CHAPTER 223

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 240

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 16 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO OSTEOPOROSIS.

WHEREAS the General Assembly hereby finds the following:

(1) Osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disease, is a major public health problem that poses a threat to the health and quality of life to as many as 25 million Americans;

(2) The 1.5 million fractures each year that result from osteoporosis cause pain, disability, immobility, and social isolation, affecting quality of life and threatening people's ability to live independently;

(3) Because osteoporosis progresses silently and without sensation over many years, and many cases remain undiagnosed, its first symptom is often a fracture, typically of the hip, spine, or wrist;

(4) One of two women and one of five men will suffer an osteoporotic fracture in their lifetime;

(0) A woman's risk of hip fracture is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer;

(1) The annual direct and indirect costs of osteoporosis to the health care system have been estimated to be as high as $18 billion in 1993, and are expected to rise to $60- $80 billion by the year 2020;

(2) Since osteoporosis progresses silently and currently has no cure, prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment are key to reducing the prevalence of and devastation from this disease;

(3) Although a large quantity of public information exists about osteoporosis, that information remains inadequately disseminated and not tailored to meet the needs of specific population groups;

(4) Most people, including physicians, health care providers, and government agencies, continue to lack knowledge in the prevention, detection, and treatment of the disease;

(5) Experts in the field of osteoporosis believe that with greater awareness of the value of prevention among medical experts, service providers, and the public, osteoporosis will be preventable and treatable in the future, thereby reducing the costs of long-term care;

(6) Osteoporosis is a multi-generational issue because building strong bones during youth and preserving them during adulthood may prevent fractures in later life; and

(7) Educating the public and health care community throughout the State about this potentially devastating disease is of paramount importance and is in every respect in the public interest and to the benefit of all residents of the State of Delaware; and

WHEREAS the recommendations of this Act are:

(1) To create and foster a multi-generational, Statewide program to promote public awareness and knowledge about the causes of osteoporosis, personal risk factors, the value of prevention and early detection, and the options available for treatment;

(2) To facilitate and enhance knowledge and understanding of osteoporosis by disseminating educational materials, information about research results, services, and strategies for prevention and treatment to patients, health professionals, and the public;

(3) To utilize educational and training resources and services that have been developed by organizations with appropriate expertise and knowledge of osteoporosis and to use available technical assistance;

(4) To evaluate existing osteoporosis services in the community and assess the need for improving the quality and accessibility of community-based services;

(0) To provide easy access to clear, complete, and accurate osteoporosis information and referral services;

(1) To educate and train service providers, health professionals, and physicians;

(2) To heighten awareness about the prevention, detection, and treatment of osteoporosis among State and local health and human service officials, health educators, and policy makers;

(0) To coordinate State programs and services to address the issue of osteoporosis;

(1) To promote the development of support groups for osteoporosis patients and their families and caregivers;

(2) To provide lasting improvements in the delivery of osteoporosis health care, thus providing patients with an improved quality of life and society with the containment of health care costs; NOW, THEREFORE:

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend Part II of Title 16 of the Delaware Code by adding a new chapter to read as follows:

"Chapter 30. Osteoporosis Prevention and Education Initiative. § 3001. Osteoporosis Prevention and Education.

The Secretary of Health and Social Services shall establish, promote, and maintain an osteoporosis prevention and education initiative in order to raise public awareness of the causes and nature of osteoporosis, personal risk factors, the value of prevention and early detection, and options for diagnosing and treating the disease and to educate consumers, health professionals, teachers, and human services providers.

Approved January 27, 1998