Vital Signs Blog

Blog: The well-sung Diabetes Prevention Program

The CMS on Tuesday agreed to pay for the Diabetes Prevention Program. Writing for the Upshot blog at the New York Times website today, Dr. Aaron Carroll makes this curious statement: “Articles appear every day on “major breakthroughs,” which later never pan out, while this one, full of successes, rarely made the news.”

The headline proclaimed it “an unsung success.”

Unused, maybe. Unsung? Hardly.

Here's a sample of Modern Healthcare's stories on the DPP. We routinely covered its success or covered it in the larger context of the fight against obesity and for diabetes prevention. In chronological order:

  • Taking on diabetes: Proven prevention methods get payers' attention
  • Project to test effectiveness of YMCA diabetes program
  • Exercising their influence: As policymakers struggle in battle against obesity, providers and insurers are offering their own solutions
  • AMA initiative to target diabetes, heart disease
  • Providers and payers pushed to pay for prevention in diabetes fight

    Of course, he could have looked up clips from his own news organization:

  • Diabetes prevention that works

    The Diabetes Prevention Program, which in a previous life I used in testimony in favor of comparative effectiveness research at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, is one of the most successful and highly touted public health intervention in recent U.S. history (ranks right up there with condoms and needle exchanges to prevent AIDS transmission, imho).

    What's strange is that it took CMS so long to pay for this well-sung success.

    Postscript: While we're on the subject, let's give a shout out to Dr. William H. Herman of the University of Michigan Health System, who secured the funding from the National Institutes of Health to develop and test the diabetes prevention program; worked with the YMCA to scale it to be more cost effective (the move from individual to group counseling); and did the studies that scientifically proved it was a cost-effective intervention.

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