Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program Off to Rocky Start

Initiative rolled out April 1, still limited in availability

When Medicare announced a program to help prevent seniors and people with disabilities from developing Type 2 diabetes, the idea seemed inspired, as Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common—and costly—conditions in the United States.

But since the April 1 advent of the program, known as the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program, many experts have seen stumbling blocks and a general difficulty in accessing the program’s proposed benefits.

In all but a few locations, the new program—a yearlong series of classes about healthy eating, physical activity and behavioral change for people at high risk of developing diabetes—isn’t up and running yet. There’s no easy way (no phone number or website) to learn where it’s available.

A Medicare spokesman confirmed that only three providers have been approved to date. The program will be run by community organizations such as the YMCA rather than doctors’ offices and hospitals, a first for Medicare.

“This hasn’t been done before. It’s going to take time,” said Ann Albright, director of the Division of Diabetes Translation at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCE: Medscape

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