Cardiovascular diseases, including heart attack, stroke, and heart failure, remain the greatest killers of men and women worldwide – accounting for one-third of all annual deaths. According to the American Heart Association, annually, about one in every six U.S. healthcare dollars is spent on cardiovascular disease. By 2030, annual direct medical costs associated with cardiovascular diseases are projected to rise to more than $818 billion, while lost productivity costs could exceed $275 billion. Seventy-five cents out of every dollar spent on healthcare today is spent on three chronic diseases: two of which, obesity and diabetes, lead directly to the third, Coronary Artery Disease, which itself comprises more than 50% of this figure.
Not only are overall medical costs rising at an alarming rate, but current forecasts suggest that healthcare premiums will correspondingly rise 12 to 20% annually. Increases in healthcare costs may soon threaten the profitability of some businesses. A great deal of data has been reported over the past 15 years showing that ninety-nine percent of the Fortune 500 companies have now initiated health and wellness programs to lower costs, as have most states and municipalities.
Furthermore, with the current health care financing system in clear flux and surrounded by tremendous uncertainty, wise use of dollars devoted to health care is no longer an option for individuals or corporations – it is essential. The current trend will be difficult to sustain and has indeed forced many companies to self-insure, reduce benefits, or cover only catastrophic events. For some plans, termination may be the only financial option.
Currently, most approaches to detecting and treating cardiovascular disease rely on a are REACTIVE rather than a PROACTIVE approach. Waiting for symptoms to occur, at which time treatment may be too late, and is certainly much more difficult, invasive, and expensive, is clearly a less desirable strategy. Additionally, many of the testing modalities used by conventional cardiologists are based on outdated disease paradigms. It is now established that cardiovascular abnormalities resulting in and pre-dating morbid events are detectable in the arteries long before the development of symptomatic disease.
Heart attack and stroke are NOT syndromes that suddenly arise “overnight”. Cardiovascular disease does not start at the point in time when these events actually occur, or even when initial symptoms develop. Fifty percent of heart attacks in the US occur in people with traditionally defined “normal” cholesterol – people who would therefore likely fall through the cracks and not have further cardiovascular testing. Alarmingly, 50% of men and 64% of women are asymptomatic when they have their first heart attack. Unfortunately, in 30%-40% of patients who have a heart attack, the first symptom is sudden death. Based on reliable statistics, approximately 48% of your workforce currently has some degree of coronary artery disease or cardiovascular disease – despite the fact that it may not yet be clinically evident.
PCNY applies advances in noninvasive techniques for studying the blood vessels that now provide the opportunity to use actual detection of the earliest stages of disease, rather than simply risk factors as the tool for clinical decision making. It is known that the over reliance upon existing and traditionally used population-based cardiovascular disease risk factor based scores frequently results in significant misclassification (in over 50% of people) of patients determined to be at intermediate to high risk, and may miss people that are thought to be at low risk. This is because risk factors are not the actual disease, and basing clinical decisions solely on them results in what amounts to a crude and imprecise approach to decision making. Preventive Cardiology of New York is able to identify cardiovascular risk and disease often 10-20 years before conventional cardiologists with our cutting-edge tests, many of which are only available at our facility.
If cardiovascular disease represents more than 50% of chronic healthcare costs and impacts half of the American workforce, it is of paramount important to the health of your equity partners and employees, as well as the financial health of the firm, to identify those affected as early as possible, and manage the disease before it becomes advanced. Preventive Cardiology of New York is able to achieve these outcomes through its advanced, individualized testing, and unique protocols. We provide extensively well-validated current, 1-, 5-, and 10-year cardiovascular risk assessments, and develop ongoing short, intermediate, and long-term treatment plans based upon those and other metrics. The earlier cardiovascular disease is discovered, the more successful interventions will be, often permitting the patient to stave off an adverse or morbid event entirely, or until much later in life. When adopting an aggressive “prevention model”, the initial costs are accompanied and outweighed by significant reductions in medical and surgical interventions, lost work time, and rehabilitation costs.
For the self-insured, the primary reason for implementing aggressive proactive programs is to control medical costs, and there is an overwhelming consistency in the analytic data supporting this approach. Based on an analysis of 56 peer reviewed studies the consensus of ROI is between $3 and $5.81 for every dollar invested in worksite wellness, lowering sick leave 27.8%, lowering healthcare costs 28.7%, and lowering disability claims 33.5%. The physical and psychological impact on the patient, and impact on family members of a significant cardiovascular event are obviously beyond measure. Given the high monetary costs and workflow ramifications of heart attack, heart failure, and stroke, including prolonged hospitalization and rehabilitation, as well as the burden on co-workers in “picking up the slack” to adequately service clients, proactive management of cardiovascular disease is of prime importance in any company health management program.
Cardiovascular disease is an eminently manageable health issue when diagnosed early and treated aggressively and properly. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) places heart disease as the highest healthcare cost category, as well as the fastest growing. The average annual expenditure according to the most recent available data (2009) for a patient with clinically manifest cardiovascular disease was $4,279. Clearly this number has risen significantly since then. Data reveals that for every 5,000 men and women screened for coronary artery disease alone there is a savings of approximately $30 million dollars over eleven years. For well-organized groups with strong leadership, employee participation in this type of intensive screening can be as high as 90%.
In summary, embracing truly proactive and comprehensive management of cardiovascular disease is a major part of the solution to the high cost of healthcare in this country. By doing so, your firm would likely realize a significant reduction in healthcare expenditures. Preventive Cardiology of New York provides the most in-depth cardiovascular analysis in the medical field and is ready to partner with your firm to achieve these goals, while importantly safeguarding the health of your partners and employees.