Healthcare Business News

Project to test effectiveness of YMCA diabetes program

By Jaimy Lee
Posted: February 23, 2013 - 12:01 am ET

The YMCA of the USA will provide its diabetes-prevention program to 10,000 Medicare beneficiaries in 17 communities as part of a demonstration project aimed at lowering the incidence of Type 2 diabetes, reducing medical costs and testing the effectiveness of the Y's program.

The project is expected to save Medicare $4.2 million within three years and a total of $53 million over six years, according to a news release announcing the program, which is funded by a Health Care Innovation Award from the CMS' Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.

“Older Americans face the highest risk for Type 2 diabetes, and the Y's initiative for Medicare beneficiaries is a key step to making sure they have access to effective prevention programs,” said Ann Albright, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Diabetes Translation, in the news release.

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The YMCA said research has shown that efforts like the Y’s diabetes-prevention program can reduce the incidence of diabetes in people older than 65 by 71%.

Participants in the program, which will be offered in metropolitan areas in eight states, will meet with lifestyle coaches and learn about healthy eating and physical activity over the course of a year. The goal is reduce a participant’s body weight by 7% and increase physical activity to 150 minutes a week.

In an interview last year with Modern Healthcare, Dr. Matt Longjohn, the YMCA's senior director of chronic-disease programs, said the diabetes program had nearly 10,000 enrollees at 75 participating YMCAs. Multiple payers and employer groups participate in the program, according to a spokesman for the YMCA.

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