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AmeriCares and the American Medical Association (AMA) have launched a targeted health care program designed to help more than 400 low-income and uninsured Americans delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
The Transforming Prediabetes Care Initiative has awarded $10,000 grants to seven free and charitable clinics across the U.S. These selected clinics will establish evidence-based lifestyle programs that have been shown to delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes through weight loss, increased physical activity and adoption of healthy lifestyle changes. The clinics also have access to free medication and medical supplies from AmeriCares.
“This initiative will afford the Social Welfare Clinic the essential tools needed to provide a grass roots approach to diabetes prevention,” said Linda Judah, Executive Director of the Social Welfare Board in St. Joseph, Missouri. “Staff will utilize the innovative education provided through this initiative to teach patients lifelong behaviors that will ultimately help prevent type 2 diabetes and the cascade of debilitating health issues.”
An estimated 86 million American adults have prediabetes – which increases their risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke – but only one in 10 of these people are aware they have it. The new two-year program enables each free clinic to designate a lifestyle coach who will receive training based on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). These coaches will lead groups of patients with prediabetes through 22 classes — tracking their weight loss, physical activity and health indicators throughout the diabetes prevention program and one year of follow-up to measure the results.
“This program will build the capacity of participating free and charitable clinics, enhancing the quality of care they deliver and improving the outcomes of the low-income, uninsured patients they serve,” said AmeriCares Vice President of U.S. Partnerships and Programs Leslie McGuire. “Our ultimate goal is to inform chronic care delivery strategies in free and charitable clinics nationwide and to highlight the high quality, effective services being provided by this critical but under recognized sector of the U.S. health care safety net.”
The participating clinics are receiving the AMA’s Diabetes Prevention Program Implementation Guide and other resources to help them develop lifestyle change programs that align with the CDC’s National DPP. The AMA launched its Improving Health Outcomes initiative in 2013 aimed at preventing both type 2 diabetes and heart disease – two of the nation’s leading causes of death and suffering.
“The AMA is committed to raising awareness about prediabetes and ensuring patients at greatest risk are referred to proven diabetes prevention programs to help them prevent or delay diabetes,” said AMA President Robert M. Wah, M.D. “Through our new collaboration with AmeriCares, we will be able to reach more patients in underserved areas who suffer disproportionately from poor health outcomes associated with prediabetes.”
The Transforming Prediabetes Care Initiative is an extension of AmeriCares U.S. Medical Assistance Program, which provides free medication to free clinics, community health centers and health departments nationwide. AmeriCares is the nation’s largest provider of donated medical aid to the U.S. health care safety net, last year delivering more than $85 million in prescription and over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies for patients in need. Supported by the GE Foundation, the program helps partner clinics increase capacity, provide comprehensive care, improve health outcomes and reduce costs for patients.
Clinics selected for the Prediabetes Care Initiative:
Center for High Blood Pressure, Richmond, Virginia
Social Welfare Board, St. Joseph, Missouri
Community Health Services of Union County, Monroe, North Carolina
Health Unit on Davidson Avenue, Detroit, Michigan
St. Mary’s Health Wagon, Wise, Virginia
Grace Medical Home, Orlando, Florida
Greenville Free Medical Clinic, Greenville, South Carolina