The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) is joining the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance, expanding access to the Alliance’s innovative, community-based programs that use proven approaches to help prevent and control diabetes.
The retail grocery chain, which has more than 2,400 stores across the country, will support patients enrolled in the Alliance’s Diabetes Control Program at select store pharmacies. Kroger joins UnitedHealth Group, the Y, Walgreen’s, Novo Nordisk and others as Alliance partners.
Kroger will participate in the Alliance’s Diabetes Control Program (DCP), which provides education and support from trained pharmacists to help people with diabetes better control their condition and reduce the risk of developing complications from diabetes, such as nerve, kidney and eye disease. In-store pharmacists at select Kroger locations will conduct blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure testing services for program participants and provide them with on-the-spot results, enabling them to get immediate feedback on their progress.
Kroger is now offering the DCP in Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton, Ohio, and will offer the program in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Las Vegas later this year.
“Kroger’s participation will be a tremendous asset in making sure this program reaches even more people with diabetes at the community level,” said Deneen Vojta, M.D., senior vice president, UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization and one of the chief architects of the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance. “Offering consumers the choice to visit more locations that are convenient for them will increase the chances that they stick with their doctors’ recommended treatment programs and improve their health.”
“Managing diabetes is not an easy task,” said Lincoln Lutz, vice president, Pharmacy for Kroger. “But having a convenient location, such as a Kroger store, where you can get extra support and resources, can make it easier. We’re proud to be a part of the Alliance and look forward to contributing to its success in helping to reduce the negative impact of this disease.”
UnitedHealth Group created the Alliance to help address the growing epidemic of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, which threaten to affect more than half of all Americans by 2020 at an annual cost of $500 billion if current trends continue, according to a recent UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization report.
Diabetes Control Program: Reducing Dangerous, Costly Diabetes Complications
The Diabetes Control Program provides individuals with diabetes access to trained pharmacists and nurse practitioners who provide personalized coaching and counseling in the convenient setting of a local pharmacy, and help patients improve adherence to their physicians’ treatment plans. The goal is for patients to improve blood sugar control – every percentage point drop in HbA1c levels, a commonly used blood sugar marker, reduces by 40 percent the risk of developing complications from diabetes, which include heart disease, nerve disease, blindness and limb amputations.
For those Kroger outlets where in-store testing is not available, UnitedHealth Group will work with Home Healthcare Laboratory of America (HHLA), a subsidiary of Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings, another Alliance partner, to provide participants with at-home screening tests. HHLA will mail HbA1c and lipid panel testing kits to participants every three months, providing people with a convenient method to regularly monitor blood glucose control and cholesterol levels and share the results with the DCP pharmacy.
Services offered by the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance may be contracted by any health insurer or plan sponsor. The Alliance marks the first time in the United States that a health plan is paying for evidence-based diabetes prevention and engaging pharmacists to support critical diabetes management programs. Currently, DPCA services are available at no out-of-pocket cost to participants enrolled in employer-provided health insurance plans through UnitedHealthcare and Medica in select markets.
The Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance is one of many UnitedHealth Group programs and services that fight diabetes, obesity and related health problems in creative, practical ways to help improve health care quality, expand support and coverage, and help bend the cost curve.
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Kroger, the nation’s largest traditional grocery retailer, employs more than 338,000 associates who serve customers in 2,458 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith’s. The Company also operates 786 convenience stores, 361 fine jewelry stores, 1,014 supermarket fuel centers and 40 food processing plants in the U.S. Kroger, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, focuses its charitable efforts on supporting hunger relief, health and wellness initiatives, and local organizations in the communities it serves. For more information about Kroger, please visit www.kroger.com.
About UnitedHealth Group
UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is a diversified health and well-being company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making health care work better. With headquarters in Minnetonka, Minn., UnitedHealth Group offers a broad spectrum of products and services through two distinct platforms: UnitedHealthcare, which provides health care coverage and benefits services; and Optum, which provides information and technology-enabled health services. Through its businesses, UnitedHealth Group serves more than 75 million people worldwide. Visit www.unitedhealthgroup.com for more information.