Press Releases / October 18, 2019

Leaders Discuss How to Build Healthier Communities

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Washington, DC – October 18, 2019 – NIHCM Foundation recently hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill to discuss how to build healthier communities. Nancy Chockley, Founding President and CEO of NIHCM Foundation, started the conversation by pointing out that the social determinants of health have the biggest impact on our health outcomes. Defined as the conditions in which we are born, grow, work, live and age, social determinants influence 50% of our health outcomes, compared to 30% for our individual health behaviors and 20% for clinical care.

Highlights from the other panelists include:

Donald M. Berwick, MD, MPP, former Administrator of CMS:

"A landmark article [asked] the question, how much do nations put into social determinants? How much do they put into healthcare? And the ratio in almost every Western democracy is 2:1. Two dollars on social determinants for one dollar spent on healthcare. The United States is 90 cents to one. We are spending less than half of what other countries do in dealing with this. As a result, we are paying a very high price."

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Curtis Barnett, President and CEO of Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield:

“Nutrition and food insecurity kept coming back to the forefront. Part of it is the size of the problem [in the state of Arkansas] but part of it also is the impact of the problem. People suffering from food insecurity... have a much higher risk of being hospitalized and an inability to fight off disease and infection and to recover from injury. The health-related costs associated with hunger and food insecurity has been conservatively estimated at $160 billion."

Craig E. Samitt, MD, President and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota:

“The reality is the health care industry does not live this long-standing premise that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure... If we put $10 million into food insecurity, or loneliness, or homelessness, or frankly, true wellness and prevention and gap closure, we should save $160 million in unnecessary, unwarranted or preventable sickness and the complications that come from sickness."

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Grant Baldwin, PhD, Division Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

"[Released yesterday] was a tapering guide to showcase that there are really no shortcuts to safer opioid prescribing and that individual patient situations and care needs really need to drive practice. We're in the process of determining whether or not an update to the [2016 opioid prescribing] guideline is necessary."


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