An Important Investment in the #Fight4Health

Tar Heels Take a Step in the Right Direction to Lowering Health Care Costs
Some North Carolina communities are making health a priority for the months and years ahead, investing $450,000 in the “Healthy People, Health Carolinas,” project. Chronic disease accounts for 90 cents of every dollar spent on health care. Ten percent of the population – often people living with multiple chronic conditions – account for $2 out of $3 dollars spent on medical care. A $450,000 investment in the fight for health is an important step toward addressing the serious cost of chronic disease in the United States.  
The Richmond County Daily Journal reports, “The Montgomery and Richmond First-In-Health 2020 task forces are led by FirstHealth in partnership with health departments, school systems, N.C. Cooperative Extension offices, Community Care of the Sandhills, school nurses, school health centers, municipal government, housing authorities, businesses and citizens at-large.”  
The Journal continues, “The Duke grant will be used to address diabetes and heart disease in the funded counties through the implementation of evidence-based interventions and purposeful evaluation. Preventative health screenings and links to primary care services will also be included in the scope of work. The program will challenge partners to work together and address health disparities in the region.” 
The Journal adds, “According to the Community Health Needs Assessment conducted by FirstHealth through Professional Research Consultants, 24.5 percent of residents in Montgomery County and 28 percent of residents in Richmond County self-reported being diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes as compared to the state average of 13 percent.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes affects more than 25 million people in the U.S. In 2007, the total cost burden of diabetes was estimated at $174 billion. 
Heart disease is another costly chronic disease – taking lives and economic growth. According to a recent report commissioned by the American Heart Association, costs associated with heart disease in the U.S. will reach $818.1 billion a year by 2030. In this North Carolina community, the Journal reports, “The heart disease mortality rate in Richmond County is also significantly higher than the state average (238.5 per 100,000 compared to 170 per 100,000).” 
PFCD applauds the efforts of the Montgomery and Richmond First-In-Health 2020 Task Force and encourages more communities to learn from their leadership. Lowering the cost of health care requires a serious look at the cost of chronic disease. 
Join us in the #fight4health.