Earlier this month, Kentucky passed a bill in both their House and Senate that requires a
license to practice diabetes education. Governor Steve Beshear signed it into law on March 16,
2011. We are thrilled with this development and we appreciate the work our Kentucky-based educators
have done to advocate on behalf of this effort.
In 2010, AADE launched a state licensure initiative, focusing our initial efforts on Kentucky,
and this is our first major success.
State licensure ensures that all healthcare providers who deliver diabetes education will have
sufficient knowledge to provide safe, effective care to persons with or at risk for diabetes. In
addition, it increases recognition for the profession and reinforces the highest standards of
State licensure also accomplishes another goal that is central to the expansion of the
profession. In effect, it creates a “legal” definition for a diabetes educator, and will establish
a codified scope of practice. Without this legal definition, payors may reimburse for the diabetes
education service (DSMT), but they may not recognize (reimburse) the provider of these services –
the professionally qualified diabetes educator.
State licensure would smooth the way for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to
recognize diabetes educators as providers of DSMT at the national level, which is another major
advocacy initiative for AADE. Our advocacy initiatives at the national and the state levels work
together to accomplish our goals of increased reimbursement and recognition.
At this time, the CDE® is not a recognized Medicare provider. Even though healthcare
professionals have to be licensed in their respective fields to be eligible to sit for the CDE
exam, it is a voluntary credential and is not required for the practice of diabetes education. Any
healthcare professional (with or without a license in their respective field) can now practice
The MD, DPM, NP, RD and PharmD are able to bill CMS because they have provider status and hold
state licenses. State licensure would further open the door for certified diabetes educators to
become recognized Medicare providers.
Diabetes educator licensure is intended for the health care professional who has a defined role
as a diabetes educator, not for those who may perform some diabetes-related functions as part of or
in the course of other routine occupational duties.
The practice documents that AADE has created (The Guidelines for the Practice of Diabetes
Education, the Competencies for Diabetes Educators, the Diabetes Education Patient Curriculum, and
others) provide a strong infrastructure for the future growth and standardization of the profession
and served as the basis for the Kentucky legislation.
Over the next few years, we will be expanding the state licensure initiative, so stay tuned for
more news. Visit the
AADE website for
more information or email