LHDs and the YMCA: Partnering to Prevent Diabetes

19175322 elderly woman exercisingBy Iris Tiongco, Program Associate, NACCHO

YMCA of the USA (Y-USA), one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility, received the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation Health Care Innovation Award. As an award recipient, Y-USA will undertake a three-year project to deliver its Diabetes Prevention Program at a cost savings to the Medicare program. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is a 12-month lifestyle behavior intervention with 16 weekly sessions followed by monthly maintenance sessions. NACCHO supports the program by facilitating activities and communication between local health departments (LHDs) and Y-USA.

The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program targets individuals with prediabetes, a condition marked by higher than normal blood glucose or hemoglobin A1c levels but where levels are not high enough to be considered diabetes. Participants in the program must be age 60 or older, overweight, diagnosed with prediabetes, and be a Medicare parts A or B beneficiary.

The Role of LHDs
LHDs can be active stakeholders in preventing the onset of prediabetes by doing the following:

  • Raising awareness of prediabetes and the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program;
  • Motivating Medicare beneficiaries to get tested for prediabetes and then enroll and complete the program if they qualify;
  • Promoting the effectiveness of the program to healthcare providers and other community stakeholders; and
  • Encouraging healthcare providers to refer Medicare beneficiaries to the program.

Projected Impact
Research by the National Institutes of Health has shown that programs like the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program can reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes among seniors age 60 and older by as much as 71 percent.* In addition, this project aims to decrease Medicare costs by delivering the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program to 10,000 Medicare enrollees. The savings are estimated to total $4.2 million over three years and $53 million over six years.*

For more information about the program and to see a list of LHDs participating, read NACCHO’s fact sheet NACCHO Supports the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program.

* The YMCA. (2012, November). CMMI Project Partners 1st In-Person Meeting: Prepare for Launch! Powerpoint presentation at the 1st In-Person Meeting for CMMI Project Partners, Chicago, IL.

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