Diabetes educators assembled on Capitol Hill today to push for passage of a Medicare reform that would provide greater access to diabetes education and generate health care savings.
Diabetes education is a process by which patients learn how to self-manage their condition, which is one of the most complicated diseases to address on a day-to-day basis. Patients learn to monitor their blood glucose levels, lessen high-risk activities, eat healthy and increase activity, and problem solve – among other strategies – through a process called diabetes self-management training (DSMT).
DSMT is a covered benefit through Medicare, however in order to receive reimbursement three requirements must be met: a physician referral, in a nationally accredited program and a qualifying national provider identifying (NPI) number.
The issue is that roughly 50% of those educated, credentialed and experienced to provide DSMT do not qualify for an NPI for this benefit. This is partly why DSMT is a significantly under-utilized Medicare benefit: only between 1.5 and 3% of beneficiaries have utilized the benefit since 1997,according to the American Association of Diabetes Educators, which is organizing the day of Capitol Hill briefings.
“It’s a common sense fix that we are looking for,” said Martha Rinker, Chief Advocacy Officer for the AADE. “More people would have access to diabetes education, which would reduce health complications from the disease and save the health care system millions of dollars.”
AADE is a multi-disciplinary professional membership organization dedicated to improving diabetes care through education. With more than 14,000 professional members including nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, and others, AADE has a vast network of practitioners involved in the daily treatment of diabetes patients.