Arlington, Virginia - The American Diabetes Association® today applauds House Diabetes Caucus co-chairs Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY) and Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO) for their commitment to improving the lives of millions of Americans with diabetes by introducing the Expanding Access to the Diabetes Self-Management Training (DSMT) Act. The legislation, recently introduced by Rep. Reed and co-sponsored by Rep. DeGette, would increase the hours of DSMT covered by Medicare, allow eligible beneficiaries to access DSMT and Medical Nutrition Therapy services on the same day, remove beneficiary cost-sharing for more affordable access to programs, and create a two-year pilot to test the impact of virtual training options.

The ADA’s recent “Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2017” report confirmed that diabetes is the most costly disease in the country, with the cost of diagnosed diabetes reaching $327 billion and nearly half of all American adults living with diabetes or prediabetes. DSMT offers an opportunity to decrease these costs by reducing hospital admissions and readmissions as well as reducing lifetime health care costs related to diabetes complications and comorbidities. Studies also show that utilizing DSMT methods can help patients significantly lower their blood glucose levels and provide positive results for people living with diabetes, including improved hemoglobin A1C levels by as much as 1 percent in people with type 2 diabetes, reduced onset and advancement of complications, healthier lifestyle behaviors and increased access to and time spent with diabetes educators.

DSMT has been covered under Medicare for over 15 years. However, data show that very few people with diabetes are participating in DSMT programs. Only five percent of Medicare beneficiaries with newly diagnosed diabetes use DSMT services¹.

“With 12 million seniors in the United States—which equates to one of every four Americans over the age of 65—living with diabetes, the health care system will not be able to afford the growing costs of care unless complications from diabetes are reduced by programs like DSMT that have proven results,” said ADA’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs & Advocacy LaShawn McIver, MD, MPH. “Removing barriers Medicare beneficiaries face in accessing DSMT will help to reduce this economic cost burden on our country and improve the  health outcomes of millions of Americans living with diabetes. We look forward to working closely with Representatives Reed and DeGette to advance this critical legislation.”