Press Release

AADE Diabetes Education Accreditation Program Seeks to Increase Number of Community-Based Programs

For Release March 2, 2009

Chris Martin, 630.670.2745,
Diana Pihos, 312.601.4864,

CHICAGO —A new diabetes education accreditation program will increase the number of community and clinic-based programs that get accredited and expand access to crucial diabetes education.

The American Association of Diabetes Educators unveiled the Diabetes Education Accreditation Program today, and diabetes educators around the country have heralded it as a promising program that can expand access to those who cannot or do not seek diabetes care in large settings, such as hospitals.

AADE is now one of three organizations to receive approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to accredit organizations for diabetes self-management training. The other two are the American Diabetes Association and the Indian Health Service. AADE’s approval was posted in the Federal Register on February 27, 2009. It is effective 30 days from that date.

“Trends show that diabetes education is moving out of the hospital and into the community, so we want to go where the patient is seeking care,” said Lana Vukovljak, MS, MA, chief executive officer of the AADE.  “We are unique in our outreach to community-based settings, but we are able to accredit all practice settings, including the traditional hospital-based setting.”

Accreditation is important for diabetes educators because educators don’t bill Medicare directly like most health care providers.  Medicare, and most other third-party health insurance companies, only accepts billing from the accredited diabetes education program itself. 

AADE has been working on the accreditation program since 2008 when its board sought new models for expanding access to those with diabetes who have difficulty accessing diabetes care and education.  . 

AADE has accredited seven programs thus far, including a church-based program at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Germantown, Penn.  Albert Einstein Health Care Network in Philadelphia runs the program. 

According to the program’s director, Nadine Uplinger, MS, RD, CDE, BC-ADM, community-based clinics that don’t receive accreditation have a difficult time surviving because only programs that are accredited will be allowed to bill Medicare and other insurance programs. With AADE accreditation, these types of programs are more viable.

“Any diabetes education program can hang out its shingle, but it won’t survive unless it’s accredited,” Uplinger said.  “You simply cannot operate in today’s health care environment without accreditation.”  She pointed out that her program started with a grant but would not be able to survive when the grant ran out unless it was accredited.

AADE also believes that the new accreditation program can serve as a vehicle to encourage patients to follow the AADE7 framework that provides a structure for achieving behavior change, which is the ultimate goal of diabetes education.  

“Effective diabetes education doesn’t just provide patients with information, but gives them the tools and motivation to make necessary behavior changes,” Vukovljak said.

AADE-accredited programs benefit from the availability of tracking tools for patients’ self-management goals.  These tools allow diabetes education programs to track and report their patients’ behavior change and clinical indicators.

Like any accreditation program, there are a number of requirements, but Uplinger said that the application and site visit were straightforward.

According to Karen Fitzer, PhD, chief science and practice officer of the AADE, cost for the accreditation process is based on the number of locations a clinic has.  For programs with up to 10 settings where services are provided, total cost of accreditation is $800; for programs with 11-20 settings where services are provided, cost is $1,200.

A full list of the requirements and an application can be found here.

About the AADE:
Founded in 1973, AADE was created by and for diabetes educators. We are dedicated to providing our members with the tools, training and support necessary to help patients change their behavior and accomplish their diabetes self-management goals.

As a multidisciplinary professional association, AADE represents and supports the diabetes educator by providing members the resources to stay abreast of the current research, methods and trends in the field and by offering opportunities to network and collaborate with other healthcare professionals.

AADE is constantly working towards our vision of successful self-management for all people with diabetes and related conditions.