Sample Letter to Sen. Harkin Requesting Funding for Falls Prevention
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Sample Letter to Sen. Harkin Requesting Funding for Falls Prevention

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How to Use this Letter

Feel free to cut and paste this sample letter and add your own local information before sending it to your Senators. Or download the letter as it appears here and send it to your Senators to sign.

May 2011

The Honorable Tom Harkin
Chairman
Subcommittee on Labor
Health and Human Services and Education
Senate Appropriations Committee
131 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Harkin:

As you begin consideration of the fiscal year 2012 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, I respectfully request that you increase funding for older adult falls prevention, under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and within the Prevention and Public Health Fund.

Currently, the CDC spends less than $2 million per year to prevent falls among older adults—a problem that costs more than $26.3 billion in direct medical costs due to injuries. Our investment in CDC’s efforts to prevent older adult falls should increase.

The President’s FY 2012 Budget Request includes $20 million from the Prevention and Public Health Fund to be invested to support CDC’s unintentional injury efforts, of which older adult falls prevention is a critical part. Falls prevention should be explicitly recognized as a priority within this fund.

Each year, one in three Americans aged 65 and over falls. Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries seniors. In 2009, over 2.2 million nonfatal fall injuries among older adults were treated in emergency departments. If we cannot stem the rate of increase in falls, it is projected that the direct treatment costs will reach $54.9 billion annually in 2020, at which time the cost to Medicare would be an estimated $32.4 billion.

A number of programs being promoted by the CDC have shown a positive return on investment (ROI) and offer health providers a range of low-cost intervention options that can reduce costs. For example, the older adult tai chi falls prevention program “Moving for Better Balance” has demonstrated that for every $1 invested in the program, there is a $1.60 saved in direct medical costs. When compared with controls, the risk of falling for tai chi intervention participants was decreased by 55%.

I urge you to increase funding for older adults falls prevention. Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

United States Senator ______________

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