Steps to Address the Health Care Challenge of an Aging Population

The Alliance for Aging Research conceptualized, organized and laid the groundwork for a blue ribbon commission holding hearings throughout the United States to:

  • Increase awareness about the growing challenges posed by an aging U.S. population and the growing incidence and impact of chronic diseases and disabilities associated with aging.
  • Identify key quality improvement strategies for chronic and geriatric care including prevention, health care systems coordination and investment in systematic training of health care professionals.

Key Findings

The Alliance for Aging Research:

  • Established a steering committee for the proposed blue ribbon commission. The steering committee, composed of medical educators, providers, consumer groups and health professionals, met regularly to develop the vision and strategy for the blue ribbon commission and completed a proposal outlining the rationale, goals, objectives, expected outcomes and resource needs.
  • Conducted a comprehensive environmental scan of related health care reform activities. Project staff created an 18-page grid summarizing nearly 100 initiatives by coalitions, foundations, professional societies, the health care industry, not-for-profit groups and government agencies. The steering committee used the results of this research to inform its deliberations about the rationale, goals, objectives and expected outcome of the proposed commission.
  • Secured written endorsements and commitments to participate in the commission from more than 30 major stakeholder organizations. These included AARP, American College of Physicians, American Nurses Association, American Heart Association and Service Employees International Union.
  • Convened organizations and stakeholders in Washington, D.C., in December 2006 to refine priorities, goals and strategies for improving the care for the oldest and most disabled Americans. Refinement in the objectives of the commission were agreed on, including a focus on most vulnerable and geriatric patient populations. Officers of the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality joined endorsers committed to launching the commission.