A number of chronic conditions (MCC) present a major and increasing burden on the health of Americans. As part of its efforts to reduce the burden and suffering from MCC, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HpHS) supports a large number of programs to prevent and manage multiple chronic conditions MCC. HHS also provides leadership for improving the health for individuals with MCC.
Chronic conditions are those that last a year or more and require ongoing medical attention and/or limit activities of daily living. They include both physical conditions such as arthritis, cancer, and HIV infection. In addition, mental and cognitive disorders are included such as, ongoing depression, substance addiction, and dementia.
MCC are concurrent and chronic conditions. If a person if affected by two or more chronic conditions at the same time, they have MCC. For example, either a person with arthritis and hypertension or a person with heart disease and depression, both have multiple chronic conditions.
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Why are multiple chronic conditions important?
Approximately one in four Americans has MCC, including one in 15 children.
Among Americans aged 65 years and older, as many as three out of four persons have MCC. In addition, approximately two out of three Medicare beneficiaries have MCC.
People with MCC are also at increased risk for mortality and poorer day-to-day functioning.
MCC are associated with substantial health care costs in the United States. Approximately 66 percent of the total health care spending is associated with care for the over one in four Americans with MCC.
The risk of hospitalization,death, and receiving conflicting advice from physicians increases with an individual’s number of chronic conditions. People with MCC are at a greater risk of poor day-to-day functioning. MCC contributed to frailty and disability. Functional limitations frequently complicate access to health care, interfere with self-management, and necessitate reliance on caregivers.
Increased spending on chronic diseases among Medicare beneficiaries is a key factor driving the overall increase in spending in the traditional Medicare program. Individuals with MCC face major out-of-pocket costs of their care including higher costs for prescription drugs.
HHS administers a large number of federal programs directed toward the prevention and management of MCC. HHS also provides leadership in improving health outcomes in individuals with MCC.