First up in the EMS news this week is a look at an article I found over at USAToday.com on the healthcare systems highest utilizers. The article points to the sicker nature of the aging population compared to years past. In an analysis of those patients paid for by Medicare in the U.S. about 15% of the patients account for over 40% of the costs spent by the system.

EMS Sicker, Older Patient Population

elderly-man_smThe worry is that as our current aging population continues to age and retire into the system, they are sicker than generations past. The aging baby-boomers are more likely to have multiple chronic illnesses than prior generations of retirees. The challenge is that modern medical care is allowing them to live longer with these chronic conditions, further taxing the system.

The conditions listed in the article by Mutual Of Omaha Medicare include diabetes, asthma, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, CHF, and Alzheimer’s. Researchers are trying to sound alarms to policy-makers but are getting little attention. There have been double digit increases in the percentages of kidney disease, depression, and high cholesterol in aging patients since 2008. 10,000 people turn 65 every day and they are sicker than ever before.

The burden on the health care system is huge and only getting worse. This means more patients for EMS crews and of those patients, more who are sicker than ever before. What can you do in the MedicCast audience? Become an advocate for better health and wellness in your community. Seek out opportunities to talk to community organizations on health and wellness topics to create a healthier community.

Perhaps your EMS service already has a group of speakers who go out to community organizations to speak. Help connect them with organizations you belong to. Be creative. Creativity in healthcare is going to be one of the only things that gets us through this crisis over the coming years. Business as usual is not going to cut it so you get on the cutting edge!

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Follow up on the links to this news item and all the other articles and resources in this week’s episode show notes – Innovating London Continuing Education for Paramedics and Episode 442.

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