Diabetes Wellness Expo On November 19 Inspires Delawareans With Diabetes to Live Healthier Lifestyles

DOVER – The public, particularly people living with diabetes, are encouraged to attend the free Diabetes Wellness Expo on Tuesday, November 19, 2019, at the Dover Downs Conference Center, located at 1131 N. DuPont Highway in Dover. The Delaware Diabetes Coalition (DDC), the Division of Public Health (DPH), and other partners will showcase speakers and more than 50 exhibitors and screeners from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The 18th annual event brings together health care facilities, diabetes-related organizations, and businesses to promote self-management and healthier lifestyles for people with diabetes and pre-diabetes. The Diabetes Wellness Expo will feature educational presentations on preventing type 2 diabetes, medication adherence, depression, innovative and evolving advancements in technology and design, foot care, and the benefits of healthy eating and exercise. Blood sugar, blood pressure, eye exams, other screenings, and free flu shots are available. A complimentary box lunch including a gourmet sandwich, fruit, and beverage will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. The Bureau of Oral Health and Dental Services will also be offering dental screenings on site at the expo to anyone attending the event, both adults and children, along with referrals and dental health education as it relates specifically to the diabetic patient.

Sponsors include DPH’s Diabetes and Heart Disease Prevention and Control Program, Bayhealth, Beebe Healthcare, ChristianaCare, and Valeritas.

More than 91,000 Delawareans have diabetes and an additional 78,000 people have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, adult blindness, lower-limb amputations, heart disease and stroke in the United States. The disease requires extensive medical monitoring and costly, lifelong treatment. However, healthier lifestyle choices, self-management techniques and taking medications as prescribed can manage and prevent health impacts, allowing many to enjoy a higher quality of life.

Overweight and obesity are major contributing factors for developing diabetes. According to the 2018 Delaware Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (BRFS), 21.9% of Delaware adults who report being obese have been diagnosed with diabetes, compared with 5% of adults who report normal weights. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report released in 2017, more than 100 million adults are now living with diabetes or prediabetes in the United States. Of those, 84.1 million have pre-diabetes. People with pre-diabetes are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, but they can significantly reduce that risk by increasing physical activity and eating a healthier diet.

Delawareans can do a better job of following diabetes recommendations. According to the 2018 BRFS:

• 59 percent say they check their blood glucose (sugar) levels one or more times per day. The recommended frequency is three times a day for most adults with diabetes.
• 30.2 percent see their doctor four or more times a year. An additional 35 percent say they see their doctor two or three times a year.
• 91.4 percent say they have been checked by a doctor for Hemoglobin A1-C one or more times in the past year.
• 76 percent of people with diabetes had an eye exam in which their pupils were dilated during the past year.
• 16.8 percent of people with diabetes said they have been told by a doctor that diabetes has affected their eyes, or they have retinopathy.
• 76.1 percent said a health professional had checked their feet for sores or irritations one or more times in the past year.
• Half (49.2 percent) of all adults diagnosed with diabetes say they have taken a course or class in how to manage diabetes.

For more information about the Diabetes Wellness Expo, visit https://www.dediabetescoalition.org/ or call the DDC at 302-519-6767.
For more information about how to manage and prevent diabetes, visit http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/dpc/diabetes.html. For programs and resources, or call the DPH’s Diabetes and Heart Disease Prevention and Control Program at 302-744-1020.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com
The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


Medicaid MCOs Embrace YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program

NEW CASTLE (Aug. 1, 2019) – As a way to improve the health of Delawareans who are covered by Medicaid, while potentially reducing overall health care spending, the Department of Health and Social Services’ two Medicaid managed care organizations are making the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program available to their members who meet eligibility criteria.

The program is available at no cost to adult members of DHSS’ Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance two managed care organizations (MCOs) – Highmark Health Options and AmeriHealth Caritas Delaware – who meet the program’s eligibility criteria. To participate, MCO members must be 18 or older, overweight with a body mass index (BMI) over 25 and be diagnosed with prediabetes or have a previous diagnosis of prediabetes. YMCA of Delaware membership is not required.

