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AMA, MSMS Partnership Promotes Diabetes Management in Michigan

The AMA is working to promote population health management in Michigan by educating patients and providers about the importance of prediabetes care.

By Jennifer Bresnick

- The American Medical Association and Michigan State Medical Society (MSMS) are teaming up to improve diabetes management and prevent the development of chronic disease in pre-diabetic patients. 

Population health management and diabetes management

The partnership will attempt to reach approximately 2.6 million patients in Michigan who may not know they are living with prediabetes, and will serve as a test case for population health management strategies focused on the common metabolic disease.

"In Michigan, the prevalence of diabetes over the past three decades has exceeded US national statistics," said MSMS President David M. Krhovsky, MD. In 2013, Michigan ranked 22nd in the nation for diabetes prevalence, according to data from the state government, and diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in that year. 

"In partnership with the AMA we are working hands-on with Michigan's physicians and health systems to take action in implementing meaningful diabetes prevention efforts to improve the health of our residents in Michigan and ultimately improve the health of people across the country," Krhovsky said.

Approximately 10.4 adults were diagnosed with the condition in 2014, but that may represent only a fraction of the patients who are at high risk of developing the disease.  The CDC estimates that 37 percent of adults are likely to have prediabetes, but only 8.2 percent of Michigan residents were informed by their healthcare providers that they are part of that group.

The AMA and MSMS initiative will attempt to address that significant information gap by increasing screenings for prediabetes and steering high risk patients towards recognized diabetes prevention programs.

"The goal of this partnership is to get patients with prediabetes into proven lifestyle change programs that have been shown to cut the risk in half of progressing to type 2 diabetes," said AMA President Andrew W. Gurman, MD.

"By working with a variety of practices and health systems within Michigan, we are learning the best ways to implement processes for screening, testing and referring across different clinical settings. We will use these models in the future to support other states as they adopt a similar process—helping even more Americans stave off or delay type 2 diabetes to improve health outcomes."  

The AMA launched its Prevent Diabetes STAT program in 2015 to provide healthcare organizations with the tools and education required to perform more comprehensive screenings and help patients change unhealthy lifestyle behaviors. 

Former AMA President Robert M. Wah called the diabetes epidemic a “crisis” that drains more than $245 billion from the US economy each year in healthcare spending and lost productivity. 

Ann Albright, PhD, RD, director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation, also urged swift and comprehensive action.

“Our health care system simply cannot sustain the continued increases in the number of people developing diabetes,” she said. “Screening, testing and referring people at risk for type 2 diabetes to evidence-based lifestyle change programs are critical to preventing or delaying new cases of type 2 diabetes.”

The program, developed in conjunction with the CDC, aims to accelerate the slight downward trend in new diabetes cases by ensuring that all patients are informed of their status and given the resources to manage their own health.

Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services is an early partner in the effort, as is Henry Ford Health System.

"By partnering with the AMA we hope to engage physicians and care teams in systems that will help us create a bridge between clinical practice and a community-based lifestyle change intervention," says Christopher O'Connell, DO, Division Chief of Ambulatory Medicine, Chief Experience and Community Service Officer, Henry Ford Macomb Hospital.

"The AMA collaboration has allowed us to provide our physicians and their care teams with educational opportunities and training materials,” he continued. “We look forward to continued collaboration to develop additional tools that we can adopt as part of the prediabetes screening and referral process to prevent diabetes in our patients and communities."

The AMA is also planning similar state-level efforts in New York, California, and South Carolina, the organization said, and is hoping to generate collaboration between providers, payers, employers, and public health organizations to implement strategies that will have an immediate positive effect on the health of patients. 

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