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Report: PA Needs Work on Managing, Preventing Chronic Conditions

by Danielle Smith, Keystone State News Connection

Report: PA Needs Work on Managing, Preventing Chronic Conditions

Pennsylvania ranks 23rd among states for the overall health of Pennsylvanians in a new America’s Health Rankings report by the United Health Foundation.

According to the report – nationally, eight chronic conditions have reached the highest prevalence in the report’s history.

Through its five departments, the Health Promotion Council – a subsidiary of Public Health Management Corp. Pennsylvania – supports programs and services, and advocacy in the community.

That’s according to Gina Trignani, Health Promotion Council’s director of training and capacity building. She added that her department works on chronic disease prevention and management, with a focus on diabetes.

“So, diabetes, self-management, education, and support, and the National Diabetes Prevention Program,” said Trignani. “So, our goal is really to help increase outreach and recruitment and promotion of the programs to try and get people to enroll. And participate in the programs that are offered throughout the state.”

Trignani pointed out that the National Diabetes Prevention Program is designed to help people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes prevent or delay the onset of the disease.

She added that the program helps people lower weight by 5% to 9% and recommends people increase physical activity to 150 minutes a week and make healthier food choices.

Dr. Rhonda Randall, chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare Employer and Individual, said more than 29 million adults in the United States are living with three or more chronic conditions.

She revealed that the research also includes some good news.

“The number of mental health professionals in our country increased 7%,” said Randall. “The number of dental professionals increased 7%. The percentage of uninsured decreased 7%. Occupational fatalities went down. Smoking is now the lowest it’s been since we’ve been measuring it.”

She emphasized that more people are living with chronic conditions, and fewer physicians are available to treat them.

The report found a 13% decrease in primary-care physicians during the pandemic.