NCOA Supports National Efforts to Improve Chronic Care
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NCOA Supports National Efforts to Improve Chronic Care


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December marks the one-year anniversary of a federal plan to improve the health of individuals with multiple chronic conditions—and NCOA is leading efforts to turn that plan into reality for millions of Americans.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) released its Strategic Framework on Multiple Chronic Conditions in December 2010 as a roadmap to find and promote efforts that improve the health of individuals who are struggling with multiple health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and arthritis.

Nearly three-quarters of older adults have at least two chronic conditions. In addition to taking a toll on their quality of life, the conditions are extremely costly. Care for beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions accounts for 93% of Medicare expenditures.

The HHS framework lays out four goals to improve the health of this population. NCOA is leading efforts to help achieve Goal 2 of the framework, which is to “maximize the use of proven self-management and other services by individuals with multiple chronic conditions.”

NCOA’s work is focused on two fronts:

In the Community

With funding from the Administration on Aging (AoA), NCOA is working to increase the number of individuals who participate in the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP).

Developed and tested by Stanford University, CDSMP is an evidence-based six-week workshop that helps individuals with chronic conditions learn how to better manage their symptoms, eat well and exercise, and communicate effectively with their doctors.

In just under two years, CDSMP has reached more than 76,000 participants. NCOA provides technical assistance to the 47 state grantees offering CDSMP throughout the country.

NCOA also is testing the effectiveness of an online version of CDSMP with partners in health care and community agencies, and early results are promising.

At the National Level

NCOA also has formed the Self-Management Alliance (SMA), an initiative designed to bring together government, nonprofit, and business partners to help achieve Goal 2 of the HHS framework and make evidence-based, self-management an integral part of health care in the United States by 2020.

The goal of the SMA is to foster information sharing, consensus development, research and demonstrations, communications, and public policy to bring evidence-based programs and services to millions of individuals nationwide. 

The SMA is co-chaired by James Firman, NCOA president and CEO, and Dr. Mark McClellan, an NCOA board member and former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Already, the SMA has succeeded in bringing together a broad cross section of partners to help achieve Goal 2 of the framework. Members include foundations, corporations, private health plans, and key federal agencies, including HHS, AoA, CMS, FDA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Veterans Administration. The first official SMA meeting is planned for Jan. 9.


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