Press Release

Bills Introduced in the US House and Senate Would Increase Access To Diabetes Education, Reduce Healthcare Spending and Create Public Health Benefit

AADE Seeks Provider Status For Credentialed Diabetes Educators

For Release: September 22, 2011

Contact:
Diana Pihos, dpihos@aadenet.org, 312.601.4864
David Harrison, david@harrisoncommunications.net, 410.843.3869

September 21, 2011, Chicago – The American Association of Diabetes Educators, AADE, announced today that bills introduced in the United States House and Senate would result in more people with diabetes gaining access to diabetes education, which in turn would reduce healthcare expenses and enhance the public health. 

The Diabetes Self-Management Training Act of 2011 would amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to recognize credentialed diabetes educators as providers of diabetes education services, including telehealth services, under part B of the Medicare program.

Teaching patients how to effectively control their diabetes through self-management is considered one of the most important and cost effective tools in the arsenal of diabetes treatment and the avoidance of deadly diabetes-related complications. However, Medicare does not currently recognize credentialed diabetes educators, who are state licensed or registered health professionals with additional educational credentialing in diabetes, as diabetes education providers.

This oversight in the law puts diabetes educators at a significant disadvantage because they cannot bill directly for the services they provide. Designating credentialed diabetes educators as recognized providers of diabetes self-management training will make it easier for more educators to operate programs and deliver vital diabetes education services to more patients.

“Diabetes education is very clearly a savings tool that Medicare is not using to maximum benefit,” said AADE Chief Advocacy Officer Martha Rinker. “Diabetes education unquestionably improves health and saves lives. The correction that we seek will allow more qualified diabetes educators to provide services to people who otherwise would not be able to effectively manage their condition.”

Roughly 26 million people – 8.3 percent of the US population – have diabetes, and 79 million Americans 20 years or older are estimated to have pre-diabetes, making the disease one of the largest threats to the public health.

Diabetes education teaches self-management strategies to effectively monitor eating patterns, glucose levels, physical activity, and promotes healthy behavior change. Several independent studies have proven that diabetes education is effective in delaying the onset of the disease and in mitigating the many and varied complications that are associated with it. These include but are not limited to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, vision difficulties, weakened circulation and amputation. Studies have also shown that continued diabetes education provides an ongoing benefit.

The bills – Senate Bill 1468 and House Bill 2787 – were introduced by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and original co-sponsor Senator John Tester (D-MT)  and Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY-1)  and original co-sponsor Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO-1) .

The AADE has created an online petition for supporters of the bill to notify members of Congress. To complete the petition visit: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/support-access-to-diabetes-self-management-training/