In her excellent Feb. 8 op-ed, “Heartening news on health spending,” Catherine Rampell made the point that preventive medicine has resulted in both healthier people and reduced health-care costs. Although this combination may have been unexpected, it is not a surprise to those physicians who practice the specialty of preventive medicine. The specialty is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties and is the only medical specialty for which the health of communities and defined populations is a major focus.
And yet, federal funding for preventive-medicine training has been dwindling as the nation is facing an increased burden of chronic diseases, an aging population and persistent health disparities. Training for the specialty relies on federal funding through the Health Resources and Services Administration. Yet, for the past two years, funding for the program has been zeroed out in the administration’s proposed budgets. We hope this year the president will recognize the value of investing in prevention and include funding for this important program in his fiscal 2020 budget.
We applaud the recognition of preventive medicine as an effective method of improving health, reducing costs and transforming our health-care system. We urge the president and Congress to restore and increase funding for this critical medical specialty.
Donna Grande, Annapolis
The writer is chief executive of the American College of Preventive Medicine.