AMA News Room
April 8, 2014
AMA Announces Partnership with YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, IU Health Physicians to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
For immediate release:
April 8, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The American Medical Association (AMA) today announced a new partnership with the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis and the IU Health Physicians Accountable Care Organization aimed at improving the health of local individuals who have prediabetes and preventing type 2 diabetes. As part of the collaboration, the AMA will engage Indianapolis-based physicians to screen patients for prediabetes and refer those eligible to participate in YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) offered by its Indianapolis branches.
"One out of every three Americans has prediabetes and only about 11 percent are even aware that they are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which is why the AMA is committed to raising awareness and connecting physician practices to the YMCA's DPP to help those at greatest risk prevent or delay diabetes," said Ardis Dee Hoven, M.D., president of the American Medical Association. "Type 2 diabetes is also one of the key drivers of soaring healthcare costs, and the American Medical Association is partnering with the YMCA in Indianapolis and elsewhere to improve health outcomes of local residents through better prevention, thereby contributing to reduced healthcare costs for this disease."
Both organizations hope the collaboration will have a significant impact for Indianapolis residents, where an estimated 1.6 million people have prediabetes, according to data from the American Diabetes Association. Individuals with prediabetes have higher than normal blood glucose levels but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. However, those with prediabetes are much more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, unless they take steps to prevent or delay its onset by making important lifestyle changes such as increased physical activity and moderate weight loss.
The YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program is modeled after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National DPP that provides participants with 16 weeks of core education on nutrition and exercise from a trained lifestyle coach as well as peer and goal-setting support. Following the initial sessions, participants meet monthly for up to a year to monitor their progress. The program is based on research funded by the National Institutes of Health which has shown, among adults with prediabetes, a 58 percent reduction in the number of new cases of diabetes, and a 71 percent reduction in new cases among those over age 60.
"We have offered the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program for six years and we've seen great results and will now be able to reach even more people in need with the addition of the AMA's physician referral initiative," said Eric Ellsworth, president and CEO for the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis. "Participating in this project will not only help us further prevent diabetes in a population that is at great risk, but it will help shape the future of how prevention programs are delivered and paid for across the nation."
An added benefit for Indianapolis residents is that Medicare beneficiaries can participate in the YMCA's DPP free of charge.
Physician referral is not a requirement to participate in the YMCA's DPP (any overweight adult with prediabetes can participate). However, the AMA is working with physicians, academia, government agencies, businesses, health advocacy groups, and community-based organizations on strategies to track and improve health outcomes in order to advance the quality and safety of care and contribute to the best use of resources.
To establish a streamlined referral process to the YMCA's DPP, IU Health Physicians, which represents 200 physicians, is working with the AMA to:
- Increase education and awareness of prediabetes by promoting physician screening of those at risk; and
- Increase physician referrals of people with prediabetes to the evidence-based YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Programs.
"We recognize the importance of helping our patients improve their lifestyles and equipping them with the tools they need to avoid this deadly disease. The YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program does just that," said John Clark, M.D., senior medical director, IU Health Physicians Accountable Care Organization (ACO). "We must approach healthcare differently today than in years past and work with our patients to keep them healthy and out of the hospital. By partnering with the AMA and referring patients to YMCA's DPP effective program to build healthy lifestyles in a safe, welcoming environment, IU physicians can further support our patients' improved health and lower their risk of developing diabetes in the future."
Indianapolis is one of four locations where the AMA is collaborating with the YMCA to increase the number of physicians screening for prediabetes and referring at-risk patients to the YMCA's DPP. Wilmington, DE was the first location announced in December 2013, where four physician practices in the state are working with the AMA and the YMCA. The additional locations will be announced in the coming weeks.
"The AMA is focusing on efforts to improve the nation's health through our Improving Health Outcomes initiative to prevent type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease and improve outcomes for those who suffer from these conditions," Hoven said. "Our goal is to identify the most effective ways to prevent disease and improve outcomes and to spread the findings nationally in ways that reduce the burdens of illness and the associated cost to our nation."
As these programs continue to grow across the country, even more patients could be covered for their participation under a new proposed Medicare bill, which seeks to amend the Social Security Act to provide coverage for the CDC's National DPP to eligible beneficiaries. If adopted, a recent study estimates that the bill could reduce federal spending by $1.3 billion over a decade while reducing the incidence of diabetes among seniors by more than one-third.
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