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Diabetes Prevention Program Showing Positive Results

Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)  announced that the expansion of the Diabetes Prevention Program, led by the  Innovation Center, is improving the quality of patient care without limiting services and will reduce net spending in the Medicare program. “This program has been shown to reduce health care costs and help prevent diabetes, and is one that Medicare, employers, and private insurers can use to help 86 million Americans live healthier,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “The Affordable Care Act (ACA) gave Medicare the tools to support this groundbreaking effort and to expand this program more broadly.”

Today, the number of Americans with type 2 diabetes is about 30 million, and about 86 million more Americans are at high risk of developing diabetes. To help aid in the prevention of diabetes, the ACA set aside funding to expand the Diabetes Prevention Program and help more people with Medicare at high risk for diabetes decrease their risk for developing serious illnesses related to diabetes.

According to HHS, the results of the program model are significant:

  • Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in the program lost about five percent of their body weight, which is enough to substantially reduce the risk of future diabetes. Average weight loss was 4.73 percent of body weight for participants attending at least four weekly sessions. Participants who attended at least 9 weekly sessions lost an average of 5.17% of their body weight.
  • Over 80 percent of participants recruited attended at least four weekly sessions.
  • When compared with similar beneficiaries not it the program, Medicare estimated savings of $2,650 for each enrollee in the Diabetes Prevention Program over a 15-month period, more than enough to cover the cost of the program.

“The Diabetes Prevention Program can prevent disease and help people live healthier lives,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, CMS Deputy Administrator and Chief Medical Officer. “CMS’ partnership with CDC, NIH, and private sector partners to engage people in improving their own health was critical to the success of the Diabetes Prevention Program. We are now working to determine the best strategies for incorporating the Diabetes Prevention Program into Medicare.”

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