic condition, and the prevalence of such conditions continues to increase. For example, approximately 60 million Americans suffer from allergic rhinitis (AR), which often precedes the onset of chronic allergic asthma. To enhance care of chronic conditions, we must shift from simple chronic disease-state management toward prevention-focused care.               In an effort to address AR, my colleagues and I implemented additional AR treatment protocols by establishing an allergy center. We work with United Allergy Services to supply allergy testing and immunotherapy to patients. For those who view their symptoms as a minor inconvenience, it is important that they avoid specific allergens. However, this avoidance approach can only work...
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