Magazine article Drug Topics

Pharmacy-Led Diabetes Program Saves Big

Magazine article Drug Topics

Pharmacy-Led Diabetes Program Saves Big

Article excerpt

Chicago-area em- ployers cut health- care costs by almost $1,500 per person per year using Taking Control of Your Health (TCYH), a pharmacy- based treatment program for, employees with diabetes. The Illinois program was part of the nationwide Diabetes Ten City Challenge (DTCC) project coordinated by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Foundation.

"This wasn't an untried program; it was based on the Asheville Project, which works - and works ex- tremely well," said Pamela Hannon, director of ben- efits and employee health services for Hospira Inc., a maker of medical equip- ment. "We're not focusing on diabetes, we're focusing on the total person. Diabetes is typically just one of sev- eral conditions, along with cardiovascular disease, cho- lesterol, weight problems, exercise, diet, you name it. It makes absolute sense to treat the person and not the disease."

A dedicated, hands-on provider is key to the program, Hannon said. Every patient has a personal pharmacist who monitors and coordinates care, teaches diabetes man- agement, and coaches lifestyle changes. Par- ticipants start with a one- hour pharma- cist consulta- tion, then have follow-up visits every other month, with telephone or e-mail consults as needed! The goal is to help patients take control of their lives.

"Pharmacists have the skills and the training to empower patients to take ownership and control of their condition," said participating pharmacist Starlin HaydonGreatting, who is also clinical program coordinator for the Illinois Pharmacists Association (IPhA). "When you are eye to eye with someone, holding their hand, checking their feet, you can change lives. Personal involvement is how adult education and lifestyle change happen."

Hospira, the City of Naperville, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, and Pactiv Corp., the maker of Hefty garbage bags, enrolled more than 200 diabetic employees in TCYH. The program was coordinated by the Midwest Business Group on Health (MBGH), based in Chicago. MBGH member companies spend more than $2.5 billion on healthcare annually year for over two million people.

Employers eliminate or reduce diabetes-related copays for employees who join TCYH. …

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