Healthcare Business News

Docs group presses for better funding, coordination of public-health infrastructure

By Maureen McKinney
Posted: April 22, 2012 - 2:00 pm ET

The American College of Physicians is warning against possible cuts to the country's public health infrastructure. In a 38-page position paper (PDF) released during the ACP's annual meeting in New Orleans, the organization pressed for more funds for workforce training, medical informatics, adequate supplies of vaccines and other medications, emergency preparedness, public education programs and other tools it says are necessary to ensure population health.

"A strong public health infrastructure provides the capacity to prepare for and respond to both acute and chronic threats to the country's health, yet ill-advised budget cuts at the federal, state and local levels pose a grave threat to the health of U.S. residents," said Dr. Virginia Hood, the ACP's president, in a news release.

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While the ACP acknowledged in the paper that budget shortfalls would likely make some cuts inevitable, the organization argued that such decisions should be made by evaluating which programs are most effective at improving population health outcomes and have the "greatest need for funding." For instance, the ACP said, funding priority should go to programs that address health disparities, mental illness, substance abuse, smoking, childhood obesity, safety-net care and other critical objectives.

"We need better coordination and less fragmentation of public health agencies, which could achieve savings by eliminating duplication and costs associated with inefficient sharing of information and resources," Hood said.

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