APA’s Dr. Norman B. Anderson, Dr. Suzanne Bennett Johnson, Dr. Katherine Nordal and YMCA’s Jonathan Lever discussed findings of
the APA survey, “Stress in America: Our Health at Risk,” broadcast live on the Web on Jan. 11 from the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act offers an
opportunity to bring more of these interventions to Americans
by encouraging health-care providers to better coordinate
patient care. APA supports in particular the idea of team-based
care, in which patients would be seen by a variety of health-care providers, including physicians, nurse practitioners and
“We need to be sure that the payment models are in place
and that incentives (for patients and providers) are in place so
we can make that a reality,” said Anderson.
The act will also enable more Americans to get the care
they need earlier. Under the law, as of 2014, 32 million more
Americans will have health insurance. Currently, people don’t
seek care soon enough because they lack insurance coverage,
said panelist Katherine Nordal, PhD, executive director of
APA’s Practice Directorate. Soon, she said, more people will be
screened for their risk of depression, obesity and other ailments,
hopefully well before they develop chronic conditions.
“Treating the illness after it has developed is not the way to
drive down health costs in this country,” Nordal said.
Caregivers and others at risk
The APA survey also found that caregivers are under a
significant amount of stress. According to the National Alliance
for Caregiving, 65. 7 million Americans served as caregivers
for an ill or disabled relative in 2009. On a scale of 1 to 10,
caregivers’ mean level of stress was 6. 5 compared with 5. 2
among the general public. In fact, 55 percent of caregivers said
they felt overwhelmed by the amount of care they must provide.
And the number of caregivers is expected to climb
dramatically in the coming years. In 2011, the first Baby
Boomers — those born from 1946 to 1964 — turned 65, joining
the ranks of the nation’s older citizens. By 2030, the number of
Americans age 65 or older is expected to double, to 72 million,
according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services’ Administration on Aging.