National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
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Business and Diabetes
CDC works with businesses and managed care organizations to address diabetes control in the workplace.
Diabetes is costly in human terms for almost 16 million Americans with the disease. Diabetes is also costly in economic terms: $98 billion a year in direct medical and indirect costs in the United States.1 The prevalence of diabetes increased markedly in the United States from 1990 to 1998, including a 76 percent rise among people aged 30 and older. Experts report that diabetes will continue to increase in this country. 2
During November, diabetes awareness month, health professionals at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and their business and managed care partners are letting people know how CDC works with businesses to address workplace issues related to diabetes control.
"We're trying to give businesses the perspective of what scientific research and data are available and how they can guide employers to improve the work environment for people with diabetes. Knowledge is available to help people with diabetes, but it is not being widely applied. A few simple and inexpensive changes can help avoid severe diabetes complications, such as blindness, amputations, and kidney disease, which are much more costly to treat than to prevent." said Frank Vinicor, MD, director, Division of Diabetes Translation, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC.
For 2 years, CDC has worked with the National Business Coalition on Health
(www.nbch.org*), the Washington Business
Group on Health (www.wbgh.org*), the
Employers Managed Health Care Association,
and others. As a result of this partnership, CDC and the business community
are exploring ways of improving the health of workers with diabetes, promoting
health messages, and managing the disease in the workplace. For more information,
visit CDC's Diabetes Public Health Resource Web site (www.cdc.gov/diabetes)
or call toll free 1-800-CDC-INFO
The following facts outline the impact of diabetes in the workplace and the nation in 1997:
Total Cost of Diabetes
A recent study concluded that short-term improvements in glucose control (a key preventive measure for diabetes) can enhance the quality of life for employees with diabetes, reduce costs from hospitalizations and absenteeism, and improve health and productivity.4
According to the National Diabetes Education Program's
(NDEP) Making a Difference: the Business Community Takes on
NDEP is a joint program sponsored by CDC and the National Institutes of Health.
NDEP involves public and private partners to improve the treatment and outcomes for people with diabetes, to promote early diagnosis, and ultimately, to prevent diabetes. Through the use of assessment tools and work-site kits, NDEP's Business and Managed Care Work Group helps increase awareness among employers, benefits managers, and managed care decisionmakers about the clinical and economic benefits of quality diabetes care and promotes the value of investing in prevention.
The American Diabetes Association's (ADA) Clinical Practice Recommendations establish the clinical guidelines for health providers to follow; for example, the frequency and type of key diabetes tests and exams. For more ADA information, call toll free 1-800-DIABETES, or visit the Web site at http://www.diabetes.org*.
The Health Plan Employer Data and Information Set (HEDIS) is a set of standardized performance measures designed to ensure that health care purchasers and consumers have the information they need to reliably compare the performance of managed care plans. Currently, four HEDIS measures are directly related to diabetes care. HEDIS is sponsored and maintained by the not-for-profit National Committee for Quality Assurance. On the Internet, visit www.ncqa.org* then select "programs" and "HEDIS."
Through George Washington University, CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation is currently developing model contract specifications that are geared toward purchasers of health care.
Successful strategies for managing and controlling diabetes may include, but are not limited to, community support, individual counseling and education, group education and support classes, regular blood sugar testing and screening for complications, and routine follow-up. Any company-developed intervention, no matter how large or how small, can be an investment in your entire workforce and the community as a whole.
Page last modified: December 12, 2005
Content Source: National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Division of Diabetes Translation