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New CSG report focuses on efforts to combat diabetes

by Jon Davis ~ January 2018 ~ Stateline Midwest »
A new report from The Council of State Governments, “Diabetes in the United States: Examining Growth Trends, State Funding Sources and Economic Impact,” spotlights state-by-state spending and states’ efforts to fight diabetes.
The report, issued last month, is sobering reading: The number of diagnosed adult cases (Types 1 and 2) skyrocketed from 5.5 million in 1980 to 25.8 million in 2015; spending on diabetes diagnosis and treatment was $101 billion in 2013, and “has grown 36 times faster than spending on heart disease, the number one cause of death in the United States.” (A 2012 study by the American Diabetes Association, cited in the CSG study, put the indirect costs of diabetes at $68.6 billion, including absenteeism and lost production, unemployment due to chronic disability, and premature mortality.)
But the report also notes the success of the National Diabetes Prevention Program. Authorized by Congress in 2010 and led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the program is administered locally by health departments or organizations like the YMCA. Participants get coaching on how to make healthy lifestyle changes to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.
As its efficacy was shown — the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases says the program can reduce risk for diabetes by up to 58 percent — some states, including Minnesota, began offering their employees coverage for participating. Minnesota and Montana allow Medicaid reimbursement for state-licensed Diabetes Prevention Program providers. California will, too, starting in July.
Moreover, the CSG report says 14 states, including Illinois and North Dakota, have created their own “Diabetes Action Plans,” requiring state officials to report on the health and financial impacts of diabetes.
Four others, including Kansas and Ohio, have passed legislation requiring that action plans be developed.
Minnesota also lowered its diabetes-related hospitalization rate, from 175.1 per 10,000 adults (for Type 1 and Type 2) in 2008 to 135.9 per 10,000 adults in 2014.
The state’s Department of Health attributes the drop to various reform efforts, including a greater use of health care homes that focus on improving team care and disease management in primary care; a statewide quality improvement system that measures diabetes care and outcomes; and a “Statewide Health Improvement Partnership,” which works to create healthier communities and reduce diabetes risk factors such as obesity and smoking.


Article written by Jon Davis, CSG Midwest staff liaison for the Midwestern Legislative Conference Health & Human Services Committee.