Diabetes miseducation campaign launches

Special to Civitas Media

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A coalition of groups representing health coaches, nutrition specialists and wellness experts announced the launch of a new, national campaign to fight federal legislation recently introduced by State Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) which would make it harder for people with type 2 diabetes to access Medicare services critical to the management of their disease.

The #DiabetesMiseducation public awareness campaign aims to set the record straight by informing the public and policymakers about the pitfalls regarding efforts to limit access to quality care for people with diabetes.

“We call this bill the ‘Diabetes Miseducation’ Act,” said Darrell Rogers of the International Association for Health Coaches, a member of the #DiabetesMiseducation Coalition. “It slashes the number of qualified diabetes educators under Medicare, and it discourages thousands of doctors, nurses, and other health professionals from providing diabetes education to their patients.”

The Access to Quality Diabetes Education Act of 2015 was recently introduced by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and would add burdensome regulatory requirements for health professionals providing diabetes education under Medicare. The proposed restrictions outlined in the legislation could effectively cut the number of qualified diabetes educators for Medicare beneficiaries in half.

“Of the roughly 30,000 qualified diabetes educators in the United States, only 54 percent meet the burdensome regulatory requirements outlined in the Diabetes Miseducation Act,” said Allison Murphy, Legislative Director at Alliance for Natural Health USA. “That’s about one diabetes educator for every 1,500 Americans with diabetes. If enacted, this legislation could have devastating effects for type 2 diabetes patients on Medicare trying to access care to manage their disease.”

The legislation would mandate that all diabetes educators under Medicare have either a CDE or BC-ADM credential to their names. These credentials — controlled by the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) and the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE) — are costly and time-intensive to obtain. Currently, CDE and BC-ADM certification is a voluntary career path that only half of all diabetes educators ever choose to pursue.

In July, a new report released by the White House, and spearheaded by the Department of the Treasury Office of Economic Policy, the Council of Economic Advisors and the Department of Labor, found that increased certification requirements — like the one proposed in the “Diabetes Miseducation” Act — “cost millions of jobs nationwide and raise consumer expenses by over one hundred billion dollars.

“Simply put, the ‘Diabetes Miseducation’ Act forces thousands of existing, qualified diabetes educators to pay for an expensive piece of paper they don’t need and won’t improve care for their patients. In fact, it could have the exact opposite effect by limiting access to the critical care team needed to successfully manage their diabetes,” said Rogers.

Licensure of diabetes educators is not only impractical, but it also erodes diversity in health care teams, which is what makes diabetes education so effective.

“It takes a diverse team of professionals with differing skills and tools to address the diabetes epidemic,” Rogers concluded. “This team includes credentialed diabetes educators — but it also includes physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dietitians, exercise specialists, social workers and Health Coaches. If we forfeit local health facility control and innovative diabetes education practices to a private association that profits from the sale of a credential, the disease wins.”

Diabetes education, also called diabetes self-management training (DSMT), provides knowledge and skills training to people with diabetes, helping them manage medications, address nutritional issues, and make lifestyle changes critical to their continued health.

Learn more at www.DiabetesMiseducation.org.

Special to Civitas Media

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