An estimated 86 million people in the United States have prediabetes, but they typically have no symptoms. The long-term medical and economic complications of diabetes are significant, costing the country $245 billion a year.
The testing company Quest Diagnostics is collaborating with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to help identify people who have, or are at risk of developing, type 2 diabetes (T2D) during a 4-week period starting on March 28, 2017, which is Diabetes Alert Day.
Quest will donate $1 to ADA for every employee wellness screening that it completes on behalf of employers until the period ends April 27, 2017, or until the total raised reaches $200,000. The screening typically includes bloodwork to determine whether a person has diabetes, heart disease, or other conditions.
ADA and Quest will also take part in a “Wellness Lives Here” initiative to share ways to lower the risk of developing diabetes and how to lower glycated hemoglobin (A1C) once a person has been diagnosed with T2D.
Screening Americans for diabetes and prediabetes is a priority of both Quest and the CDC, which has made prediabetes a priority in recent years. The nation’s public health agency estimates that 86 million Americans have prediabetes, which puts them at risk of progressing to diabetes, but 9 in 10 who have this status are unaware. Last fall, CMS approved the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program for Medicare, and it is scheduled to be reimbursed starting January 1, 2018.
Quest played a key role in a landmark study that shows how access to screening could identify people with diabetes who did not know they had the disease. As discussed by Quest senior medical director Harvey W. Kaufman, MD, MBA, FACP, in a contributor article for AJMC.com, a Quest study of its records in the first months of 2014 found that diagnoses of diabetes among Medicaid patients in states that expanded the program under the Affordable Care Act rose 23%, while they barely budged among Medicaid enrollees in states that did not expand. The results were first reported in Diabetes Care, the official journal of the ADA.
The challenge with both prediabetes and early T2D is that there are often no clear symptoms, so patients do not know they have the condition. Yet, long-term complications and costs are enormous—a 2013 study by the ADA found the medical and economic costs are $245 billion a year.
“Type 2 diabetes is a national health epidemic that can be prevented through identification of prediabetes coupled with the delivery of effective diabetes prevention programs for individuals,” Jay Wohlgemuth, MD, chief medical officer and senior vice president, for research and development, and senior leader for Quest Diagnostics Health & Wellness, said in a statement. “The partnership with the American Diabetes Association allows us to leverage our corporate wellness business and its national footprint to help identify populations within the workforce that are at risk for the disease, increase screening awareness, and deliver effective prevention programs.”
“We are grateful and excited to have Quest serve as a key partner of our movement to increase awareness of prediabetes and risk for type 2 diabetes,” said Alicia H. McAuliffe-Fogarty, PhD, CPsychol, vice president of Lifestyle Management at ADA.
"Kicking off on Alert Day, together we can emphasize the importance of annual health screenings, help people learn if they're at risk for type 2 diabetes and promote healthy lifestyle choices. Funds raised from this partnership will help us support lifesaving research and life changing programs that benefit millions of people living with diabetes."