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CMC and Broad Array of Partners Focus on Diabetes Care through ‘Care for Us Project’

DECEMBER 04, 2015

For millions of Americans, managing and treating diabetes can be an all-consuming task. Not only has the cost of diabetes treatments more than doubled in the past 20 years, but many patients face critical barriers to care. We know that needs to change and that’s why we recently focused the MACC Task Force’s Care for Us Project on diabetes in honor of National Diabetes Awareness month.

To kick off the month, we sat down with the CMC’s 2 millionth member, Bertha Shinn. A six-year cancer survivor, Bertha has been living with type 2 diabetes for 25 years and she credits the care that Medicare Advantage provides her as a key to staying healthy. “The great thing about Medicare Advantage is that it gives beneficiaries the opportunity to select the very best providers and the flexibility to find the ones that are right for them,” Bertha said.

We also spoke with MACC Task Force member Dr. Angela Ford of the Black Women’s Health Imperative about the importance of high quality coordinated care for individuals living with diabetes and the Imperative’s program Change Your Lifestyle. Change Your Life. “If you look at the statistics, the populations that are hit the hardest and carry the greatest burden of the disease are people of color. Then, when you narrow that down they tend to be women. For black women, the risk of developing diabetes is great. It affects 1 in 4 women ages 55 years and older and is listed as the fourth leading cause of death for all ages,” Dr. Ford said.

To help people in Medicare with diabetes, we published tips to navigate the health care system. “An outstanding amount of people living with diabetes plus other health conditions often receive care and treatment from numerous doctors, take more medications, and make more visits to the emergency department than those without multiple chronic conditions,” said Charles Macfarlane, Chief Executive Officer of the American Association of Diabetes Educators, a member of the MACC Task Force. “This makes care coordination and education through a trained diabetes educator critical components to their care.”

Other resources released during National Diabetes Awareness month include a blog post on diabetes and care coordination, a Snapshot of diabetes facts, statistics and management data and an updated care coordination resource compendium with journal articles, reports, and patient tool kits for people in Medicare and their families. Still to come in December is a diabetes issue brief, entitled “Perspectives on Improving Care Coordination for Seniors with Diabetes,” which highlights the importance of discussing care coordination with your loved ones during the holiday season. Stay tuned!

While there are many programs aiming to improve the health of people with diabetes, Medicare Advantage is one program that is making a clear difference. This is due in large part to care coordination activities that are central to Medicare Advantage, such as deliberately organizing patient care activities and sharing information among all of the participants concerned with a patient’s care to achieve safer and more effective care, as well as providing support tools like nurse help hotlines, care plans and disease-state education.

As the voice for Medicare Advantage seniors and a broad array of partners, the CMC’s MACC Task Force is a driving force behind efforts to enhance care coordination for beneficiaries. You can follow the release of the latest resources for beneficiaries, their family members, providers, and the broader policy community here and join the conversation on Twitter or Facebook by using the hash tag #Care4Diabetes.