“Unfortunately, obesity and diabetes are twin epidemics in our state,” said DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a practicing family physician. “I thank Highmark and AmeriHealth Caritas for making the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program available at no cost to Medicaid MCO clients who meet the eligibility criteria. This is an important step forward in reducing the impact of obesity and diabetes, while helping us to build a healthier Delaware.”

Across the state, about two-thirds of Delaware adults are at an unhealthy weight, either overweight or obese. In 2017, 11.3 percent of Delaware residents age 18 and older reported they had been diagnosed with diabetes and an additional 12.2 percent reported being told they have pre-diabetes.

“Highmark Health Options is proud to partner with DHSS and the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program as we work together to reduce obesity and chronic disease,” said Todd Graham, President and CEO for Highmark Health Options. “We look forward to this partnership that will lead to a healthier lifestyle for our members while supporting the My Healthy Weight pledge.”

“We are very pleased to be a part of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, alongside the Department of Health and Social Services, Highmark Health Options, and our valued community partner, the YMCA of Delaware, to help reduce the life-threatening chronic conditions caused by diabetes,” said Emmilyn Lawson, CEO of AmeriHealth Caritas Delaware. “Through this complimentary community-based program, we hope to nurture healthy citizens and healthier communities by increasing access to the support and services that Delawareans need to achieve their wellness goals.”

The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is a yearlong, evidence-based health behavior change program consisting of 25 one-hour group sessions. A trained lifestyle coach helps participants learn skills and strategies to eat healthier, increase physical activity, lose weight, overcome stress, stay motivated and more. The goals of the program are to reduce participants’ body weight by 7 percent and increase physical activity by 150 minutes per week.

“We have offered the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program about 10 years, we’ve seen tremendous results, and will now be able to reach even more people in need,” said Tricia Jefferson, RD, LDN, Director of Program Development and Partnerships for the YMCA of Delaware. “Partnering with both Managed Care Organizations to serve our Medicaid-eligible participants will not only help us further prevent diabetes in a population that is at great risk, but it will help shape the future of how prevention programs are delivered and paid for across the nation.”

“We are grateful to Highmark, AmeriHealth Caritas, and the YMCA for their partnership in offering an evidence-based program to address obesity and related chronic disease for eligible Medicaid enrollees,” said Steve Groff, Director of DHSS’ Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance. “DHSS was one of nine founding members of My Healthy Weight, a national collective initiative offering obesity prevention and treatment. The Diabetes Prevention Program will fulfill our pledge to provide access to community-based programs.”

To learn more about your eligibility for the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, contact your managed care organization.

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The Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of life of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.


Diabetes Wellness Expo on November 13 Inspires People With Diabetes to Live Healthier Lifestyles

DOVERWoman using glucometer to check blood sugar – People with diabetes are encouraged to attend the free Diabetes Wellness Expo on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, at the Dover Downs Conference Center, located at 1131 N. DuPont Highway in Dover. More than 50 exhibitors and screeners will showcase diabetes services, supplies, and programs from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The 17th annual event, organized by the Delaware Diabetes Coalition (DDC), the Division of Public Health (DPH) and other partners, brings together health care facilities, diabetes-related organizations, and businesses to promote self-management and healthier lifestyles for people with diabetes and pre-diabetes.
More than 85,000 Delawareans have diabetes and an additional 85,000 people have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, adult blindness, lower-limb amputations, heart disease, and stroke in the United States. The disease requires extensive medical monitoring and costly, lifelong treatment. However, the health impacts of the disease can be managed through healthier lifestyle choices, the use of self-management techniques, and properly prescribed medications, which allow many to enjoy a higher quality of life.

The expo includes educational presentations on diabetes/pre-diabetes management, medication adherence, healthy eating, A1C control, and the benefits of exercise. Blood sugar, blood pressure, foot care, eye exams and other screenings are available. Free flu shots will also be provided. A box lunch including a gourmet sandwich, fruit and beverage will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

Overweight and obesity are major contributing factors for developing diabetes. According to the 2017 Delaware Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (BRFS), 19.6 percent of Delaware adults who report being obese have been diagnosed with diabetes, compared with 6.1 percent of adults who report normal weights. The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse estimates between 90 percent and 95 percent of people with diabetes have type 2. People with pre-diabetes are at risk for developing type 2 (previously called adult onset) diabetes, but they can significantly reduce that risk by increasing physical activity and eating a healthier diet.

