While all of Cornerstone Government Affairs has grown and evolved over the course of our first 15 years, nowhere is this more evident than in our health practice and specifically our work in and around public health. At the time of our founding, despite only representing a small number of health clients, it was clear that we wanted our health practice to a be a foundational element of the firm going forward and an important part of our brand. Today, we are pleased to acknowledge that the health practice is one of the largest practice groups at the firm and that we represent a broad and diverse set of clients that range from various not-for-profit organizations, including hospitals and health systems, to trade associations and coalitions to Fortune 500 companies. We are equally pleased to report that within our health practice that we have carved a significant niche in public health and that our work in this space is at the core of who we are as a firm. We are extremely proud of our clients in this area and the long-standing relationships that we have built over the years.
For example, over the past decade, Cornerstone has helped secure additional funding for the Section 317 Immunization Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to allow more underinsured and uninsured children, adults and adolescents receive life-saving vaccines. We know that for each dollar invested in the U.S. childhood immunization program, there are over ten dollars of societal savings and three dollars in direct medical savings. Moreover, childhood immunizations over the past twenty years have prevented 322 million illnesses, 732,000 deaths, and nearly $1.4 trillion in societal costs.
We have also worked to bring additional resources to the Diabetes Prevention Program — a partnership among the YMCA, private insurers, and the CDC — which brings the YMCA‘s adaption of the program at 1,700 sites, with over 50,000 participants, in in 47 states. This intervention reduces healthcare costs, improves health, reduces the need for medication and has the potential to enable millions of Americans to avoid a remaining lifetime burdened by the daily management of diabetes.
Additionally, we have advocated tirelessly to restore funding for the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant at CDC which provides all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Indian tribes, and the US territories with funding to address their specific, unique public health needs. This program gives flexibility to use funds to respond rapidly to emerging health issues and to fill funding gaps in programs that deal with leading causes of death and disability.
With so much emphasis on the Affordable Care Act and potential repeal and replace, it is easy to ignore what is happening in public health. Yet, the cost of all chronic diseases account for more than 86 percent of our nation’s health care costs. Prevention of chronic disease is critical to building a healthier America and cutting health costs.
The health team at Cornerstone is proud of what we have accomplished on behalf of our family of public health clients over the last fifteen years, but we know this work is only the beginning. We need to spend less money on treating chronic diseases after diagnosis and become more proactive in making investments to prevent or mitigate the effects of these diseases.
Looking back, it’s been a both a passion and a privilege to work as partners with our clients, some of which have been with us since we opened our doors, to pursue the resources that allow the public health community to address the challenges ahead and continue to protect and improve the health of our nation.