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  • ACOEM Expresses Strong Support for Preventive Health Savings Act

    October 15, 2015

    The Honorable Michael C. Burgess
    The Honorable Diana L. DeGette
    U.S. House of Representatives
    Washington, DC 20515

    Dear Mr. Burgess and Ms. DeGette:

    On behalf of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM), I am writing to express our strong support for the Preventive Health Savings Act.

    The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) represents more than 4,000 physicians and other health care professionals specializing in the field of occupational and environmental medicine. Founded in 1916, ACOEM is the nation's largest medical society dedicated to promoting the health of workers through preventive medicine, clinical care, disability management, research, and education.

    Chronic health conditions are on the rise across all age groups, and it is expected that in the near future, conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer will cost employers heavily; they will have to provide medical benefits for employees and absorb the costs of absenteeism and of long- and short-term disability claims. Nearly 70% of Americans have at least one chronic health condition and, of this group, nearly half have multiple chronic conditions. Also, at least 75% of our overall health care dollars are spent on chronic conditions. Everyone with a stake in health care is grappling with these trends, but employers, in particular, face them with great concern.

    Healthier individuals are more likely to be productive longer, earn higher income, spend less on health care costs and as a result be able to save more for retirement. An increased emphasis on prevention would improve the health of Americans, offset some of the costs of an aging population, enhance the productivity of our nation’s workforce and sustain our nation’s economy, not to mention the personal benefit of more good years of life.

    The Preventive Health Savings Act of 2015 is a narrowly tailored and responsible approach to updating existing budget law. This bill would direct CBO to analyze scientific medical data to provide information on the savings of preventive health initiatives beyond the ten-year scoring window.

    Bending the cost curve of such a significant and complex problem as chronic disease is not an easy or quick endeavor. Even though many businesses have seen results in fewer than 10 years, legislation like this is necessary because it will allow CBO to more accurately project the true implications of programs affecting employees and other populations or disease states with longer development periods that require an extended view.

    Again, thank you for your leadership on this very important issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me or Pat O’Connor, ACOEM’s Director of Government Affairs at 202-223-6222, should you have any questions regarding the concerns outlined above or this matter in general.

    Sincerely,

    Mark A. Roberts, MD, PhD, MPH, FACOEM
    President