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September 28, 2009
Spotlight on Diabetes Ten City Challenge
The diabetes epidemic is one of the greatest challenges facing our healthcare system today. Nearly 24 million Americans - 7.8% of the U.S. population - have diabetes and that number could increase to 50 million by 2025.
With annual costs of $174 billion, diabetes not only accounts for more than 15 million work days absent, 120 million work days with reduced performance and an additional 107 million work days lost due to unemployment disability attributed to diabetes, but it also multiplies the potential for heart disease, stroke, blindness, amputations and kidney failure.
Through the Diabetes Ten City Challenge, sponsored by the APhA Foundation with support from GlaxoSmithKline, employers provide employees, dependents and retirees with diabetes a voluntary health benefit, waive co-pays for diabetes medications and supplies and help people manage their diabetes on a day to day basis with the help of a specially-trained pharmacist "coach".
An interactive guide to the causes and symptoms
Today, 30 employers and hundreds of local pharmacists in ten cities are working together to help people manage their diabetes. A new report published in the May/June 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association (JAPhA) documents favorable economic and clinical results for employers and participants. Employers realized an average annual savings of almost $1,100 in total health care costs per patient when compared to projected costs if the DTCC had not been implemented and participants saved an average of almost $600 per year.
Participants also improved in all of the recognized standards for diabetes care, including decreases in A1c, LDL cholesterol and blood pressure; and increases in current flu vaccinations and foot and eye exams.
With one out of every five dollars in healthcare attributed to diabetes, the Diabetes Ten City Challenge represents a promising practice in designing a patient-centered health benefit, one that improves outcomes for patients and manages costs for everyone involved.