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John Kerry

H.E.A.R.T. Sponsors Special Forum on Combating Chronic Disease

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. (Nov. 21, 2012) — The Healthcare Exchange Advocacy and Responsibility Team (H.E.A.R.T.) will present “A Special Forum on Chronic Disease: Simple Solutions to Complex Health Problems,” 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27, at the Sante Claire Hotel, 302 S. Market St. in San Jose.

Susan Dentzer, Editor-in-Chief of Health Affairs, will moderate a panel discussion featuring Dr. Travis Stork, healthy lifestyle author, emergency room physician and host of “The Doctors”; Thomas Goetz, Executive Editor of Wired; Dr. Kent Bradley, Chief Medical Officer of Safeway Inc.; Steve Skurnac, President of Sims Recycling Solutions; Dr. Julie Andersen, Professor and Researcher at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging; John Farquhar, MD, Professor of Medicine and Health Research and Policy and Founder and Senior Faculty Member of the Stanford Prevention Research Center; Sandra Perez, Director of the California Office of the Patient Advocate; and Micah Weinberg, Senior Policy Advisor for the Bay Area Council.

The master of ceremonies will be Kenneth Thorpe, PhD, Chairman of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease and Robert W. Woodruff Professor Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University.

“Chronic disease is the epicenter of California’s health cost crisis,” said Liz Helms, President of the California Chronic Care Coalition, speaking on behalf of H.E.A.R.T. “More than three-quarters of state health care spending is associated with treatment of chronic diseases. At least 16 million Californians struggle with one or more chronic illnesses and the incidence of chronic disease is growing at an accelerating rate.”

“California can reverse our course toward worsening health and higher costs,” Helms continued. “To do it, we have to reorient delivery of health care in our state toward much more effective prevention and management of chronic illnesses. We applaud the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) for bringing together nationally-respected health care leaders, thinkers, policy experts and innovators at the Special Forum to discuss how California can take on this challenge and win.”

“We’re excited to sponsor the Special Forum on Chronic Disease,” said H.E.A.R.T. Education and Advocacy Chair Adam Loveall. “We look forward to working extensively with PFCD and other H.E.A.R.T member organizations to broaden public understanding of how reduction of health costs for all Californians is linked to achieving more effective prevention and treatment of chronic diseases. California has an opportunity to take a great step toward achieving these goals, right now, by adopting ‘smart’ design of the California Health Exchange.”

PFCD is a national coalition of patients, providers, community organizations, business and labor groups, and health policy experts committed to raising awareness and reducing the incidence of chronic disease, which is the number one cause of death, disability and rising health care costs in the United States.

H.E.A.R.T. is a statewide alliance whose member organizations include California businesses, labor organizations, patient groups, health care providers, payers and insurance plans with a commitment to support a “smart” Health Benefits Exchange that will lower costs, improve quality and expand access to health care for all Californians.

Online registration for the forum can be made here.


Media Contact: Ellen Anreder, (818) 416-9400

Adam Loveall for a Smart California Health Insurance Exchange


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Liz Helms for Team Health Care