DECEMBER 9, 2021 (Arlington, VA) — Representative Jackie Walorski (R-Indiana), has been selected as an inaugural recipient of the Congressional Bone Health Champion award by the Bone Health and Osteoporosis Foundation. The award, which was presented today at the U.S. Capitol, recognizes Members of Congress who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, advocacy, and commitment to protect and improve the bone health of Americans.
Rep. Walorski (pictured far left with BHOF CEO Claire Gill) is the lead co-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 and thereby reduce the number who suffer fractures and second fractures. A 2021 report by the independent actuarial firm Milliman report 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%.
“Americans should be thankful for the leadership Rep. Walorski is playing to improve their bone health,” 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. 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. In Rep. Walorski’s state of Indiana some 37,000 Medicare beneficiaries suffered over 43,400 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.
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About the Bone Health and Osteoporosis Foundation
The Bone Health & 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