SHAHEEN INTRODUCES ACCESS TO QUALITY DIABETES EDUCATION ACT

LEGISLATION WOULD IMPROVE QUALITY OF LIFE AND REDUCE HEALTH COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH TREATING THIS CHRONIC DISEASE

May 14, 2015

(Washington, D.C.) — U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today introduced the Access to Quality Diabetes Education Act legislation that would expand access to care for seniors with diabetes.

“Chronic diseases, like diabetes, are the number one driver of healthcare costs in America,” said Senator Shaheen. “One in every ten health care dollars and one in every three Medicare dollars in our country is spent on patients with diabetes. Education and care are critical for both improving the quality of life of diabetes patients and bringing health care costs under control.”

With over 26 million American afflicted with diabetes, the Access to Quality Diabetes Education Act provides critical tools to help seniors with diabetes get the care they need. The bill would allow a Certified Diabetes Educator to be reimbursed by Medicare for providing seniors Diabetes Self-Management Training (DSMT), a Medicare benefit authorized in 1997 to provide support and education to beneficiaries to better manage their disease.  Certified Diabetes Educators are state-licensed or registered practitioners who specialize in teaching people with diabetes how to stay healthy and are integral members of a diabetes patient’s care team. The bill also works to increase education and outreach to primary care physicians about the importance of DSMT for their patients with diabetes.

Diabetes is one of the most costly diseases to the health system, costing the American health care system billions of dollars annually.  According to the Center for Disease Control, the estimated annual total cost of diabetes is $245 billion.

The bill text is available here. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Al Franken (D-MN) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) are cosponsors of the legislation.