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New Collaboration to Support Diabetes Prevention, Management

The Council of Diabetes Prevention aims to increase access to the National Diabetes Prevention Program and strengthen the chronic disease management program's long-term growth and sustainability.

By Nathan Boroyan

- Leaders of the National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) have banded together to form a new organization focused on supporting diabetes prevention and management within the primary care ecosystem.

Preventative chronic disease management programs for diabetes

DPP leaders on Wednesday announced the launch of the Council of Diabetes Prevention, a membership-based nonprofit, which aims to increase patient access to the National DPP, the first program of its kind to be approved for Medicare reimbursement.

Additionally, the organization will look to promote high-quality care standards and strengthen the chronic disease management program's long-term scalability and sustainability.

"With over 1,400 CDC-recognized providers and countless other related stakeholders, it became clear we needed a big-tent forum to share learnings about program implementation, share best practices, help stakeholders stay current on government policymaking and be a bridge to the policymakers," said Solera Health founder and CEO Brenda Schmidt, the Acting President of the Council for Diabetes Prevention.

"Council members believe that working together, with the DPP's combination of strong research-based standards, evidence for effectiveness and flexibility of delivery method, we can effectively scale this program to reach the 86 million people living with prediabetes."

The organization currently has 30 members, including 10 founding members. Membership is open to any organization "who shares the group's vision of educating others on the value of the National DPP, supporting information-sharing, and promoting and enhancing patient access as well as the quality and sustainability of the program," the announcement page states.  

The National DPP is an effort to improve access to evidence-based lifestyle change programs that may reduce prediabetics' risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Research shows that participating in a National DPP program can lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent.  Meanwhile, without intervention strategies, 15 to 30 percent of prediabetics will develop Type 2 diabetes within five years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

There are currently 86 million Americans living with prediabetes, and nine out of 10 are unaware of their condition, according to the CDC. However, the number of new cases of Type 2 diabetes has been on the decline in recent years.

From 2009 to 2014, the number of diagnoses dropped from an all-time high of 1.7 million to 1.4 million, suggesting that significant investments in population health management may be working.

The healthcare system spends $16 billion per year on preventable conditions and services for managing diabetes, according to a Health Care Improvement Institute study. Overall, the total cost of diabetes and prediabetes care in the US is $322 billion per year, the American Diabetes Association says.

Care for patients who develop preventable conditions costs $10.3 billion for commercially insured patients and $6.5 billion for Medicaid patients. Unnecessary diabetes care services cost $1.3 billion for those with commercial insurance and $298 million for Medicaid patients.

Implementing chronic disease management programs that focus on preventative care for prediabetes and diabetes may ease the financial burden and improve patient outcomes, HHS says.  For example, a program overseen by the National Council of YMCAs – and modeled after the National DPP – generated $2650 in savings per participant for the Medicare system and improved patients' health.

During the program, participants could attend weekly meetings with a lifestyle coach to receive dietary and behavioral training. Additional monthly meetings were offered after the training sessions ended.

More than 80 percent of participants attended at least four weekly training sessions and lost an average of 4.73 percent of their body weight. Those who followed the program for more than four weeks experienced an average weight loss of 5.17 percent.

The Council for Diabetes Prevention plans to collaborate with government policymakers and CMS as the DPP is implemented as a Medicare benefit in 2018.

"The Council will help us providers keep up with best practices and network with one another as the National DPP continues to evolve and grow," said Marlayna Bollinger, Executive Director of the Skinny Gene Project and Acting Vice President of the Council for Diabetes Prevention. "We're glad to be able to receive this level of support and information-sharing through the Council."

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