Falls are common and costly. In 2000, more than 2.6 million older adults experienced a fall-related injury, and their health costs related to fall injuries were estimated to exceed $19 billion (the most recent published cost estimate).1 As the US Congress and Obama administration tackle health care reform—and as public officials administer programs today—they should be mindful that one-third of people older than 65 years fall annually, and the odds of an injurious fall increase with age. Decision makers can support clinicians and their elder patients by initiating 3 essential policies to (1) support fall prevention, including promoting and paying for evidence-based care; (2) support community living, including a payment mechanism for informal caregivers; and (3) retool financing of long-term services and supports.
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