I came across an interesting post on the Wall Street Journal Health Blog about the National Bone Health Alliance (NBHA) and their campaign to raise awareness about bone-density tests. According to the NBHA, 2 million people suffer fractures due to osteoporosis every year, however 50% of those fractures can be prevented with proper treatment. The reason these individuals are not receiving treatment is that they are not being screened for the condition, even though half of women over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. To prevent these injuries, the NBHA wants to see every individual over the age of 50 who suffers a fracture tested for osteoporosis. Right now only about one in five women on Medicare have had a bone-density test, and less than a fifth of older patients treated by orthopedic surgeons are counseled about osteoporosis. Dr. Ethel Siris, director of the Toni Stabile Osteoporosis Center at Columbia University and a member of the NBHA’s executive board told the WSJ Health Blog, “Orthopedic surgeons do a really good job of fixing broken bones, but they don’t take time to go through the whole calcium discussion or talk about medications that could stop bone loss.” With healthcare reform initiatives aimed at improving preventive services and rewarding healthcare providers for better outcomes, it seems logical that orthopedic surgeons will start investing more time in having those discussions with patients. If they don’t, the consequences could cost billions. The NBHA estimates that osteoporosis fractures will likely cost the healthcare system $25 billion by 2025.