Prioritizing Prevention: The Preventive Health Savings Act’s Impact on Reducing Senior Falls

Preventive healthcare measures are often undervalued despite their profound impact on long-term health outcomes and cost savings. The Preventive Health Savings Act (S. 114/H.R. 766) is bipartisan bicameral legislation that aims to rectify this by reevaluating how the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) assesses the budgetary effects of preventive healthcare policies. This may sound very “in-the-weeds,” but this bill will have a major impact on how Congress considers future policies to promote preventive healthcare.

Introduced by Representatives Michael Burgess (R-TX) and Diana DeGette (D-CO), along with Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Angus King (I-ME), and Kevin Cramer (R-ND), this bill would direct CBO to extend its analysis of preventative healthcare measures beyond the current 10-year approach to include two additional 10-year periods.

By including two additional 10-year periods, the CBO will provide a more comprehensive analysis of the potential long-term savings generated by preventive healthcare initiatives. The bill defines preventive health as actions to protect, promote, and maintain health and wellness, while aiming to evaluate evidence-based, preventive health measures. The potential impact of this legislation is monumental because it will give lawmakers a more informed view of how healthcare policies could lead to better patient outcomes and lower costs.

APTQI supports and applauds this bill, particularly as it could relate to preventing falls among the elderly. Physical therapy is a seemingly undervalued tool that has been proven to significantly reduce the likelihood of an accidental falls among the Medicare population. Falls are a deadly epidemic among older Americans, with an increasing number of fall-related injuries and deaths over the past two decades. In addition to the devastating human cost of falls including broken bones, concussions, and death, falling takes an enormous financial toll on our nation’s healthcare system: an estimated $50 billion each year. As this number grows, it will be critical for policymakers to understand how preventing falls can help seniors stay healthier, while reducing healthcare spending.

APTQI supports the Preventive Health Savings Act as a step towards evidence-based, cost-effective preventive measures, including physical therapy, that can play a crucial role in reducing injuries and saving lives.