The 2017 BRFS also provides information about compliance with recommendations for people with diabetes.

  • 60.4 percent say they check their blood glucose (sugar) levels one or more times per day. The recommended frequency is three times a day for most adults with diabetes.
  • 33.8 percent see their doctor four or more times a year. An additional 35 percent say they see their doctor two or three times a year.
  • 92 percent say they have been checked by a doctor for Hemoglobin A1-C one or more times in the past year.
  • 76.9 percent of people with diabetes had an eye exam in which their pupils were dilated during the past year.
  • 15.8 percent of people with diabetes said they have been told by a doctor that diabetes has affected their eyes, or they have retinopathy.
  • 80.9 percent said a health professional had checked their feet for sores or irritations one or more times in the past year.
  • Half (50.4 percent) of all adults diagnosed with diabetes say they have taken a course or class in how to manage diabetes.

For more information, call the DDC at 302-388-9728 or DPH’s Diabetes and Heart Disease Prevention and Control Program at 302-744-1020. You can also learn more about diabetes programs and resources at http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/dpc/diabetes.html.


A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


Delaware Falls Four Spots in Commonwealth Fund’s 2018 State Health Scorecard; Secretary Walker Says Health Care Spending and Better Outcomes Must Be Aligned

NEW CASTLE (May 3, 2018) – Ranking in the bottom half of states in a variety of health measures, including adults who smoke, annual diabetes treatment testing, and adults who are obese, Delaware fell four spots in The Commonwealth Fund’s 2018 Scorecard on State Health System Performance released today.

Delaware ranked 22nd among all the states on the more than 40 measures, which are divided among access to health care, quality of care, efficiency in care delivery, health outcomes and income-based health care disparities. Delaware’s worst trend was in deaths from suicide, alcohol and drug use increasing from 38.2 deaths per 100,000 population in 2013 to 49 deaths per 100,000 in 2016. Delaware ranked 31st in that category among the states.

On the positive side, Delaware ranked in the top five in three categories, including the top ranking for the lowest rate of deaths within 30 days of hospital discharge among Medicare beneficiaries. The state ranked third for the lowest rate of adults with a mental illness reporting an unmet need and fourth for the lowest rate of children ages 19-35 months who did not receive all recommended vaccines.

“This is another national health scorecard that indicates we are not a top state for overall health, despite being one of the top-ranked states in terms of per-capita health care spending,” said Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a board-certified family physician. Last June, a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) analysis found that Delaware ranked third among the states for per-capita health care spending in 2014 at $10,254, or 27 percent above the U.S. average of $8,045. If that rate is maintained, CMS estimated that Delaware’s overall health care spending could double by 2025.

In September, Gov. John Carney signed House Joint Resolution 7 authorizing DHSS to develop a health care spending benchmark to bring transparency to how Delaware’s health care dollars are spent across the system – commercial insurers, Medicare and Medicaid. In February, Gov. Carney signed an Executive Order creating the Health Care Delivery and Cost Advisory Group to advise Secretary Walker on the creation of statewide health care spending and quality benchmarks.

“Across the health care spectrum, our goal is to examine health care costs and how to slow the growth of those costs, while improving the overall health of Delawareans at the same time,” Secretary Walker said. “The Commonwealth Fund rankings provide us with valuable insights into the areas where we need improved health outcomes.”
Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of DHSS’ Division of Public Health, said the rankings show there is more work to do to improve population health across the state. In a note of caution, Dr. Rattay said The Commonwealth Fund appeared to report Delaware’s infant mortality rate incorrectly at 9.1 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2015. Dr. Rattay said Delaware’s rate peaked at 9.3 deaths per 1,000 live births for the five-year time period ending in 2005 and has declined to 7.5 deaths per 1,000 live births for the five-year time period ending in 2016. “Our rate is still significantly higher than the U.S. average of 5.9 deaths, with higher disparities among populations and in specific geographic areas,” she said.

