Several major organizations are working together to tackle one of North Texas’ most serious health concerns: diabetes.
UnitedHealthcare, YMCAs and local pharmacy partners are launching “NOT ME” ™ from the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance (DPCA), an employer- and community-based initiative aimed at tipping the scales against type 2 diabetes, prediabetes and obesity.
“NOT ME” is anchored by two evidence-based programs proven to help prevent and control type 2 diabetes: the Diabetes Prevention Program and the Diabetes Control Program.
The North Texas area is one of six locations in the country to participate in the “NOT ME” program, which 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. DPCA services are currently available at no out-of-pocket cost to participants enrolled in employer-provided health insurance plans through UnitedHealthcare and Medica in select markets.
The DPCA, launched in 2010 by founding partners UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), YMCA of the USA, and Walgreens (NYSE, NASDAQ: WAG), 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.
Diabetes cost the country an estimated $194 billion in 2010. If current trends continue, more than half of all Americans will have diabetes or prediabetes by 2020, according to an analysis from the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization, and diabetes will account for an estimated 10 percent of total health care spending, or almost $500 billion.
In Texas, more than 11 percent of the adult population, representing about 2.7 million people, has diabetes, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Diabetes costs the state an estimated $12.5 billion annually, according to American Diabetes Association estimates. In the Dallas/Fort Worth area, the Institute for Alternative Futures estimated in 2010 that more than 870,000 people, or just over 13 percent of the population, have diabetes (including both diagnosed and undiagnosed cases).
“Diabetes is taking a devastating toll on the children, families and communities of North Texas, but we have a program that is proven to help prevent the disease,” said Scott Flannery, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual in North Texas. “The good news is that type 2 diabetes is largely preventable. It is the small lifestyle decisions we make every day that make the biggest impact. The introduction of DPCA programs provides an opportunity for Dallas/Fort Worth residents to take control of their own health and tackle this disease.”
There is substantial evidence that supports early and aggressive intervention to help people avoid the health and financial toll of diabetes. The programs at the Y and local pharmacy partners have been tested in controlled clinical trials or pilot projects with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Y, Indiana University, clinical centers, employers and retail pharmacies.
Diabetes Prevention Program: Preventing Diabetes Through Lifestyle Changes
The Diabetes Prevention Program is offered in North Texas in partnership with the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth and YMCA of Arlington, and is part of the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program. It is designed to bring evidence-based lifestyle interventions to communities by working with community-based organizations and third-party payers who adhere to a CDC-recognized, evidence-based curriculum. UnitedHealth Group and the Y are partners in the National Diabetes Prevention Program.
The program, offered by the Y, uses a group-based lifestyle intervention designed especially for people with prediabetes (people who are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes). In an interactive group setting, a trained lifestyle coach helps participants change their lifestyle by educating them about healthy eating, physical activity and other behavior modifications over a 16-session program. After the initial 16 core sessions, participants meet monthly for up to one year for added support to help them maintain their progress. Research from the Diabetes Prevention Program clinical trial, led by the NIH with support from the CDC, has shown that with lifestyle changes and modest weight reduction, a person with prediabetes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by 58 percent.
“Type 2 diabetes is an irreversible diagnosis, but a person can prevent or delay the disease before it develops,” said Gordon Echtenkamp, president and CEO, YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas. “The Y has the reach and the roots in North Texas, and the experience to tackle this problem through community-based intervention, reaching people through their friends and family at the Y. There are nearly 2,700 Y branches across the USA, and 57 percent of our nation’s households are located within three miles of a YMCA branch. The Y is in a unique position to bring this community-based solution to thousands of people in the North Texas area and to millions of people across the country.”
Financial assistance is available through the YMCA. To learn more about the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, contact, Susannah Peterson in Dallas (firstname.lastname@example.org), Mashariki Cannon in Fort Worth (email@example.com) or James Hollis in Arlington (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Diabetes Control Program: Reducing Dangerous, Costly Diabetes Complications
The Diabetes Control Program is offered in Dallas/Fort Worth in partnership with local pharmacy partners. It provides people with diabetes access to trained pharmacists who provide personalized coaching and counseling and help patients improve adherence to their treatment plans. The goal is for patients to improve blood glucose control – every percentage point drop in HbA1c levels, a commonly used blood glucose marker, reduces by 40 percent the risk of developing complications from diabetes such as nerve disease, blindness, limb amputations and heart disease.
YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth & YMCA of Arlington
The mission of the YMCA is to put Christian values into practice through programs that build healthy spirit mind and body for all. Volunteer founded and volunteer led, collectively YMCAs are the largest not-for-profit community service organization in the United States. Last year, the YMCA’s in North Texas served over 290,000 members and participants through a broad range of programs, including childcare, health and wellness, teen leadership and volunteerism. The three YMCAs comprise 39 locations serving Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Kaufman, Palo Pinto, Rockwall Tarrant and Hood Counties. Financial assistance is available for YMCA programs and membership. Visit www.joinymcanow.com for more information.
About the National Diabetes Prevention Program
The National Diabetes Prevention Program is managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The program is establishing a network of evidence-based lifestyle intervention programs for those at high risk of type 2 diabetes. CDC’s role with the National Diabetes Prevention Program includes helping train the work force that can implement the program cost-effectively and setting standards that will help ensure program quality and consistency. Visit www.cdc.gov/diabetes/projects/prevention_program.htm for more information.
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.