New COPD Surveillance Study Unveils $1.1 Billion Cost to Illinois

Mar 22, 2011, 13:59 ET from American Lung Association in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., March 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Lung Association in Illinois released a COPD surveillance study today entitled The Scope of COPD in Illinois. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an umbrella term for a number of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis and emphysema.  Starting in 2008, COPD became the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States and is costing residents of Illinois billions.

According to this study, COPD totaled $1.1 billion for hospitalization charges excluding professional fees in 2009.  Of which, eighty percent were Medicare or Medicaid charges.  The average hospitalization rate was $24,975 in 2009 with one out of three of these hospitalizations being Illinois residents under the age of 65, making COPD not only a taxpayer's issue, but an employment issue as well.

"COPD is no longer an 'old man's disease'," explains Jill Heins Nesvold, Director of Mission at the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest and Chief Analyst of this study.  "COPD affects both middle-aged men and women."  The data shows that beginning in 2007, more females were hospitalized due to COPD than males in Illinois and the trend continued during 2008 and 2009.

Additionally, COPD rates are highest in rural counties in Illinois at a rate of 6.6 per 1,000 people over the age of 45. This rate is nearly three times higher than metro collar counties and Chicago.

"Hospitalization rates for COPD are declining," says Heins Nesvold "but regional trends show an increase in emergency department visits."  Many of these hospitalizations and emergency department visits are preventable.  COPD is a preventable disease that attributes smoking as its number one cause.  Additionally, many patients are not properly diagnosed or treated for their COPD causing high readmission rates and a need for doctor and patient education.  

The American Lung Association in Illinois undertook this COPD surveillance study as the state's leader in COPD patient and professional education.  This data will provide guidance to the goals and objectives listed in the May 2008 Illinois COPD State Plan.  In addition, this data will guide the future direction of the American Lung Association in Illinois and Greater Chicago.  This data has never before been available to health care and public health professionals in Illinois. More information the Scope of COPD in Illinois is available at

The American Lung Association in Illinois is committed to saving lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Through research, education and advocacy we are dedicated to the Fight For Air.

SOURCE American Lung Association in Illinois