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Improving early detection and treatment of osteoporosis – News – seacoastonline.com



Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue. When the bones become weaker, they can break from a fall or, in advanced cases, even from a simple sneeze or a small bump. From the Latin for porous bones, "Osteoporosis is often called" the silent disease "because bone loss usually occurs gradually over the years with no symptoms.

Today, about 54 million Americans have either osteoporosis or low bone mass, which they place at Increased risk of osteoporosis Women are disproportionately affected and account for 71 percent of osteoporotic fractures and 75 percent of costs.

The risk of osteoporosis increases with age, with studies suggesting that about half of women and one-quarter of women Men suffering from osteoporosis aged 50 or older According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, the disease is responsible for 2 million broken bones and $ 1

9 billion in medical costs each year As our population ages, osteoporosis is estimated to cost 3 million by 2025 Fractures and more than $ 25 billion in costs are responsible

As the National Resource Center for Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases of the National Institutes of Health has observed, falls are particularly dangerous for people who are unaware that they have low bone density. If the patient and the doctor do not associate the broken bone with osteoporosis, the chance of making a diagnosis with a bone density test and starting a prevention or treatment program is lost.

Early diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis are proven to drastically reduce fracture rates. Since the most at-risk individuals are often seniors receiving Medicare health insurance, it is important that the Medicare reimbursement rates adequately cover bone mass measurements and fracture risk predictions (19659002) are inappropriate – indeed she is moving in the wrong direction. Over the past ten years, Medicare reimbursement for osteoporosis screening has dropped sharply from $ 140 in 2007 to $ 42 in 2018, a dramatic 70 percent reduction. Due to the decreasing cost of screening due to declining reimbursements, it is estimated that more than 40,000 additional hip fractures are reported each year, resulting in nearly 10,000 additional hip fracture deaths.

In addition, the National Osteoporosis Foundation has noted a declining reimbursement rates have dropped by 26 percent among physicians who perform dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) tests – the "gold standard" for screening – since 2008 Episode. This led to a corresponding decline in diagnoses since 2009 by 22 percent.

I have introduced bipartisan legislation to reduce this barrier to proper screening. The Act on Increasing Access to Osteoporosis Testing for Medicare Beneficiaries would provide for a reimbursement rate under the Medicare Part B for the DXA test.

Congress has twice recognized the importance of reimbursing Medicare reductions for the DXA reimbursement Medicare reimbursement rate for DXA testing in a doctor's office has been cut significantly. Since osteoporosis is already underdiagnosed in the Medicare population, it is clear that we need to change that.

This legislation is supported by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, the National Osteoporosis Foundation and more than 40 other national medical societies and patient advocacy organizations. Increasing Medicare reimbursement to a reasonable level will increase patients' access to osteoporosis screening and diagnosis while reducing the costs and consequences of failing to diagnose.


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