19 March 2011

Many Over Age 65 Not Getting Preventive Health Services

A new report by several U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies, says that many people 65 and older are not getting the preventive health services they are entitled to and should be getting. Also Lynda Anderson, director of the Healthy Aging Program at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a CDC news release that millions of Americans are not getting proven clinical preventive services.

Chief among these services are vaccinations for influenza and pneumococcal disease, including bloodstream infections, meningitis, and pneumonia. Also they are not getting help with quitting smoking, or screening for breast cancer, colorectal cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol, and osteoporosis.

With each passing day, about 10,000 Americans turn 65. The authors report that their report shows that there is a need to promote preventive services for older people and especially among minorities. The report also states that these services are not being utilized by many.

The report also suggests that many older adults may not be aware of the preventive services recommended for their age group and probably do not even know that the services are covered by Medicare.

Although the report list some innovative ways of making people aware of these services I was taken by the one suggesting providing flu shots at polling or voting stations on election days. The report also list increasing awareness through the media and providing services in convenient community settings.

"If we can help patients age 65 and older get the recommended preventive screenings and regular immunizations, we could significantly reduce unnecessary illness," Dr. Edward Langston, an American Medical Association board member, said in the news release.

Read the article about the report here.

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