Congressional Testimony: Retooling the Health Care System for an Aging America

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<p>Citing the immense growth in the U.S. elderly population and a health care system ill-equipped to handle the many challenges this brings, Commonwealth Fund assistant vice president Mary Jane Koren, M.D., offers recommendations for strengthening our system of care for America's seniors in <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=26848&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D464571%26%23doc464571">invited testimony</a> today at a House subcommittee hearing on health care access and aging.<br><br>Currently, people over the age of 65 comprise 13 percent of the population. But this is expected to rise to 17 percent in 2020 and 20 percent in 2050--creating a surge in the number of people with chronic illnesses and increasing demand for long-term care workers.<br><br>Dr. Koren, who heads the Fund's Picker/Commonwealth Program on Quality of Care for Frail Elders, argues for retooling the current system to create a "person-centered health care system." This, she says, will involve improving the quality of care, and the quality of life, for nursing home residents; empowering and training caregivers to make decisions and provide care that is both compassionate and competent; and using technology to enhance consumer independence and improve efficiency and care coordination. <br><br>Dr. Koren will present her testimony before the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, at 2:00 pm (EST) today. To watch a webcast of the hearing, visit <a href="">http://a…;