December 7, 2022 (Arlington, VA) – Representative Linda Sánchez (D-California) has been selected as a 2022 recipient of the Congressional Bone Health Champion award by the Bone Health and Osteoporosis Foundation (BHOF). The award annually recognizes Members of Congress who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, advocacy, and commitment to protect and improve the bone health of all Americans.
Rep. Sánchez is a lead sponsor of bipartisan legislation, the Increasing Access to Osteoporosis Testing for Medicare Beneficiaries Act of 2021. This bill aims to make sure more Medicare beneficiaries get screened for osteoporosis (a chronic disease that weakens the bones and leads to fractures) and thereby reduce the number who suffer painful and debilitating broken bones. 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%.
“We’re grateful for Rep. Sánchez’s leadership in improving the bone health of all Americans,” said Claire Gill, CEO of the BHOF. “Good bone health is essential to your overall health. Congress needs to prioritize bone health on our nation’s healthcare agenda, and pass legislation to improve bone health screening. We know it will have a dramatic impact on improving quality of life and reducing costly osteoporotic fractures,” concluded Gill.
Osteoporosis is a growing yet often ignored health care problem that disproportionately impacts women. Ten million Americans have osteoporosis and 44 million are at high risk of the disease due to low bone density. According to a 2021 report, two million Medicare beneficiaries (about 70 percent women) suffered up to 2.1 million osteoporotic bone fractures in 2016. For women, the risk of any osteoporotic fracture is greater than their risk of a heart attack, stroke or breast cancer combined. In California some 174,000 Medicare beneficiaries suffered over 205,200 osteoporotic fractures in 2016. 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.