CMS Must Ensure Seniors Have Access to Diabetes Prevention Resources
The scourge of type 2 diabetes across the United States costs American taxpayers billions of dollars every single year. Diabetes and diabetes-related treatment is one of the biggest drivers of rising health care costs for every payer — with Medicare spending more on treating those with the disease every year. This is particularly true in rural America, as the prevalence of diabetes and coronary heart disease is approximately 17 and 39 percent higher in rural areas than urban areas.
Policymakers from both sides of the aisle recognize this reality, and have embraced the challenge of confronting a preventable, but devastating, epidemic. Last month, for the first time in the agency’s history, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services laid out proposed rules to reimburse providers to proactively prevent chronic disease by paying for the evidence-based Diabetes Prevention Program for eligible beneficiaries. Last year, the CMS Actuary certified that this program both improved quality of care and reduced costs for Medicare.
But unfortunately, the proposed rule missed a huge opportunity to extend access to this benefit to the area most in need: rural America.
In the July 13 rule, CMS proposed only making in-person DPP providers eligible for reimbursement, despite enormous evidence that virtual providers can achieve equal, or even better, results with senior populations. In addition, CMS’ sister agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been recognizing digital programs for more than two years while also collecting data demonstrating these programs’ eff Continue reading