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CDC Head Says Public Health, Healthcare Ties are Key Agency Priority

Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaking at the National Process Club, said CDC's goal is to continue to be a leading proponent of collaboration between public health and general healthcare. "I think this opportunity is so important because with the focus not just on expanding coverage, which is very important. More coverage means saved lives. Not just on reduced costs, because reduced cost is very important. That means that businesses and individuals can afford to do more things. But on increased quality and increased impact of prevention, we can really transform our health system. We can make a huge difference. And I would use that same three system approach of find, stop, prevent."

Among the issues CDC plans to concentrate on (and this likely will be where funding will be available) are:

  • Addressing high blood pressure, obesity and other chronic conditions
  • HIV/AIDS, with an emphasis on increasing the numbers of those who are aware of their status and getting treatment;
  • Health prevention services, by funding programs promoting vaccines and screening; and
  • Programs designed to address healthcare associated infections.

Friedman concedes funding cuts and sequestration in 2014 will have an impact on agency programs. Among the areas that may lose funding are lead poisoning prevention and increasing the number and qualifications of state and local public health employees.

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