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.


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.”


New District-Wide Elementary School Breakfast Program Announcement

Lt. Governor Denn’s Announcement of New District-Wide Elementary School Breakfast Program

WHO: Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn
Julie Giangiulio – Principal, West Seaford Elementary School
Denise Jacono – Principal, Frederick Douglass Elementary School
Jeff Forjan – Principal, Seaford Central Elementary School
Heather Bethurum – Principal,Blades Elementary School
Patricia Cunningham – Nutrition Services Supervisor , Seaford School District
Dr. Kevin Carson – Interim Superintendent, Seaford School District
Students

WHAT: Announcement of New District-Wide Elementary School Breakfast Program

WHEN: Wednesday, March 19, 2014
11:15 a.m.

WHERE: West Seaford Elementary School
511 Sussex Avenue
Seaford, Delaware 19973

DETAILS: Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn will announce Seaford School District as the first district he has recruited to allow students to eat breakfast in the classroom in all of its elementary schools.

The Seaford School District joins Colonial School District in having all elementary schools allow students to eat breakfast in the classroom. Eating breakfast in the classroom has been a proven way to increase participation which increases grades, test scores, and positive behavior throughout the day. Across the country, eating breakfast in the classroom has also reduced tardiness, absenteeism, childhood obesity, and disciplinary issues.

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