Impact of the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program
Does reducing the prevalence and incidence of type 2 diabetes through lifestyle interventions result in health care savings?
In today’s rapidly moving health care space, we are constantly seeking a better understanding of the impact of disease management on cost savings. A substantial body of research has shown that interventions to help people lose weight decrease the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. We now know that these programs can also lower health care costs.
RTI conducted a groundbreaking study, which is among the first of its kind, to show a direct link between lifestyle interventions and reduced health care spending. On behalf of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), RTI designed a study to determine the impact of a Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA)-developed Diabetes Prevention Program on health care spending, hospital admissions, and unnecessary Emergency Room visits.
The results are staggering; CMS saved $278 per program participant per quarter over the first three years of the program. The cost savings are largely attributed to the fact that participants in the Diabetes Prevention Program were less likely than nonparticipants to be admitted to the hospital or visit the emergency room.
Because of this study, CMS is expanding their investment in diabetes prevention programs and will continue to evaluate their impact on an ongoing basis. Commercial insurance providers and employers can also benefit from this study to improve their prevention strategies, improve the health of their populations, and decrease costs of care management.