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, which was sponsored by the APhA Foundation with support from GlaxoSmithKline from 2005-2009, 30 employers in ten cities provided employees, dependents and retirees with diabetes a voluntary health benefit, waived co-pays for diabetes medications and supplies and helped people manage their diabetes on a day to day basis with the help of hundreds of specially-trained pharmacist "coaches".
A report published in the May/June 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association (JAPhA) documented 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 passage of the Affordable Care Act, it is critical that opportunities are harnessed at the state level to attract research dollars that will test innovative and meaningful ideas in health care delivery by replicating care methods that have already demonstrated effectiveness, such as Project ImPACT, the Asheville Project, Project IMPACT: Diabetes, Patient Self-Management Program for Diabetes and, most recently, the Diabetes Ten City Challenge.
To that end, the APhA Foundation recently announced Project IMPACT: Diabetes, IMProving America's Communities Together, a national initiative that will utilize the APhA Foundation's structure and process modeling that has consistently produced positive clinical, humanistic and economic outcomes in an effort to reach 25 communities that are disproportionately affected by diabetes.
We look forward to sharing the success of this and other Foundation initiatives with you in the future.
Mindy D. Smith, BSPharm, RPh
American Pharmacists (APhA) Foundation
Listen to the DTCC Final Results Radio Feature
2009 Peer-Reviewed DTCC Final Data (as published in the May/June 2009 issue of JAPhA).
Listen to the DTCC Podcast with Dr. Toni Fera
Message from APhA Foundation CEO William Ellis
Take the American Diabetes Association Diabetes Risk Test