CMS Diabetes Prevention Program Reduces Medicare Spending, Improves Care

Program leads to estimated Medicare savings of $2650 for each enrollee over a 15-month period.

The independent Office of the Actuary in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) certified that the Diabetes Prevention Program reduces net Medicare spending and improves patient care.

In 2011, the Diabetes Prevention Program — supported by the Affordable Care Act – enrolled Medicare beneficiaries at high risk of diabetes. The goal was to decrease the risk of developing serious diabetes-related illnesses.

Beneficiaries attend weekly meetings with a lifestyle coach who help form strategies for long-term dietary changes, increased physical activity, and behavioral changes that conFditrol weight and decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.

After the initial weekly training sessions, beneficiaries could attend monthly follow-up meetings to help maintain healthy behaviors. The program targeted at least 5% weight loss for each participant.

The results of the study reported that more than 80% of participants attended at least 4 weekly sessions. The average weight loss was 4.73% of body weight for individuals who attended at least 4 weekly sessions, while those who attended at least 9 weekly sessions lost 5.17% of body weight.

Over a 15-month period, Medicare estimated that participants in the program each saved $2,650.

“This program has been shown to reduce health care costs and help prevent diabetes, and is one that Medicare, employers and private insurers can use to help 86 million Americans live healthier,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “The Affordable Care Act gave Medicare the tools to support this groundbreaking effort and to expand this program more broadly. Today’s announcement is a milestone for prevention and America’s health.”

The program’s results can help initiate the creation of diabetes prevention programs for employers and insurers looking to implement them into their populations. CMS also supports the expansion of the Diabetes Prevention Program for beneficiaries with pre-diabetes.

“The Diabetes Prevention Program can prevent disease and help people live healthier lives,” said CMS Deputy Administrator and Chief Medical Officer, Patrick Conway. “CMS’ partnership with CDC, NIH, and private sector partners to engage people in improving their own health was critical to the success of the Diabetes Prevention Program. We are now working to determine the best strategies for incorporating the Diabetes Prevention Program into Medicare.”