Jill Hutt, vice president of member services at the Greater Philadelphia Business Coalition on Health (GPBCH), outlines how Wilmington, Delaware, went about implementing the Diabetes Prevention Program.
The city's first cohort yielded $151,000 in projected savings and an average of 5% weight loss, said Jill Hutt, vice president of member services at the Greater Philadelphia Business Coalition on Health (GPBCH), when speaking to the results of Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) implementation.
Can you go over the successful implementation of the DPP in Wilmington, Delaware?
The city of Wilmington, back in 2017, received a health care taskforce report that showed diabetes and prediabetes as a major problem in their workforce. So they knew they needed to take action. And so at that time, they reached out to Delaware Health and Social Services Department of Diabetes Prevention to ask for help. And that ultimately led them to learning about and implementing the National DPP program and working with the YMCA of Delaware, which is a CDC-approved vendor for the program statewide. Also, the DPP and the Y program were covered by the city's health plan, Highmark. They did launch their first cohort, and it yielded an average of a 5% weight loss and $151,000 in projected savings, and now they're on their second cohort. So the program has been successful for them.
Just to touch further on their implementation and the feedback that they got [in] the city of Wilmington, they took a 3-pronged approach in getting it off the ground and implementing it. Other employers have done similar things. So No. 1, they involved their leaders as visible National DPP champions. The city of Wilmington's mayor was the chief wellness ambassador, attending informational sessions and events and helping to raise the visibility of this program. Other key city leaders joined in as well. And secondly, the city worked with their partners, including the police union and other union leaders and business units, so that they could, in a thoughtful way, strategically roll out the program to get the best uptake. One of the things they did, thirdly, is provide some incentives to get people engaged. They [paid for half of their employees'] lunch hour so that they could attend the National DPP program during lunch and have a healthy lunch break.
I will also share a quote from Dany Bourjolly Smith, City of Wilmington Benefits Manager, who was also a National DPP participant. She states, "The National DPP lifestyle change program generates a high return on investment and financially it's a no-brainer. If you think about infusing joy in the workforce, the return is even bigger." She did mention that COVID-19 slowed them down but it didn't stop them. They continue to offer the program and pivot from in-person to virtual during COVID-19. One of their participants stated she could not recommend the program highly enough. She lost 45 pounds, gave a testimonial, and stated, "This program changed my life."