Diabetes Prevention Updates: Omada Health's New Hire; ACPM Announces Grant Winners

The announcements come as Medicare is set to start reimbursing the Diabetes Prevention Program on January 1, 2018.

The former chief privacy officer for the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT has joined Omada Health to lead the digital provider’s efforts to ensure security of patient information.

Lucia Savage, JD, has been named the company’s chief privacy and regulatory officer. She arrives as Omada works to meet CMS requirements to be paid by Medicare, which is scheduled to offer the National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) to beneficiaries starting January 1, 2018. Her hiring was announced in a statement from Omada CEO and co-founder Sean Duffy.

The DPP has been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in adults with prediabetes by 58%.

“In the evolution of a young company, opportunities to add industry leaders with the depth and breadth of Lucia’s experience don’t come along often,” Duffy said. “As Omada continues to expand our partnerships with health plans and health systems, and as we prepare to being offering diabetes prevention to Medicare beneficiaries in 2018, there are is no one we’d rather have shepherding Omada’s privacy, regulatory, and compliance efforts.”

Savage’s role will include ensuring privacy and security of patient health information, which has become a growing concern across healthcare as the industry suffered a large increase in breaches in 2016. CMS reporting data, which cover all breaches affecting at least 500 people, show that more than 17% of all events ever reported occurred in 2016. CMS reporting requirements began in 2009.

At Omada, Savage will coordinate integration of Omada’s program with patient electronic health records, so that data Omada collects from patients as they complete the program can be used in the clinical process. Savage is also an expert on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and Duffy said she will continue her role of “demystifying HIPAA across the industry.”

Before joining ONC, Savage was associate general counsel at United Healthcare, where she worked on data transactions for health information exchanges, healthcare transparency projects, and research.

Grant Winners

The American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM) has awarded grants to 3 institutions to develop new practice setting models to deliver the DPP. The grants are part of a partnership with the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation. Award recipients and their setting categories are:

  • Altamed, located in Los Angeles and Orange County, Californa, representing Federally Qualified Health Centers.
  • Wheat Ridge Internal Medicine of Wheat Ridge Colorado, representing independent practices.
  • Emory University Family Medicine of Atlanta, Georgia, representing integrated delivery systems.

More commercial plans are paying for the DPP based on guidance from the US Preventive Services Task Force, as well as CMS' decision to make the program available to Medicare enrollees as a covered benefit, according to ACPM Executive Director Michael Barry. “This means we need to increase the number of physicians who are referring patients to CDC-recognized diabetes prevention programs,” he said.

Work by the grantees will create models that can be deployed nationwide to get physicians to refer more patients into the DPP. An 11-member advisory group created by the ACPM will oversee this process and help the college respond to CMS’ upcoming second proposed rule for the program, which will address reimbursement issues.