WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today U.S. Senator Herb Kohl, Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, announced that, as a result of his efforts on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the Administration on Aging (AoA) will receive $27 million in stimulus funding for the agency's evidence-based disease prevention and health promotion community programs. Earlier this year, Kohl successfully amended the Senate stimulus package to include language urging the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to allocate a portion of the bill's funding for these AoA programs, which have saved Medicare up to $300 million.  

"AoA evidence-based prevention and wellness programs target some of the costliest areas of health care, and in doing so can save the government millions of dollars in Medicare spending. Directing resources to this underfunded AoA initiative is a smart investment," said Kohl.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced this afternoon that the stimulus money will be used to expand the Administration on Aging's (AoA) current evidence-based disease prevention and health promotion grants to additional states. HHS received a total of $650 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) Prevention and Wellness Fund to be used at the discretion of the Secretary for evidence-based strategies.
Research has shown that prevention programs can improve the quality of life for older individuals, including frail older people with multiple chronic conditions, and also reduce health care costs.  Over 80 percent of Americans over age 65 have at least one chronic condition, and half have at least two. Among older adults, chronic conditions account for nearly 95 percent of health care expenditures and limit the activities of 12 million people, decreasing their productivity and ability to live independently.
Evidence-based disease prevention and health promotion grants, authorized by the Older Americans Act, focus on chronic disease self-management, physical activity, falls prevention, and mental health. Twenty-seven states are currently implementing evidence-based programs through innovative public and private partnerships. Based upon this experience, these states can quickly and efficiently expand programming and their successful strategies can easily be replicated in other states. The Aging Network has reached nearly 30,000 older adults since 2003, offering these programs in over 1,000 community organizations under the oversight of state aging and public health agencies.
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