Mitigating the Economic and Social Costs of Heart Diseases Among the Aging Population in the US
Heart diseases have become a major issue of concern in the US. In the healthcare system, the problems are highly prevalent among the aging population, thus, calling for intervention by the government and other stakeholders. As a result, the economic and social cost of managing chronic illnesses has increased significantly with the number of victims. Various studies have examined the issues and proposed solutions. Mitigation strategies have been implemented despite the multiple challenges associated with the implementation process. Consequently, their multiple options are explored to ensure private and public partnerships in funding and managing the diseases through policy recommendations and the recommended solution presented.
Increasing Cost of Hearth Diseases among the Aging
Heart diseases are among the most prevalent chronic illnesses among the aging population in the US. For instance, approximately 47% of the aging population in America has suffered or is likely to battle a particular heart disease. The conditions have led to a significant increase in the cost of healthcare to the government, individuals, and families. For instance, the Federal government’s annual budget allocated to managing heart-related diseases such as stroke, hypertension, and heart failure is approximately $317 billion and is projected to increase unless appropriate measures are taken. Patients also part with the financial burden related to the illnesses through insurance coverage policies, personal income, or aid from friends and relatives. The high rates and skyrocketing socioeconomic costs are a significant concern to the healthcare sector leading to research to identify the causes and mitigation measures.
Azad and Lemay suggested Tele Home monitoring method for managing heart disease to reduce the management cost by minimizing hospitalization rates and other complications during treatment. It also increases medication adherence by frequent monitoring of patients through message reminders and home visits by the nurses. The strategy is practical following the ability to age patients to use technology devices. Consequently, it reduces the cost of maintaining a patient in a hospital and saves families from social problems and distress.
Besides, according to Azad and Lemay, home-based end-of-life care for patients suffering from terminal heart diseases is also essential in reducing the financial cost of hospitalization. Palliative care is crucial for patients to improve their quality of life and reduce symptoms’ reoccurrence and associated effects. The literature suggests implementing practices such as medication, feeding, patient education, and counseling at the end of a patient’s life. The solutions have been incorporated into public policy to ensure private and public sector implementation.
Incorporate the Solution into Public Policy
One of the attempts to incorporate Telemedicine and chronic illnesses management to reduce expenditure is through holding policy formulation by national and international bodies to develop guidelines for nurses, physicians, and patients. For instance, the International Heart Health Network conferences aim at developing strategies to prevent and manage heart diseases. The approach offers Telemedicine as one of the solutions and gives methods of implementation and the regulations that govern them. Besides, patient education has been emphasized in hospitals as a standard procedure stipulated under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It requires nurses and physicians to educate patients and families on the best care practices to improve the quality of life and prevent the reoccurrence of heart disease symptoms and mortality rates. Incorporating the solutions into public policy has increased adherence and is essential in reducing the government’s and families’ economic costs.
Barriers to Implementation
The implementation of the solution is subject to many significant obstacles. One of the challenges is illiteracy and low awareness of health-related issues among a significant part of the US population. For instance, the US experiences high illiteracy and poverty rates among the Hispanic community. The problem leads to ineffective delivery of education to families and patients. As a result, the government incurs additional expenditure to allocate nurses to the patients or recommend hospitalization to reduce the risks of patients’ death or complications. Besides, Ferrante et al. noted that a lack of awareness about cardiovascular diseases had been a significant obstacle to implementing preventive solutions to the conditions. An awareness campaign is essential in enlightening the public about chronic illnesses and ways of preventing and managing them.
Public and Private Funding
Public and private partnerships are essential in managing heart diseases among the aging population in the US. The US has adopted a combination of private fund and public funding programs to support treatment and research related to the diseases. One of the government programs is Medicare and Medicaid. Medicaid is a Federal and State joint program that provides financial assistance to low-income families and individuals to treat terminal illnesses. On the other hand, Medicare covers the cost of medical care for patients above the age of 65 years. The programs effectively reduce the financial burden on individuals and ensure high-quality services. Besides, private funding is also acquired from health insurance policies from companies and National Social Security Fund. The funding options have been used to ensure patients acquire affordable healthcare nationwide and prevent chronic illnesses-related deaths.
Conclusion and Recommendation
Chronic diseases such as heart conditions require comprehensive solutions to manage and reduce patient and government costs. The most important strategies are prevention through education, improving life quality, and ensuring frequent medical screening and checkups to monitor the risks of acquiring the conditions. The government, private funds, and non-governmental organizations should facilitate research into modern heart-related problems and long-term solutions. The economic and social costs of heart illnesses among the aging population are avoidable through changes in lifestyle and government interventions through policy recommendations. The public should also embrace a culture of saving funds for emergency cases of chronic disease and thrive to acquire proper medical insurance.
1. Ferrante D., Konfino J., Linetzky B., Tambussi A., & Laspiur S. (2013). Barriers to the prevention of cardiovascular disease in primary care settings in Argentina. Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública, 33(4), 259-266.
2. Raghupathi, W. & Raghupathi, V. (2018). An empirical study of chronic diseases in the United States: A visual analytics approach to public health. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(6), 1291. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15061291