CDC Director Gives Health System Failing Grade On Prevention

Memphis Commercial Appeal: "The American health care system gets an 'F' when it comes to acting on a handful of prevention methods that have the potential to save the most lives. That failing grade came from Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a Wednesday speech to members of the National Association of County and City Health Officials gathered here for their annual conference at Cook Convention Center." Heart disease, cancer and lung disease -- all among America's biggest killers -- can be addressed with prevention strategies. "But Frieden said only 45 percent of people with high blood pressure have it under control, only 29 percent of those with high cholesterol monitor the condition, and of the 20 percent of smokers who get help to quit, only 2 percent get medication" (Sells, 7/16).

Memphis Daily News: Frieden "saw the frontlines of the city's health battles while in Memphis. ... Frieden learned about efforts to combat AIDS, reduce the infant mortality rate and address chronic health conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Frieden visited with staff at the headquarters of the Memphis & Shelby County Health Department then toured the Hollywood Health Loop Clinic. … Memphis had hoped to be one of a handful of cities chosen for a Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant to address childhood obesity. Nashville received a $7.5 million federal grant earlier this year, but Memphis received no funding" (Wilemon, 7/15).

Meanwhile, Government Health IT reports: "A new system at the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) will track the progress state health departments are making in chronic disease prevention and control by integrating the reports currently produced by separate systems. The management information system will monitor data about tobacco control, diabetes prevention and control, healthy communities, and surveillance of state-based behavioral risk factors in all states and territories, initially for three years. … CDC will use the information to scrutinize each program's progress and use of federal funds, and to identify strengths and weaknesses" (Mosquera, 7/15).

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