Monday, June 29, 2009

More Attacks on Prevention and its Role in Health Reform That Make No Sense

...Many studies show well-designed prevention programs are cost-saving. For example, a significant reduction in total health care spending is linked to community-based lifestyle interventions (primary prevention). Research shows that savings range from a short-term return on investment of $1 for every $1 invested, rising to more than $6 over the longer term. An investment of $10 per person per year in community-based programs tackling physical inactivity, poor nutrition, and smoking could yield more than $16 billion in medical cost savings annually within 5 years. This is a remarkable return of $5.60 for every dollar spent, without considering the additional gains in worker productivity, reduced absenteeism at work and school, and enhanced quality of life. Worksite health promotion programs, too, are effective at both primary and secondary prevention. A systematic review of more than 50 studies meeting rigorous guidelines for review by the U.S. Task Force on Community Preventive Services found strong evidence of WHP program effectiveness in specific areas: reducing tobacco use, dietary fat consumption, high blood pressure, total serum cholesterol levels, and days absent from work due to illness or disability, as well as improvements in other general measures of worker productivity. At Citibank, for example, a comprehensive health management program showed a return on investment of $4.70 for every $1.00 in cost. A similar comprehensive program at Johnson & Johnson reduced health risks, including high cholesterol levels, cigarette smoking, and high blood pressure, and saved the company up to $8.8 million annually.”

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