ENERGY SUBCOMMITTEE APPROVES HALL'S ELDER FALLS BILL
The Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health today approved legislation introduced by Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) that will help reduce and prevent falls among older adults. Hall is an original cosponsor of H.R. 3701, "Keeping Seniors Safe from Falls Act of 2007," along with Subcommittee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ). Hall was the original sponsor of the legislation in the last Congress.
"I'm pleased that the Energy Subcommittee approved this legislation today," Hall said. "Elder falls are one of the leading risks for senior citizens. This bill will help evaluate the most effective means of preventing falls and rehabilitating fall victims with the goal of reducing the number of falls among seniors."
A survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that 5.8 million adults aged 65 and older fell at least once in 2006, and for 1.8 million of these, the resulting injury required a doctor visit or restricted activity. Prior research suggests that about one-third of older adults fall each year, and the risk markedly increases with advancing age. In 2005, nearly 16,000 fatal falls were reported among older adults.
The bill directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to oversee and support national education campaigns to reduce falls among older adults, prevent repeat falls and educate health professionals about the risk, assessment and prevention of falls. Grants for local and state education campaigns would help achieve these goals.
The Department of Health and Human Services would design, implement and evaluate the most effective fall prevention and medication management strategies to improve diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. The Secretary also would be required to oversee and support demonstration projects designed to reduce the risk of falls.