Diabetes Ten City Challenge

Local Press Release

Lowcountry Selected as Site for DTCC

CHARLESTON, SC – The City of Charleston, Piggly Wiggly Carolina, Co.,  Inc., Roper St. Francis Healthcare, the Charleston Water System, and the Town of Mount Pleasant, representing more than 10,000 insured employees and dependents, have signed on to help people with diabetes improve their health through the Diabetes Ten City Challenge, an innovative, employer-based diabetes self-management program sponsored by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Foundation, with support from GlaxoSmithKline.

The announcement was made today at the Charleston Maritime Center, where Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley offered welcoming remarks and comments on the City’s involvement in the  Diabetes Ten City Challenge.

Other speakers included Daniel Garrett, APhA Senior Director of Medication Adherence Programs; Mike Pucci,  Vice President of External Advocacy, GlaxoSmithKline;  Harry M. Hallman, Mayor of Mount Pleasant; Craig Massey, Director of Human Resources, Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co., Inc.; David L. Dunlap, President and Chief Executive Officer, Roper St. Francis Healthcare; Dorothy Harrison, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Charleston Water System; and Hugh D. Durrence, R.Ph., M.D.

They discussed Charleston’s leadership in creating a system for managing this chronic disease, the success of similar efforts in other cities, and how each local employer’s envisions the program impacting their employees and communities.

The Diabetes Ten City Challenge establishes a voluntary health benefit for employees and their dependents, provides incentives through waived co-pays for diabetes medications and supplies, and helps people manage their diabetes with support from pharmacists, physicians and diabetes educators.

“With the recent addition of five employers in the Charleston, S.C.  area, the APhA Foundation has reached the halfway mark in introducing its new approach to health care across the country,” said William M. Ellis, CEO of the APhA Foundation.  “We are pleased with the enthusiastic response from Charleston,  as well as the first four employers and coalitions selected to participate in the DTCC since we launched the program in October of 2005: the Pittsburgh Business Group on Health, the Northwest Georgia Healthcare Partnership, the Hawaii Business Health Council and the City of Milwaukee.

The Diabetes Ten City Challenge is modeled after other highly successful programs sponsored by the APhA Foundation that found people are more likely to take prescribed medications, track their condition with their blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol checks, and see their physicians for regular eye and foot exams.  “

The Diabetes Ten City Challenge model is successful because it provides incentives for all of the participants, including the employer, the provider and, most importantly, the patient,” Ellis said.

According to APhA Senior Director of Medication Adherence Programs Daniel G. Garrett, the level of interest by employers – from local governments to health care systems, from manufacturers to supermarket chains – shows that payers today are looking for new ideas to help improve the health of their workforce and to help control the cost of health care.

“The Diabetes Ten City Challenge is the next step in proving that this patient self-management model can work in every setting,”  Garrett said.  “It can work in urban and rural areas, with small and large employers, all across the country.  We are confident that this model will fundamentally transform the way health care is delivered in the United States.  It will show, through investment in aligned incentives, that health care can be an investment in wellness as opposed to an expense for sick care,” Garrett added.

According to the American Diabetes Association, the U.S. spends over $132 billion a year on diabetes – $13,242 on each patient with diabetes, compared with $2,560 per person for people who do not have diabetes – measured in the direct and indirect costs of emergency room visits, expensive and extended hospitalizations, disability insurance costs, absenteeism and lost worker productivity.

“At the end of the day, it is employers who pay the bulk of the health care bills in this country, and they are dependent on the health and productivity of their employees to stay competitive,” said Andrew Webber, a member of the DTCC Advisory Committee and president and CEO of the National Business Coalition on Health.   “The Diabetes Ten City Challenge represents a cutting-edge strategy that combines economic incentives for employees with the untapped coaching and counseling skills of pharmacists to motivate consumers who have diabetes to better manage their disease.”

Diabetes in the United States

More than 20 million Americans have diabetes (7.0 percent of the population), and the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled in the last 20 years.  According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8.7 percent of South Carolina adults have been diagnosed with diabetes (2004), compared to 5.6 percent in 1994.   The CDC estimates that 63 percent (almost two-thirds) of people in the U.S. diagnosed with diabetes are not achieving control of the disease.   Each year, 200,000 people die of complications from diabetes, and an additional 100,000 are affected by blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and problems of the lower extremities, including amputations.

About the APhA Foundation

The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Foundation, headquartered in Washington,  D.C., is a non-profit organization affiliated with the American Pharmacists Association, the national professional society of pharmacists in the United States.  The APhA Foundation has expertise in designing programs that seek to create a new medication use system in the United States where patients, pharmacists, physicians and other health care providers collaborate to dramatically improve the cost and quality of consumer health outcomes through the safe and effective use of medications.