Diabetes Ten City Challenge

Local Press Release

Pittsburgh Business Group on Health Tackles Diabetes Care

PITTSBURGH, PA – The cost of diabetes in the U.S.  has been estimated at $132 billion in direct health care expenditures and lost productivity, and people with diabetes incur health care costs that are almost 2.5 times higher than people without diabetes.

To combat these staggering statistics and to assist members with diabetes in managing their health, the Pittsburgh Business Group on Health (PBGH), an employer-only coalition, has launched the LivingMyLife™ Self Management Program. This Program creates incentives to actively engage patients to manage their diabetes.

Also announced today, PBGH is one of the first employer groups to participate in the national Diabetes Ten City Challenge being conducted by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Foundation with support and funding from GlaxoSmithKline.   Both the Diabetes Ten City Challenge and the PBGH LivingMyLife Self Management Program support employers in their efforts to manage overall costs and invest in keeping people well. Both programs are modeled after the highly successful Asheville Project in North Carolina, a diabetes management program proven to improve overall health,  reduce absenteeism, shorten hospital stays and reduce overall health care costs.

In developing the LivingMyLife Program,  PBGH partnered with the APhA Foundation,  PharmaCare, its prescription benefit manager, and Duquesne University Mylan School of Pharmacy.

“It has been proven that bringing together all members of the health care team — pharmacists partnering with physicians and other health care providers—to coach and monitor people with diabetes can dramatically improve their lives and impact employer health care costs,” said Christine Whipple, executive director of PBGH.

What drives PBGH’s program is the patient’s active involvement in setting goals. By working with their “coaches” in the healthcare community — physicians, diabetic educators and pharmacists, the person with diabetes gains the knowledge needed to manage their care and learns the importance of doing the right thing at the right time.

The employer offers participation incentives and expects to see greater compliance,  lower overall costs, and a healthier, more productive workforce.  A unique component of the program is the Diabetes Patient Credential, developed by the APhA Foundation, which acknowledges the success of the person to understand, manage and monitor their condition and improve their health.

Pharmacists,  serving in the community, will play the role of “coach-partner” and provide regular feedback to physicians and collaborate with them and other care providers to help assure progress is being made and goals are being met.  Major chains and independent pharmacies are all eligible to participate in the program, with a number already signed up in the pilot areas.

The LivingMyLife Self Management Program is being implemented initially in southwestern Pennsylvania and in regions of West Virginia and Ohio.

From the 25 member companies participating in its Prescription Drug Program, PBGH has identified more than 12,000 employees, retirees and dependents with diabetes with up to 5,500 initially being eligible to voluntarily enroll in the LivingMyLife Self Management Program.  The PBGH Prescription Drug Program is a group purchasing option started in 2000 to help member companies more effectively manage their prescription drug benefits.

“This effort should benefit all those committed to helping those with diabetes —  employers obtaining the benefits of healthier workers with decreased absenteeism and overall health care costs, physicians and other members of the health care team seeing a positive impact on care as well as increased patient visits as the enrolled members begin to actively engage and manage their diabetes,” said David Thomas, CEBS, manager, Benefits for Development Dimensions International and PBGH board member and project chair for the LivingMyLife Self Management Program.

In the future PBGH’s Program may be expanded to address other critical health care needs such as heart disease, asthma, and depression.

About the Pittsburgh Business Group on Health

Founded in 1981, the Pittsburgh Business Group on Health (PBGH) is a non-profit organization and business-only coalition representing 64 member organizations, more than 1 million employees, dependents and retirees,  and over $3 billion in health care expenditures. The organization strives to improve the delivery, cost and quality of health care through implementing and supporting quality initiatives, analyzing health care data and resources, and providing forums for exchange of ideas and viewpoints.

About the Diabetes Ten City Challenge

The Diabetes Ten City Challenge, sponsored by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Foundation with support and funding from GlaxoSmithKline, is an innovative national program that improves people’s lives and saves on health care costs by putting people in charge of their diabetes with the help of a pharmacist coach.

The APhA Foundation, headquartered in Washington, D.C.,  is a non-profit organization that serves thousands of patients, physicians and pharmacists each year by designing solutions to medication-use problems including those related to cardiovascular health, diabetes and other chronic diseases. GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.