[Washington, D.C., March 23, 2016] – The YMCA of the USA, a leading community-based nonprofit committed to improving America’s health, together with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced today that a successful demonstration project of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program for the prevention of type 2 diabetes has shown to produce cost savings for Medicare participants. This result marks a critical step for HHS to eventually expand the Diabetes Prevention Program under Medicare for those with pre-diabetes.
This announcement is a result of the findings from a three-year project, spearheaded by Y-USA, which was awarded funding from The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) to deliver the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program (YMCA’s DPP) to nearly 8,000 participants.
This is the first time a preventive service pilot funded by the government’s CMMI office has been proven to reduce cost and lower incidence of type 2 diabetes. When compared with similar beneficiaries not in the program, Medicare estimated savings of $2,650 for each enrollee in the Diabetes Prevention Program over a 15-month period, more than enough to cover the cost of the program.
Y-USA’s CMMI-funded project provided a platform for several of the nation’s leading public health organizations to join forces to issue a shared message with a common goal — know your risk to prevent new cases of type 2 diabetes. These organizations included: the American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Medical Association, Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance, National Association of County and City Health Officials, National Council of LaRaza, National Council on Aging, and YMCA of the U.S.A.
Y-USA worked with the American Diabetes Association to raise awareness of prediabetes and drive policy change to enable prevention programs to be built into the health care system, including passage of the legislation to establish the National DPP at CDC, funding to support the National DPP which helps to build the infrastructure to deliver community-based diabetes prevention programs, and support of legislation to provide Medicare coverage for the program.
Furthermore, the American Medical Association has been a partner in ensuring physicians understand the impact of the program, identify and screen their patients for prediabetes, and have the information they need to refer patients to the program. To that end, within five communities testing health care provider referral pathways, the program saw on average an enrollment yield of 17% and as high as 40% in one community according to the AMA.
Since 2005, the Y has worked to become a leading provider of chronic disease prevention programs and has positioned itself as a catalyst in community integrated health, spearheading research and scaling proven efforts to show that prevention and behavior change programs like the YMCA’s DPP are effective in combatting, reducing and ultimately avoiding health risks associated with type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions.
The YMCA’s DPP is a shining example of the benefits that are possible when community-based organizations partner with health care providers to deliver preventive services outside of the clinic and hospital setting – particularly services that community members may not otherwise be able to afford or access in traditional health care settings:
- The YMCA’s DPP helps adults at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles by eating healthier, increasing physical activity and losing a modest amount of weight in order to reduce their chances of developing the disease.
- The program is a 12-month lifestyle behavior intervention with 25 sessions delivered over the course of one year.
The YMCA’s close partnerships with public health, physicians, health care systems, employees, insurers, patient advocates, policymakers and others have enabled the Y to effectively address gaps in care and reach more people. Through this work, health resources have become more accessible, health care providers leverage support of natural partners in the neighborhoods where their patients live, health outcomes improve, costs go down and the entire community can take accountability for population health.
As of February 2016 the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program had served over 42,000 participants at more than 1,400 sites in 45 states across the country resulting in average weight loss of 4.6% at the end of weekly sessions and 5.5% at the end of year.