CMS Rule on Diabetes Prevention a Missed Opportunity That Puts Seniors at Risk


The proposal to mostly leave virtual providers out of the 2018 launch of the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program makes no sense in light of the evidence that these programs work.

Noom applauds CMS for taking the important step of proposing a rule for the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). However, not including virtual providers of the DPP in the proposed rule leaves millions of seniors at risk and will cost the American taxpayer millions of dollars.

Type 2 diabetes is the primary public health issue of our time and without the implementation of a national prevention campaign, it has the potential to reach pandemic proportions. According to the American Diabetes Association, 1 in 11 Americans—over 29 million people—have diabetes and another 86 million people have prediabetes.

Every 23 seconds, someone in the United States is diagnosed with diabetes and the problem is only getting worse. Additionally, the economic costs are skyrocketing—the price of insulin has more than tripled since 2002 and the annual cost of diabetes and prediabetes in the United States is over $322 billion, and rising.

Since the early 2000s, the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has been available to seniors in face-to-face settings. This program is incredibly effective, reducing the risk of developing diabetes by 58%. We are certain that the expansion of this in-person program through Medicare will save lives.

Unfortunately, since the program's launch, less than 100,000 have participated in the DPP. Why? Because seniors find it difficult to attend 16 weekly in-person meetings, whether due to a busy schedule, all-too-common transportation difficulties or simply living in an area where the program is not offered.

Only the virtual implementation of the DPP will lead to a widespread adoption among seniors. Noom, like other virtual providers of the DPP, allows seniors to attend classes, engage in group activity, interact with a personal coach, log their food and exercise—all from their mobile phone. Time and again, through peer-reviewed studies, virtual DPP providers have been proven to help prediabetics lose weight and change their behavior to lower their risk of developing diabetes.

As the first virtual DPP provider to receive full recognition from the CDC, we at Noom know what rigorous standards are necessary to deliver the program and we adhere to them the same as any in-person provider. As the virtual DPP has been demonstrated to be effective throughout scientific literature, we seek the Administration not to delay, and cover virtual implementation of the Medicare DPP. If they do not, they will needlessly spend hundreds of millions of dollars treating diabetes-related medical conditions and deny millions of seniors an effective treatment that can help them live longer, healthier lives.

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