Study: Ongoing Diabetes Education Continues to Deliver Benefits
Source: American Association of Diabetes Educators Press Release

Preliminary data from a study of private insurance and Medicare claims commissioned by the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) reveal that ongoing diabetes education continues to deliver results in terms of better health and reduced private insurance and Medicare claims.

The new study data show that people who receive continuing diabetes education after the initial one-year period demonstrated fewer inpatient hospital admissions, and higher compliance with diabetes medications.

"The study confirms the argument that diabetes education is not a one-shot deal," said Karen Fitzner, PhD, AADE Chief Science and Practice Officer. "There are clear benefits to ongoing, long-term diabetes education that not only bend the cost curve, but improve the health of patients with diabetes."

The study was conducted by Solucia Consulting, an actuarial consulting firm and leader in managed care, disease management and predictive modeling applications.

The authors studied three years of claims data (2005-2007) from commercial insurance and Medicare plans that reflect care of 634,645 individuals with diabetes. The researchers compared claims from those who received diabetes education with those who did not. The preliminary results of this latest study, which adds a further year of experience, show that the benefits of diabetes education continue to be observed in the study population.

One year ago, AADE first presented the results of the study, which was among the first to state with statistical certainty that diabetes education reduces health care costs and improves public health.

The update to the study demonstrates that ongoing diabetes education beyond the first year continues to yield benefits, and it bolsters the argument for additional reimbursement by Medicare and private insurers for diabetes education. Currently, Medicare pays for one hour of individual education and 9 hours of group education in the first year; and, 2 hours of group education in prior years.

In practical terms, professionally qualified diabetes educators teach individuals with diabetes and pre-diabetes the essential tools needed to control their diabetes: accurately monitoring blood glucose levels, adopting healthy eating habits, engaging in appropriate exercise, and coping with specific diabetes-related emotional and physical challenges. Professionally qualified diabetes educators are state licensed or registered health care professionals, most commonly nurses or advanced practitioners, dietitians, pharmacists, or podiatrists.

The recently released study also includes an additional year of data that reinforces the initial claim that diabetes education in general reduces claims and increases compliance with medications.

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Originally posted by on August 18, 2010.