September 14, 2018
Inside: A new action guide from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) empowers independent community pharmacists to lead the way in preventing type 2 diabetes.
Community pharmacists can help prevent type 2 diabetes because of their accessibility and knowledge of preventative care. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a new action guide for community pharmacists detailing their role in the National Diabetes Prevention Program.
“Pharmacists are highly trusted professionals,” said Robert Montierth, Pharm.D., MBA, CDE, LCDR, U.S. Public Health Service, Division of Diabetes Translation with the CDC. “They can leverage their role to provide their patients with information about the National Diabetes Prevention Program as a proven strategy to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.”
Since its establishment in 2010, the National Diabetes Prevention Program has relied on public and private partners to expand the program nationwide. “Community pharmacists can be valuable partners in this effort,” Montierth said.
Pharmacists can help prevent type 2 diabetes in part because of their accessibility.
“Pharmacists are well positioned to engage in the National Diabetes Prevention Program because they are close to and interact with members of their community frequently,” Montierth said. “Estimates show that 93 percent of Americans are within a five-mile radius of a pharmacy, and high-risk patients see a community pharmacist 35 times a year compared with seeing a primary care physician on average four times a year.”
These frequent patient encounters mean pharmacies have more opportunities to identify those patients with prediabetes who aren’t aware of their condition or the risks involved. “Pharmacists play a key role in reaching populations that are underserved because of a lack of clinical or community resources,” Montierth said.
Better care and payment for it can go hand-in-hand. “Many pharmacists desire to have meaningful patient interactions through patient care services, and currently there are more payers reimbursing for the National Diabetes Prevention Program, including Medicare,” Montierth said.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently expanded the National Diabetes Prevention Program lifestyle change program as a covered service for eligible Medicare beneficiaries through the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP), with reimbursement amounts up to $670 per patient.
“Offering a preventative service that qualifies for reimbursement is a great opportunity,” Montierth said.
The CDC’s new action guide, “Rx for the National Diabetes Prevention Program: Action Guide for Community Pharmacists,” details the ways pharmacists can get involved in the National Diabetes Prevention Program through three levels of participation.
“This approach takes into account that pharmacy practice settings vary and allows pharmacists the flexibility to choose an appropriate level of participation based on the capacity of their specific pharmacy setting,” Montierth said.
Choose the level that best fits your pharmacy practice.
1. Promote awareness of prediabetes
2. Screen and test patients for prediabetes, and refer those at risk for type 2 diabetes to a primary care provider for follow-up or to a CDC-recognized lifestyle change program
3. Deliver the full lifestyle change program in the pharmacy setting
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