The National Changing Diabetes((R)) Program (NCDP), a program of Novo Nordisk, and several member associations recently urged President Obama and members of Congress to make the prevention, detection and treatment of diabetes, one of the nation’s most pervasive and costly diseases, a priority in reforming the U.S. healthcare system.
In an open letter to the President and lawmakers, NCDP said a national response to diabetes is required in order to transform health care and begin to ease the economic and personal burden of the disease, which is growing at an alarming rate. Today more than one in four Americans have diabetes or pre-diabetes, and these two conditions are estimated to have cost the U.S. $218 billion in 2007 in medical care and lost productivity, according to a recent study.
Joining the NCDP in reaching out to lawmakers are the American Diabetes Association, the American College of Physicians and VSP.
“We applaud the effort to reorient our health care system to focus more on the prevention of disease, and nowhere is the need greater than with diabetes,” said Dana Haza, senior director of NCDP, an initiative created by Novo Nordisk to drive health systems change at the national and local level. “Not only does diabetes frequently result in devastating and costly complications, but diabetes also significantly increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, amputations and depression. So tackling diabetes early will make a huge impact on our nation’s overall health care system.”
Type 2 diabetes, the most prevalent form of the disease, can often be delayed or prevented. Data show that the risk of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or at least significantly delayed by losing even a modest amount of weight through diet and regular exercise. Further, other studies have shown that the onset and progression of eye, kidney and nerve complications resulting from diabetes can be delayed by keeping blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible.
“We know that these lifestyle modifications and interventions work. Now we need to reform the health care system to promote them,” Haza said.
The NCDP is calling on lawmakers to ensure diabetes is a top priority for health reform, including all new or expanded initiatives in public programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP. The organization said diabetes needs to be specifically identified as a priority condition for:
— Patient-centered care models;
— Chronic care management programs;
— Health information technology programs;
— Programs to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health care;
— Prevention and health promotion initiatives;
— Quality improvement initiatives;
— Quality-based incentives; and
— Medicare and Medicaid demonstrations of new care models and delivery systems.
“We are facing a unique opportunity to profoundly change health care in America and improve the lives of countless people,” Haza said. “Changing diabetes is essential to health care reform.”
The National Changing Diabetes((R)) Program (NCDP) is a multi-faceted initiative that brings together leaders in diabetes and policy to improve the lives of people with diabetes. Launched in 2005, NCDP is a program of Novo Nordisk.