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Give diabetes educators and diabetes education a lift!

May 25, 2015

If you have been to Washington, DC lately, you might have seen the Capitol dome covered with scaffolding as it gets a “facelift.” I was there recently and had a chance to snap this photo. Diabetes educators will be heading to DC in a couple of weeks as AADE goes to The Hill for our 2015 Public Policy Forum (PPF). Diabetes educators and diabetes education need a lift! 

I have been able to attend several PPFs with AADE and am really looking forward to it. But, I do remember my first when I was more nervous than excited. The word “advocacy” was a bit intimidating to me as was the idea of going to our representatives’ offices. As diabetes educators, I think most of us are uncomfortable with the idea of advocacy. We are healthcare providers. But, I went through AADE’s PPF training and got comfortable. Armed with what I learned, within a couple of minutes in the first office, I was relaxed. This year, I will go to the visits with good data to support our requests, bringing along my passion for diabetes educators and people with diabetes who benefit from Diabetes Self-Management Training (DSMT).

Here are the facts:

  • Approximately 29 million people in the U.S. are currently living with diabetes; another 86 million have pre-diabetes.
  • The percentage of the population with diagnosed diabetes continues to rise.
  • The economic cost of diabetes in the U.S. is now at $245 billion.
  • Evidence supports the effectiveness of DSMT in people with type 2 diabetes; participation can improve health outcomes!
  • Diabetes education is underutilized. Less than 7% of those diagnosed with diabetes attend DSMT during the first year after diagnosis.
  • For Medicare beneficiaries who complete DSMT, the average cost savings per month/per patient is $135, or 22 billion dollars annually; inpatient hospital costs savings are even greater ($160 per month/per patient).
  • When Congress created the DSMT benefit, they did not recognize credentialed diabetes educators as a provider group (including for tele-health services).
  • We are requesting co-sponsorship for Access to Quality Diabetes Education Act (H.R. 1726/ S. 1345) from House and Senate legislators to recognize credentialed diabetes educators as Medicare providers for outpatient DSMT services.
  • This bill has been scored with an “asterisk,” meaning that it would have virtually no cost and minimal impact on Medicare spending!

 

I am surprised by how government works. Our representatives and their staff members “listen” to our emails and tweets. Gone are the days of hand-written letters. You will receive communications from AADE prior to, and on the day of, the Capitol Hill visits. Please act so we can flood representative’s offices with emails and tweets! The links will bring you right to your representatives. (If you don’t have a twitter account, consider getting one now to be ready to tweet your representatives.)

Remember, you are their constituents; they will take your communications seriously. Every voice counts! 

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