Oh, hi there employer. Sometimes I feel like you don’t think I exist. Yet, according to a recent research report from Gallup and Sharecare: The Cost of Diabetes in the U.S.: Economic and Well-Being Impact, prevalence of diabetes in the US population has grown a full percentage point in the last 8 years.
- Employers are faced with more than $20 billion in annual losses in productivity, stemming from 57 million additional unplanned workdays for employees with diabetes
- Diabetes is a multibillion-dollar drag on the US economy, driving $245.5 billion in healthcare costs
- Full-time employees with diabetes miss an average of 5.5 more workdays per year
Our Relationship Goals
Whoa. Those are big numbers. Please don’t be scared. To know me may not be to love me but we can minimize my impact if we work together.
Take the Mystery Out
- One of these strategies will get us on the right track for prevention:
- Provide access to confidential preventive screenings such as a company-wide annual health assessment with biometric screening event.
- Build programs that encourage annual exams with primary care providers that will identify gaps in care and other emerging relationships.
Explore New Things
- Consider using a mix of incentives employees can manage themselves in order to encourage diabetes prevention behavior
- Offer a health insurance benefit design that reduces co-payment for diabetes medication and supplies
Address Misunderstandings and Lack of Confidence
- Most hospitals or pharmaceutical companies have Certified Diabetes Educators (CDE) available, often for free or covered by insurance
- Identify language or health literacy barriers that may exist in your employee population
- Use culturally appropriate references and suggestions
- Find ways to show employees the short-term and long-term complications. Diabetes is a legacy disease, and what employees do now will manifest in 5-10 years.
- Respectfully provide opportunities to help individuals prevent and control diabetes. This includes meeting the individual where they are in their personal process of change, using their individual strengths, wants and needs to develop lifestyle changes to lead vibrant lives – with and/or without diabetes.
Remove Financial Barriers
- Share lists of free resources like apps that help with blood sugar tracking, meal planning and fitness tracking. Fit2Me is a cool website that provides free non-branded diabetes coaching, meal planning and activity recommendations.
- Where generic diabetes medication such as metformin can be used, encourage them as affordable alternatives to branded medications. Some programs like Blink Health are giving away a year’s worth of medication.
- Get access to manufacturer’s coupons: if it’s branded it has a coupon.
- Provide resources that provide fresh and healthy foods at a reasonable price - some employers are bringing farmer’s markets onsite!
Onsite clinic programs like the diabetes education program offered by Healthstat can be every employer’s best friend when it comes to creating winning strategies to tame the financial and health impact of diabetes in your population. Contact Healthstat today to discuss how you can achieve success with managing diabetes. For every 1,000 adults on your health plan, you stand to save $500,000 or more.
You and I, we can create great things together,
Diabetes management strategies were provided by Melissa Steven, ARNP and Monica McCorkle, MS, RDN, CDE, CHWC. Melissa provided a continuing education session at Healthstat’s recent Clinician HSU series. Clinician HSU is a learning event where Healthstat clinicians from around the United States come together to learn and play.