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National prevention strategy unveiled

Washington -- The Obama administration has released a national plan that aims to improve the health of children, adults and seniors. The national prevention strategy was drafted over the past year by a public health council composed of more than a dozen federal agencies and various stakeholders. The report, which was authorized by the national health system reform law, outlines several basic approaches designed to guide health policy toward quality improvement. "As a family physician, I understand the importance of stopping disease before it starts," U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, MD, said in a June 16 statement on the report's release. "The leadership of this council and the strategy will help us create a healthy and fit nation by making prevention a part of our daily lives." The strategy offers evidence-based proposals, including several aimed at physicians. The clinical recommendations found in the report are: Support efforts to improve cardiovascular health. Use payment and reimbursement systems to encourage delivery of preventive services. Expand the use of interoperable health information technology. Support implementation of community-based preventive services -- such as counseling patients to quit smoking -- and enhance links with clinical care. Reduce barriers to accessing clinical and community preventive services, especially among high-risk populations. Enhance coordination and integration of clinical, behavioral and complementary health strategies. Federal officials said the government already has acted on some of these recommendations, such as providing incentives to physicians who use electronic medical records. But the report concludes that federal agencies must take additional steps to support the implementation of the strategy. A list of planned actions accompanying the recommendations indicates that the federal government will encourage more Medicare patients to take advantage of annual wellness visits, improve screening and treatment for high blood pressure and cholesterol, improve the use of patient-centered medical homes, and identify high-priority preventive services that could benefit from more delivery support. The full and original article can be found at: http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2011/06/20/gvsd0623.htm
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