Help Close Diabetes Disparity Gaps
Diabetes is one of the most common chronic conditions in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 37 million Americans of all ages have diabetes. An estimated 96 million Americans have prediabetes or are at high risk for type 2 diabetes. Diabetes has a disproportionate impact on certain populations:
- Racial and ethnic minorities have a higher risk of diabetes and higher rates of diabetes complications and mortality, according to the American Diabetes Association.
- Adults with less than a high school education and with family income below the federal poverty level have higher rates of diabetes diagnoses, according to the CDC.
For these and other populations affected by diabetes, non-medical drivers of health – or social determinants of health – impose barriers to health and wellness, according to the National Institutes of Health. See our Health Equity and Social Determinants of Health page for more details and resources.
How You Can Help
You and your staff may play an important role in supporting our members with diabetes or at risk of developing the disease. To help remove barriers to health equity and close gaps in care, you can:
- Educate our members on the unique risks that affect racial and ethnic minorities and other populations.
- Ask members about their needs related to social determinants of health, such as issues with transportation, food insecurity or housing.
- Discuss regular tests and screenings with our members. We’ve created information that may help:
- Type 1 and Type 2 symptoms
- Hemoglobin A1c and other tests
- Annual eye exams to avoid vision loss, or diabetic retinopathy
- Screenings for kidney disease, or diabetic nephropathy
- Blood pressure control
- Participate in shared decision-making to identify the best screening and treatment options for each member.
- For members who need language assistance, let them know we offer help and information in their language at no cost. To speak to an interpreter, members may call the customer service number on their member ID card.
- Offer telehealth services when available and appropriate for preventive care appointments.
- Help members schedule appointments and follow up with them if they miss.
- Talk with members and other treating providers to ensure all tests are completed and results are documented in the medical record. To help monitor and improve our members’ care, we track quality measures developed by the National Committee for Quality Assurance related to diabetes care, including Kidney Health Evaluation for Patients with Diabetes and Comprehensive Diabetes Care. See our preventive care and clinical practice guidelines on diabetes for more details.