The Society Takes the Lead to Advocate for Diabetes Prevention and Treatment

November is World Diabetes Month — a critical opportunity to highlight the more than 380 million individuals who suffer from diabetes globally. In the U.S., the incidence of the disease continues to rise and is the seventh leading cause of death. While the Endocrine Society will be participating in a number of activities this month to promote the global awareness campaign, it is also an important time to underscore the work that we do throughout the year on behalf of people with diabetes and our Society’s members who care for them.

We have made significant strides in advocating for prevention and treatment coverage for diabetes and its comorbidities. The Society has advocated for coverage of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices for several years and has met with key policy makers at the White House, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Department of Health and Human Services to discuss ways to expand coverage for this technology. The Society has also worked with other diabetes stakeholders to advocate for passage of the Medicare CGM Access Act of 2015, which would provide coverage for Medicare patients.

In addition, we have advocated for coverage of programs to prevent the progression of prediabetes. In the U.S., it is projected that one in three adults have prediabetes, and nine out of ten do not know that they have this risk factor. The Endocrine Society has been a leading advocate for the funding of the National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP), a program that utilizes lifestyle interventions to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes among individuals with prediabetes. The NDPP has demonstrated that moderate weight loss can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes by 58% and by 71% in the Medicare population. The Society has supported increased funding for the program on Capitol Hill and with U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. At last year’s Clinician Hill Day, Society members urged Congress to appropriate $20 million for the NDPP and to expand coverage of the program to the Medicare population by supporting the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Act.

Following a summit held last year to discuss the diabetes landscape and what policy makers can do to make a difference, we held a roundtable on hypoglycemia. The roundtable featured key officials from professional societies, quality improvement organizations, and the federal government, including The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Veteran’s Health Administration, as well as patient advocates. At the meeting, participants shared perspectives on hypoglycemia as they relate to the patient experience, research and surveillance, issues in the clinical setting, and quality improvement. We have formed a steering committee comprised of the participating organizations to continue to work on areas of collaboration and look forward to informing you of results from these discussions.

To build momentum on advancing these initiatives, the Society and the Congressional Diabetes Caucus co-chairs hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill on November 4, highlighting legislative priorities in diabetes. The briefing featured Edward Damiano, PhD, who will discuss his work with the artifi cial pancreas and the need to ensure appropriate pathways for research, funding, and coverage of advanced diabetes devices. Linda Siminerio, RN, PhD, chair of the National Diabetes Education Program, a joint initiative of the National Institutes of Health and the CDC and Prevention, spoke about the incidence of diabetes and the need for diabetes self-management education. Nicole Johnson, a former Miss America and diabetes advocate, discussed the need for coverage of the NDPP and to provide a patient prospective. Society leaders attended the briefing and met with Congressional offices to advocate in support for the Medicare CGM Access Act of 2014 and the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Act.

As we move forward in addressing the growing epidemic of diabetes worldwide, it is important that your voice is heard. To learn more about our efforts and ways that you can get involved, visit endocrine.org/advocacy.

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