New Scope of COPD in Minnesota Surveillance Study Reveals COPD is a Worksite Issue

(January 30, 2013)

SAINT PAUL, MN - The American Lung Association in Minnesota in partnership with the Minnesota COPD Coalition and the Minnesota Department of Health’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Program released the second edition of a COPD surveillance study entitled The Scope of COPD in Minnesota. 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 third leading cause of death in the United States and is costing residents of Minnesota both at the workplace and in hospitals.

COPD is a Worksite Issue
Two out of three adults with COPD in Minnesota report being diagnosed before the age of 65. One-fifth of Minnesota adults who were unable to work in 2011 reported having COPD.

The Changing Face of COPD
COPD was once more common among men, however, more women have died from COPD since 2005 than men and hospitalization and emergency department visits rates are now about the same for both genders. Native Americans die of COPD at a higher rate than any other racial group in Minnesota. COPD prevalence is higher among people with lower education and income. 

COPD is Expensive
The average cost per hospitalization is over $20,000 (excluding professional fees) making COPD the most costly chronic disease in the state. Beginning October 1, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services may reduce reimbursements to hospitals for COPD patients readmitted for any cause within 30 days of initial discharge. The current trend of increasing emergency department visits and decreasing hospitalizations due to COPD may accelerate as a result of the rule change. The higher frequency of co-morbid conditions among those with COPD may greatly affect readmission rates.

Opportunity for Improved Management of COPD
Over 44% of Minnesotans with COPD do not take any daily medication for their COPD, even though taking a daily COPD medication is recommended for most patients to keep their symptoms under control. Additionally, about 35% of COPD patients still smoke.

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The mission of the Minnesota COPD Coalition is to improve the health outcomes of patients with COPD by working with patients, caregivers and the healthcare community to increase awareness, increase early diagnosis and improve treatment and management. This data will provide guidance to the goals and objectives listed in the 2011-2013 COPD Strategic Plan. 

The Minnesota Department of Health’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Program gathers and analyzes data about the environment, people’s exposure to environmental hazards, and health effects that might be released to the environments.  MN EPHT makes these data available on the Minnesota Public Health Data Access (MNPH Data Access) (, an online query and information system.

More information on the Scope of COPD in Minnesota is available at