NACDD's Dr. Mehul Dalal Testifies Before Congress

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Dr. Mehul Dalal testifies before Congress on the need for state-based public health prevention and control.

Dr. Mehul Dalal, President of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, appears before Congress today to testify to public health’s central role in disease prevention and control.

“We are honored that the Labor, Health and Human Services Committee has asked Dr. Dalal to testify before their committee. This is evidence that Congress is aware of the critical impact of public health on preventing disease, increasing quality of life and saving healthcare dollars,” said John Robitscher, CEO of the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors.

Dr. Dalal will testify that poor health exerts tremendous force on employment rates, interest costs and other tangible factors that affect the U.S.’ ability to maintain a strong global economic position.

He will highlight the fact that chronic diseases are the greatest economic drivers of healthcare costs, representing nearly 75 percent of aggregated healthcare spending annually which is an average of $5,300 per person in America every year. In terms of public health insurance, 96 cents of every Medicare dollar and 83 cents of every Medicaid dollar are attributed to chronic disease.

“State health departments focus their work on preventing disease by addressing risk factors and linking clinical care with community sectors to address this epidemic,” says Dalal.

Public health programs in Congressional district communities bring evidence-based approaches to people in the workplace, in schools, in community centers and in other public places. Individual choices, such as where one lives, works and plays, as well as food and physical activity choices, also play a large part in achieving health outcomes and in the overall health of a community.

The Prevention and Public Health Fund (the Prevention Fund) supplies more than 12 percent of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) budget, providing essential funds to support programs like the 317 immunization program, chronic disease prevention, and the entire Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant, which allows states to address the unique needs in their state in locally defined ways.

A comprehensive study of evidence-based prevention programs found that every dollar invested in preventative health yields $5.60 in savings.

“Today only a small fraction of the United States’ governmental healthcare investment supports prevention and health promotion. A substantial investment in the CDC, state health departments, and other HHS agencies is necessary for a real impact to be made,” says Dalal.

The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) is a national, public health nonprofit, serving the health departments of all 50 states and U.S. territories working in chronic disease prevention and control and representing more than 6,000 members. For more information, please visit http://www.chronicdisease.org.

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