KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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HHS Proposes Expanding Diabetes Prevention Initiative After Pilot Program’s Successful Results

The program, which was implemented by YMCAs, was developed with an $11.8 million innovation grant under the health law. Participants who were at high risk of developing diabetes lost about 5 percent of their body weight. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said expanding the initiative within Medicare would save $2,650 over 15 months per beneficiary.

USA Today: Feds Mull Medicare Changes After Big Success In YMCA's Diabetes Program
People at high risk of developing diabetes lost about 5% of their body weight in a YMCA program that federal regulators said Wednesday was successful enough to expand. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) gave YMCAs nearly $12 million in 2011 to launch the program, which includes nutrition and fitness counseling and lifestyle coaching for Medicare recipients. The funding was provided by the Affordable Care Act, which also marked its 6th anniversary Wednesday. (O'Donnell, 3/23)

The Washington Post: Medicare Could Soon Pay For Services To Keep Diabetes From Developing
It is the first time an experimental prevention initiative has met the financial test to become part of the huge federal health insurance program for older Americans. ... Sylvia M. Burwell, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said prevention programs of this kind “help people live longer, fuller lives and save money across the [health care] system.” (Bernstein, 3/23)

Kaiser Health News: Medicare Proposes Expansion Of Counseling Program For People At Risk Of Diabetes
Burwell said the intervention program could also save lives for people who aren’t covered by Medicare. Some insurers and employers already offer similar programs to their employees and customers, and others could do so to help the 86 million Americans who have a high risk of developing diabetes, Burwell said. This is the first preventive service program from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation that has become eligible for expansion within Medicare. The health law created the center to launch experiments that would change the way doctors and hospitals are paid, building networks between caregivers and training them to intervene before chronic illness gets worse. (Carey, 3/23)

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