July 31, 2009

CARDIN, BURR INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN BILL TO CLOSE THE TREATMENT GAP FOR OSTEOPOROSIS AND OTHER BONE HEALTH CONDITIONS

Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) and Richard Burr (R-NC) have introduced the "Access to America's Orthapaedic Services Act of 2009" (S. 1548) to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal diseases and conditions such as osteoporosis, arthritis, and trauma-related injuries. More than one in four Americans has a musculoskeletal condition requiring medical attention, according to the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Nationwide, direct and indirect costs for bone and joint health are approximately $849 billion annually.

 

"Bone loss, joint pain, and debilitating trauma are among the many forms of musculoskeletal diseases and conditions that are the leading causes of disability in the United States today. Such problems account for more than one-half of all chronic conditions in people over 50 years-old.  Despite such widespread affliction, there is an inherent lack of awareness in the public and the medical community about bone and joint health.   It's costing us billions of dollars each year in medical and hospital costs, work loss, and outright pain," said Senator Cardin. "Congress has a responsibility to act to increase educational and training efforts, identify gaps in access to care, and help standardize accreditation for specialized care and transplants."

 

"The effects of musculoskeletal disease can be physically debilitating and very painful for patients.  This disease also costs our nation billions of dollars each year in treatment and care.  As a large number of Americans get older, good bone health will need to a top priority for our country.  I'm pleased to work with AAOS and Senator Cardin on this important legislation ," said Senator Burr.

 

Among other provisions, the "Access to America's Orthapaedic Services Act of 2009" would

 

·          Provide reports to Congress, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, and other government agencies, to analyze the extent to which musculoskeletal research is being funded; collect data on the number   of new investigators entering the research field; and, identify existing trauma care initiatives in order to enhance cooperation across federal agencies;

 

·          Urge the Office of Minority Health to consider musculoskeletal diseases and conditions as an additional health priority;

 

·          Promote bone health initiatives among adolescent girls through the Office of Women's Health;

 

·          Require all companies engaged in the manufacture of human, cellular, tissue or tissue-based products to become accredited by a nationally recognized accreditation agency;

 

·          Study the appropriateness of establishing a national joint replacement registry; and,

 

·          Increase agency reporting requirements to improve the treatment and management of musculoskeletal disease across various populations and reduce disease burden and injury among children and the elderly.