When it comes to setting the public health agenda in the United States, one initiative has significant influence – even though you may have never heard of it. Led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Healthy People sets the nation’s 10-year goals and objectives for health promotion and disease prevention.
For those of us who work to support the growing aging population, Healthy People 2030, which is currently in development, offers a critical opportunity to influence how we address the needs of older people in this county.
For decades, Healthy People has determined priorities for national health. Federal, state and local governments use these objectives to guide their planning and investments to improve public health.
The coming decade will be a watershed time for our aging population. We should embrace this opportunity to set goals that will foster health and wellbeing for the fastest growing population segment: older adults. Objectives should include improvements in social, economic and physical conditions, which impact health three times as much as clinical care.
The public comment period on HP 2030 proposed objectives ends on January 17, 2019. Following are thoughts to help you add your voice to this conversation as the government sets goals for the coming decade.
The HP 2030 objectives can shape efforts across many industries and communities. The healthcare industry is an important stakeholder, particularly insurers and at-risk delivery systems including Medicare Advantage, Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and value-based provider organizations.
However, healthcare is only part of the equation. Participation and investment in community services and supports should include a much larger set of players. Ideally HP 2030 will include objectives and metrics designed to expand options for aging in community—including improvements in policies, financing, services, infrastructure and community supports in three key areas:
I encourage companies and organizations with expertise in these areas, and other age-related considerations such as isolation and loneliness, continued employment, and fall reduction to consider your role and involvement in HP 2030. You can comment on the 460 proposed objectives (700+ fewer objectives than HP 2020) and recommend new objectives that will support older people.
You can also consider attending an upcoming panel at this year’ American Society on Aging’s annual conference, which will focus on the need for HP 2030 and industry efforts to improve options for aging in community. We will explore more deeply how HP 2030 can help transform aging in place in the coming decade.