AFib Costs, Medicare Impact Detailed

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , March 23, 2011

Despite the health and economic burden of AFib, no state has a public health program specifically dedicated to educating or supporting patients with AFib. State-level public health programs generally include AFib as a part of stroke and heart disease prevention efforts, rather than focusing on the specific risks and consequences of AFib, the report says.

"Just as patients need to comprehensively manage their AFib, health leaders need to develop and implement comprehensive programs that address the impact of AFib in their home states," said Bill Frist, MD, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader and policy advisor for AF Stat.

Frist said there is an incorrect assumption at the state level that Medicare will absorb much of the costs associated with AFib. "Individual states feel AFib's impact on their residents' health, productivity, and quality of life. Local hospitals and providers often assume the burden of repeated hospitalizations and care for AFib patients. As health leaders work to lower the costs of expensive chronic diseases, AFib must be a part of the discussion," Frist said.

Connecticut is the state with the highest percentage (8.8) of Medicare recipients who have used healthcare services because of AFib. Hawaii is the state with the least (3.3%).

The research was financed by drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis U.S., LLC. 

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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