Didn't really get an answer to this question. What I heard was the panelists saying that that retiring boomers will affect the national health agenda and that the agenda must change to include that rapidly growing population.
Daniel Perry, Executive Director of Alliance for Aging Research, says as we look ahead, we're going to experience many consequences as a rapidly aging society, particularly as it concerns the health of the baby boom generation.
- In the last 100 years, we have added more years to the average life expectancy than in the previous 5,000 years.
- 37 million Americans are 65 or older
- Care for those with chronic conditions consumes nearly 75 percent of health care spending.
- Almost half of all Americans have a chronic condition
- By 2030..national health care expenditures will reach $16 trillion
- 76.8 million eligible for Medicare
- 171 million Americans will have chronic health problems.
The health workforce is also largely unprepared to deal with this rapidly aging population, Perry said, with just five of 144 medical schools housing a full department of geriatrics, which is an increase from one school a few years ago.
"We’re starting in the most feeble way possible to make geriatric medical care a priority," Perry said.
He points to a "bias" to treating old people among those entering the health care field and training medical doctors.
"Most medical schools are very political places where the monies that are there to be distributed tend to go to high tech fields of medicine," Perry said. "So much of geriatrics is low-tech high-touch.... We need to have far more training, more required courses, rotations in nursing homes."
Joshua M. Wiener, Ph.D., senior fellow and program director for Aging, Disability and Long-Term Care at RTI International, said to be on the lookout for a major report on the health workforce for an aging society, which will be announced and released April 14.