AHA released a report on December 11 with the finding that while Medicare patients may be living longer, they also are getting sicker and are contributing to a greater use of health services. The report studied a recent dramatic rise in chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, obesity and other complex medical conditions. “In general, overall health care spending for a person with one chronic condition is almost three times greater than spending for someone without any chronic conditions, and spending is about 17 times greater for someone with five or more chronic conditions,” the authors said in the report. “Policy makers should carefully consider the trends of increasing acuity in the Medicare patient population as they seek changes to payment policy,” AHA said. The AHA report, “Trendwatch: Are Medicare Patients Getting Sicker ?” is available here.