Making Progress on Health Reform: Where Does Fighting Chronic Disease Fit In?

February 27, 2009

2:00-3:00 pm

Longworth House Office Building Room 1311

On February 27, the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) held its first "Health Care University" briefing, "Making Progress on Health Reform: Where Does Fighting Chronic Disease Fit In?"

Watch video of briefing here »

(Panel From Left) Ken Thorpe; Marcus Plescia; David Wennberg

Speakers included:

  • Kenneth Thorpe, Ph.D., Executive Director, Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease; Executive Director, Emory Institute for Advanced Policy Solutions; and Chair, Department of Health Policy and Management, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Policy at HHS under the Clinton Administration
  • Marcus Plescia, M.D., M.P.H., chief of the Chronic Disease and Injury Section in the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health; and President of the Board of Directors, National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD)
  • David Wennberg, MD, M.P.H., Chief Science & Products Officer, Health Dialog

All three speakers emphasized the message that disease prevention and management holds the greatest promise for achieving cost-savings in health care while at the same time improving health outcomes.

  • Dr. Thorpe opened the briefing by providing an overview of the problem of chronic disease and the role it plays in driving our nation’s health spending.
  • Dr. Plescia described his personal experience dealing with chronically ill patients, and policy initiatives in North Carolina that have helped to improve health and reduce spending. Plescia also reinforced the important role of public policy by highlighting the impact of tobacco legislation between 1900-2004.
  • Dr. Wennberg provided practical examples of programs that improve disease management, and highlighted Health Dialog’s randomized control trial findings that telephonic transition coaching lowers hospitalizations and lowers overall costs. Wennberg encouraged policymakers to continue to rigorously evaluate care management models, particularly in Medicare.
  • In conclusion, Dr. Thorpe discussed four components of Senator Baucus’ health reform proposal that PFCD partners support, as they would improve disease prevention and management in the U.S. Finally, Dr. Thorpe presented the PFCD’s recently released Principles for Meaningful Health Reform, saying, “PFCD has outlined a set of solutions to help guide policymakers toward such health reform and policies that tackle the true cost driver in the system: chronic disease.”

(Above) Question and Answer Session following Panel Briefing

Download event materials

As Congress considers various health care proposals, in its Health Care University series PFCD will continue to educate members of Congress, staff, and the public about the importance of addressing the crisis of chronic disease through comprehensive health reform.

Watch video of briefing here »