Summit discusses value, cost-effectiveness of America’s investment in wellness and prevention

Underwritten by American Clinical Laboratory Association and its Educational Arm Results for Life

America’s historic investment in wellness and prevention mandated under the Affordable Care Act may not always save money – but it will be worth it.

This according to Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Chair Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), as well as experts from business, policy, and academia, during a National Journal Live policy summit underwritten by the American Clinical Laboratory Association and its educational arm, Results for Life. Proceedings from the September 21, 2010, event are being published today as a special advertising feature in the National Journal.

“Perhaps the most significant part of the Affordable Care Act is what we did to begin the process of changing our society from a sick-care system to a health-care system,” Sen. Harkin said, referring to the $15 billion, 10-year funding for prevention and wellness programs included in health reform legislation.

In their discussion, summit participants mapped the complexity of issues facing policymakers on this topic. In addition to Sen. Harkin, experts included former Congressional Budget Office head Dan Crippen; National Business Group on Health President Helen Darling; Michael O’Grady, from the University of Chicago; and Ron Goetzel, from Emory University.

“Especially during a time of economic recession, it is important to have an informed discussion about the issues surrounding the value and cost-effectiveness of our country’s investment in prevention,” said Alan Mertz, president of the American Clinical Laboratory Association. “It seems clear from the National Journal summit that taking a broad view of prevention and employing diagnostics in the early identification and management of disease can help flip the health care spending equation long term.”

Mertz pointed to many low-cost lab tests that identify and can often control costly and damaging conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and cancer

“The value of prevention must be counted on both economic and human dimensions,” added David Mongillo, ACLA Vice President of Medical Affairs, “and summit participants emphasized this aspect in their discussion. They found that prevention – especially workplace health promotion and wellness programs – often can result in better health for individuals and actual cost savings, too.”

SOURCE American Clinical Laboratory Association

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