First Lady Dr. Susan Lynch Joins New Hampshire Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease as Honorary Chair

(CONCORD) – Richard Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., FACS, the 17th Surgeon General of the United States and Chairperson of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) rolled out today in New Hampshire the organization’s “Ideas for Change” in health care, which call on all 2008 presidential candidates to address the country’s chronic disease crisis in their health care plans.

“Our interest is that of the American people,” said Dr. Carmona, who is also President of the Canyon Ranch Institute. “Candidates from both sides of the aisle must address this issue and create a health care system, rather than a sick care system. By addressing this issue now, we can save precious lives and needlessly spent dollars.”

Dr. Carmona further announced New Hampshire First Lady Dr. Susan Lynch had signed on to the organization as Honorary Chair of the New Hampshire Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease.

"As the Honorary Chair of the New Hampshire Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, I am pleased to join Dr. Carmona in releasing this policy platform,” said Dr. Lynch, who was not at the press conference. “This platform outlines specific opportunities to create a healthier America and reduce health care costs. It is an important document because it represents a consensus of more than 80 national organizations of diverse backgrounds on actions that should be taken to improve our health care system through the prevention and care of chronic disease. All those serious about reforming health care, including the presidential candidates, should take note of recommendations in this policy platform."

“Health care reform will be the most important domestic issue in the upcoming election,” said PFCD Executive Director Ken Thorpe, Ph.D. and Professor and Chair at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. “We want all Presidential candidates to consider our ideas for change as they solidify and provide greater detail of their health care proposals. While we are encouraged that most candidates who have released health care reform plans included ideas for fighting chronic disease, more needs to be done.”

Chronic disease is the primary driver of health care costs in America:

*     More than 75 cents of every dollar we spend on health care is due to chronic disease;
*     Chronic disease is responsible for seven out of every 10 deaths in the United States;
*     About two-thirds of the rise in health care spending over the past two decades is due to the rise in the prevalence of treated chronic disease;
*     Only 56 percent those with chronic disease receive clinically appropriate care.

The PFCD’s “Ideas for Change” policy platform outlines the need for improvement in chronic disease prevention, detection, and management, and provides recommendations for how to address this devastating epidemic.

The five overarching recommendations that the group advocates are:

Ø Advance sustainable “Next Generation” chronic disease prevention and management models throughout the health care system and public health infrastructure

Ø Promote healthy lifestyles and disease prevention and management in every community

Ø Encourage and reward continuous advances in clinical practice and research that improve the quality of care for those with prevalent and costly chronic diseases

Ø Accelerate improvements in the quality and availability of health information technology (HIT) throughout the health care system

Ø Reduce health disparities by focusing on barriers to good health

Under each one of these recommendations, the group outlines more specific “ideas for change” which draw upon programs from across the country that have been proven as successful models in improving quality of care and offering value.

"The Partnership will not endorse a party or a candidate, but rather challenge all of them to address our nation's health and health care costs through the improved prevention, treatment and management of chronic disease. By acting now, we can lower costs and, most importantly, improve our quality of life," said Mark McClellan, M.D., Ph.D, PFCD Advisory Board member and Director of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform. "Health care reform can't afford not to focus on reducing the impact of chronic disease, and we want to help candidates by giving them ideas for change."

The PFCD’s platform was drafted with the assistance of more than 80 diverse partner organizations representing the interests of businesses, labor groups, and health care providers. These diverse groups are united by a common ground: the desire to highlight chronic disease prevention as a critical piece of any serious health care plan.

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease is a national bipartisan coalition of patients, providers, community organizations, 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 in the U.S.: chronic disease.

Note: To access a copy of the platform and overview visit: