Awards Recognize Outstanding Leadership To Improve Bone Health Of Americans
DECEMBER 21, 2021 (Arlington, VA) — The Bone Health and Osteoporosis Foundation (BHOF) is pleased to announce the inaugural recipients of a new national award to recognize Members of Congress who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, advocacy, and commitment to protect and improve the bone health of Americans. The awards will be presented annually by BHOF to highlight the importance of bone health and prevention, the treatment of osteoporosis, and the work by national leaders to advance improvements in bone health policy.
The inaugural Congressional Bone Health Champion Award winners are:
- Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)
- Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD)
- Congressman John B. Larson (D-CT)
- Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-IN)
These Congressional leaders have introduced legislation to improve access to bone health screening and helped raise public and policy maker awareness of bone health and its importance to overall health. Among other actions, they have worked to pass bipartisan legislation, the Increasing Access to Osteoporosis Testing for Medicare Beneficiaries Act of 2021. The bill aims to make sure more Medicare beneficiaries get screened for osteoporosis with the goal of reducing the number who suffer fractures and second fractures. A 2021 report by the independent actuarial firm Milliman found that only 9% of women who suffer a fracture are screened for osteoporosis within six months of a new fracture. Other analyses have shown that Medicare payment rates have been cut by 70% and, in the last 5 years, the osteoporosis diagnosis of older women has declined by 18%.
“It is important to recognize our elected leaders who are working to improve bone health and make it a higher priority for our nation. We couldn’t be prouder to have these Members of Congress as the inaugural winners of the Congressional Bone Health Champion Awards,” said Claire Gill, CEO of the Bone Health and Osteoporosis Foundation. “Bone health is crucial to your overall health. Congress needs to prioritize bone health on our nation’s healthcare agenda, and pass legislation to improve bone health screening and ensure patient access to treatment. We know it will have a dramatic impact on improving quality of life and reducing costly osteoporotic fractures,” concluded Gill.
Bone health and osteoporosis have an enormous impact on Americans. An estimated 54 million Americans have osteoporosis or low bone mass, and studies suggest that approximately 1 in 2 women and up to 1 in 4 men age 50 and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis in their lifetime.
Approximately 1.8 million Medicare beneficiaries suffered 2.1 million osteoporotic fractures in 2016 and osteoporosis-related bone fractures are responsible for more hospitalizations than heart attacks, strokes, or breast cancer. The total annual cost for osteoporotic fractures among Medicare beneficiaries was $57 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow to over $95 billion in 2040 without reforms, as the population ages.
About the Bone Health and Osteoporosis Foundation
The Bone Health and Osteoporosis Foundation, formerly the National Osteoporosis Foundation, is the leading health organization dedicated to preventing osteoporosis and broken bones, promoting strong bones for life and reducing human suffering through programs of public and clinician awareness, education, advocacy and research. Established in 1984, BHOF is the nation’s largest health organization dedicated to osteoporosis and bone health.
Contact: Carina May