N.H. Partnership Calls on Presidential Candidates to Address Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.

Improved management, prevention of chronic disease crucial for next administration

(Manchester, NH) – The New Hampshire Chapter of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) announced in Manchester today their renewed effort to educate policymakers, and especially the presidential candidates, on the primary cost driver of health care in America: chronic disease. Treating patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, asthma, hypertension, and heart disease, now costs 86 percent of the $2.9 trillion annually spent on health care in the U.S. Fifty-eight percent of patients in New Hampshire have at least one chronic condition. The diverse spectrum of partners and four co-chairs representing New Hampshire patients, health care and faith groups have a simple message: we cannot address the rising cost of health care without addressing chronic diseases.

“If you have a family member who is struggling with one or more chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s, your ability to work, provide care and pay for treatment may be extremely difficult,” said Heather Carroll, Regional Manager, Alzheimer’s Association MA/NH and co-chair of the PFCD in New Hampshire. “There are 22,000 people in New Hampshire with Alzheimer's disease and more than 65,000 caregivers caring for them.  With the cusp of baby boomers turning 70 next year, Alzheimer's as a chronic disease will be devastating not only emotionally for people with any form of dementia, but financially for us all. ”

“We joined this effort because children and families need better support to prevent and manage chronic diseases,” said Jeff Woodburn, Executive Director for the Council for Youths with Chronic Conditions of New Hampshire and co-chair of the PFCD in New Hampshire. “Chronic diseases are especially difficult for families whose children struggle with one or more of these costly, debilitating conditions, If we are aiming for both success and sustainability in health care, a healthier youth population is imperative.”

Half of all American adults have one chronic disease, and almost one in three is living with two or more chronic conditions. In New Hampshire, more than 60 percent of the adults are overweight or obese. The growing prevalence of preventable chronic diseases is not sustainable, and neither is the loss to our economy in terms of greater disability and missed work hours.  The PFCD will encourage candidates on both sides of the aisle to take a comprehensive look at how improving the health of our population can have a dramatic and beneficial impact not just on patients themselves, but also on our workforce and economy overall.

“Businesses in New Hampshire cannot thrive without healthy workers and healthy customers, and as part of our dedication to supporting businesses, we are committed to spreading the word about chronic disease. At the end of the day this impacts everyone,” said Mike Dennehy, Chair of the Board of Directors for Special Olympics New Hampshire and co-chair of the PFCD of New Hampshire. “I’ve served on several boards and worked with all types of businesses over the years and the fact is that health care costs are increasingly burdensome for every business, large or small, and chronic disease is a driving issue.”

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease will serve as a key resource for candidates as they begin developing and adapting their own health care proposals throughout the upcoming elections. The PFCD will challenge candidates and other policymakers to elevate the issues of prevention, wellness and the management of chronic disease by articulating how they will address the issue in their health care proposals.

“Due to the efficacy of new medications, HIV is now considered a chronic illness.  But antiretroviral therapy does not necessarily restore health and, in fact, can lead to higher risk for cardiovascular, kidney and liver disease,” said Susan MacNeil, co-chair of the PFCD in New Hampshire and Executive Director of AIDS Services for the Monadnock Region.  “It is clear that we need to work together to address the impact of chronic disease in New Hampshire and across the country, and the time is now.”

About the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is an international coalition of hundreds of patient, provider, community, business and labor groups, and health policy experts, committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability and rising health care costs: chronic disease. Learn more by visiting www.FightChronicDisease.org