ACT NOW: Save lives and reduce cost with broader access to educators.

One policy step to reducing the burden of diabetes, improving health outcomes and lowering costs is improved access to diabetes education. Diabetes education can be enhanced by increasing the pool of providers and bringing the benefit in line with new recommendations on critical times for diabetes education. Ask your Congress Members to support Access to Quality Diabetes Education Act of 2015 (S. 1345 / HR 1726).

It is one policy step to reducing the burden of diabetes, improving health outcomes and lowering costs is improved access to diabetes education. Diabetes education can be enhanced by increasing the pool of providers and bringing the benefit in line with new recommendations on critical times for diabetes education

Diabetes self-management education (DSME) is reimbursable under Medicare. However, Certified Diabetes Educators are not recognized as a provider by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. Diabetes education is an underutilized benefit. There is evidence that diabetes education can save health care costs over time.

Living with successfully diabetes requires complex lifestyle changes, monitoring and in many cases medication. Education is key to making healthy changes. Encouraging referrals, more cost-effective providers and broader educational interventions at critical times can help change the lives of 30 million Americans with diabetes.

Sadly researchers at the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) 2015 annual meeting in Boston reported that diabetes education underused. The ADA researchers said in a statement that “for people to learn the skills necessary to be effective self-managers, DSME is critical in laying the foundation with ongoing support to maintain gains made during education. Despite proven benefits and general acceptance, the numbers of patients who are referred to and receive DSME are disappointingly small.”

“It’s horrifying, what we’re not doing in education.” said David Marrero, Ph.D., ADA president of healthcare and education and professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.

The new recommendation identifies four critical times when a patient may need consultation with a diabetes educator:
* At diagnosis
* On an annual basis
* When new complicating factors influence self-management, such as a new health problem
* When there is a transition in care