Today’s guest blog comes to us from Kurt Anderson, the Director of Federal and State Advocacy at the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE). The AADE empowers healthcare professionals with the knowledge and skills to deliver exceptional diabetes education, management and support.
Successfully managing diabetes can be complex. If it wasn’t, diabetes educators wouldn’t exist. Therefore, they are crucial to the diabetes team. Teaching people how to successfully manage diabetes through diabetes self-management training (DSMT) is one of the most important and cost-effective tools to treat diabetes and avoid diabetes-related complications.
It makes sense then, that we’d want to help diabetes educators better serve people with diabetes. One of the ways to do so is to reimburse them for their services.
While Medicare does recognize DSMT as a benefit, it doesn’t recognize diabetes educators, the primary providers of DSMT services, as providers. Therefore, they don’t have as much ability to establish the programs they need to reach individuals and communities in need.
The Access to Quality Diabetes Education Act of 2015 (S. 1345 and H.R. 1726) aims to get Congress to recognize diabetes educators as providers of DSMT for Medicare beneficiaries. This makes sure diabetes educators are reimbursed and have the resources they need to more successfully help people with diabetes manage their health. The bill was introduced early in 2015 and already has strong bipartisan support.
The legislation has also garnered the support of many other diabetes organizations.
AADE members, made up of diabetes educators from many different healthcare backgrounds, also strongly support this bill. Last month, we asked our members to go to their social media accounts and show support for the Access to Quality Diabetes Education Act of 2015 using the hashtag #DiabetesEd4All. They came through and showed their support with shares and likes on Facebook, as well as favorites, tweets and retweets on Twitter. As a result, people wrote over 1,500 letters to Congress, and five new congressional members cosponsored the bill.
Our members support this bill because they know DSMT is important. Studies show diabetes education reduces medical costs, improves clinical outcomes, and improves patient satisfaction. A recent study found this bill could save the Medicare program about $2 billion over 10 years.