“While we are pleased to see Delaware ranked sixth among the states in the broad category of prevention and treatment,” Dr. Rattay said, “the Commonwealth Fund’s results indicate the areas where we must seek further improvement, especially in the healthy lives and disparity indicators.”

In another national health scorecard released earlier this year, Delaware ranked 30th in United Health Foundation’s 2017 America’s Health Rankings Annual Report, exceeding the national average in drug deaths per 100,000 population, obesity and physical inactivity rates among adults, cancer deaths per 100,000, diabetes rate among adults and violent crime offenses per 100,000. Delaware’s 2017 ranking improved one spot from 2016.

To read The Commonwealth Fund’s 2018 Scorecard on State Health System Performance:
http://www.commonwealthfund.org/interactives/2018/may/state-scorecard/

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The Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of life of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.


DHSS Among Founding Members of National My Healthy Weight; Medicaid Program to Offer Treatment Visits for Obesity Starting in 2019

NEW CASTLE (Jan. 2, 2018) – In embracing one of the policy objectives of Governor John Carney’s Action Plan for Delaware, the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) has become a founding member of the national My Healthy Weight, a first-ever collective initiative offering obesity prevention and treatment for individuals of all ages. Delaware is one of nine founding members of this public-private initiative developed by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the Bipartisan Policy Center, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

In Governor Carney’s Action Plan, his transition team recommended that DHSS launch a statewide effort to reduce the impact of obesity as a way to improve health outcomes and reduce health costs. About two-thirds of Delaware adults are at an unhealthy weight, either obese or overweight, and half of all Delawareans don’t get regular physical activity. In 2014, about 11 percent of Delaware adults reported having diabetes, with that percentage rising to 18.6 percent for Delawareans with incomes below $15,000, compared with 7.8 percent for those who make $50,000 or more per year.

Starting in January 2019, Medicaid clients with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher will have access to at least 12 visits a year with a health care professional to support healthy weight. Individuals with a BMI of 25 or higher and specific cardiovascular health risks and children with at-risk BMIs will also be offered visits with health care professionals. Further support will be provided for eligible individuals to access community-based programs focused on obesity prevention and treatment.

“My Healthy Weight offers the opportunity for DHSS to provide consistent coverage through our Medicaid program to thousands of clients who are at an unhealthy weight,” Governor Carney said. “This initiative will improve the quality of life for many Delawareans, offer us new ways to prevent obesity, and help us reduce the impact of such chronic conditions as diabetes, hypertension and cancer. I am grateful to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for believing in our ability to build a healthier Delaware.”

Delaware joins a collaborative of health care leaders from across the nation, including private and public payers and employers, who have joined together in this innovative pledge. The initiative will provide millions of Americans with consistent coverage to support healthy weight change.

“With obesity and diabetes at epidemic rates in our state, My Healthy Weight offers us a way to provide consistent coverage to support healthy weight change and bring down our statewide rates,” said DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a board-certified family physician. “We know that poverty is the number one social determinant of health, so we are proud to offer this connection to care to our Medicaid clients as an important step forward in preventing and treating obesity in our state.”

“Each founding member in My Healthy Weight is a leader in the fight to combat this national public health crisis,” said Dr. Howell Wechsler, CEO, Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “By covering obesity prevention and treatment for members of all ages, they are taking a bold action to support better health at the most fundamental levels. This proactive, preventive initiative will make our entire health care system better and will improve millions of lives.”

More than one in three U.S. adults has obesity, with obesity care costing as much as $210 billion per year nationwide. Physical inactivity, obesity, and related chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, and hypertension, constitute some of the most challenging and costly public health threats facing America.

“Health care is changing rapidly in America and prevention is too often an afterthought or left out of the conversation entirely,” said Bipartisan Policy Center’s Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anand Parekh. “The founding members of My Healthy Weight are putting a historic stake in the ground to say that they value obesity and chronic disease prevention, which represents a fundamental and long overdue shift in the way we think about health care in this country.”