If there’s one word to describe Dr. Stephen Salopak, it would be impressive. He runs a sole provider practice in Lafayette, Louisiana, where he not only provides care for the many patients who live in the city but also those in the surrounding communities.
Understanding is the first step toward health
Since ancient times, the story of medicine has been one of ongoing discovery, pushing the frontiers of science forward to gain a deeper and more holistic understanding of what makes us ill and how we can restore health.
With so much uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, safety is on everyone’s mind right now. Providers may wonder about the best ways to continue seeing patients while minimizing the risk of spreading coronavirus and easing the anxiety of patients and staff.
I believe that Chronic Care Management (CCM) is one of the best tools that has ever been given to healthcare providers. I started using CCM in my office in October 2014 — a year before it became a benefit— because I’ve always believed healthcare was a team sport.
The role of chronic disease management
Although the cost has been high, the coronavirus pandemic has illustrated how much societies around the globe share — and how they can come together to improve health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 60% of American adults have at least one chronic illness, and 42% have two or more such illnesses — with heart disease, cancer, and diabetes leading the list of maladies that require ongoing medical attention and limit daily activities in some way.
Great Work on the Great Plains
They say that in business, as in life, you can’t do everything. You can’t have it all. But sometimes, just trying works out pretty well. That’s the case at Brown Clinic in Watertown, South Dakota, where staff have demonstrated that being a relatively small medical practice doesn’t mean you have to limit what you offer — or the healthcare IT expertise you can develop.
Aging populations, chronic needs
The fact that America is aging is no secret. According to the Population Reference Bureau, the number of Americans age 65 or older is expected to double by 2060 — to nearly 100 million. Nor is such information new. The trends have been apparent for years, and even if the estimates vary here and there, there’s no doubt that the nation’s average age is rising — bringing a lot of healthcare challenges.
America Ages — and Aches
Today, approximately 15% of Americans, some 46 million of us, are age 65 or older. Fast forward 40 years and the ranks of those eligible for Chronic Care Management are projected to reach nearly 100 million, about a quarter of the U.S. population. The exact numbers are anyone’s guess, but the trends are clear: Americans are living longer than ever. Medicine continues to make remarkable advances in the prevention and treatment of disease.