Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists

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Even When Covered by Private Insurance, Diabetes Education Utilization Rates Remain Low, Creating Health Concerns

Nov 21, 2014
Even among those with private insurance, participation in diabetes self-management training (DSMT) remains low, raising concerns about the potential for people with diabetes to maintain their health and avoid the debilitating and costly outcomes that may arise. The findings of a new study were published today in the Centers for Disease Control’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
DSMT teaches patients about the diabetes disease process and medical treatment options as well as healthy lifestyle, blood glucose monitoring, preventing, detecting and treating diabetes complications, and developing personalized strategies for decision-making. This helps people with diabetes to improve glycemic control, which reduces diabetes complications risk, hospitaliza­tions, and health care costs.
And yet, among people 18–64 with newly diagnosed diabetes who had private insurance coverage, the rate of participating in DSMT during the first year after diagnosis was very low (6.8%). The rate was less than 15% among all subgroups examined. And, 25% of people with a diagnosis of diabetes in the first year were not prescribed or failed to fill a prescription for any medication for glycemic management whatsoever. 
“Low DSMT participation among persons with newly diag­nosed diabetes is a concern,” said Ruth Lipman, Chief Science and Practice Officer at American Association of Diabetes Educators and one of the authors of the report. For those not prescribed medication for glycemic management, failure to participate in DSMT means that their diabetes remains essentially untreated. For those prescribed insulin, lack of participation in DSMT increases the likelihood of hypoglycemia and other serious complications.”
Lipman said that there needs to be increased public and healthcare provider recognition of diabetes as a serious health condition, awareness about the value of DSMT, and changes to healthcare systems in order to increase access to and participation in DSMT.

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