WASHINGTON — Rite Aid Corp. has teamed up with UnitedHealth Group and the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington on a diabetes prevention and control program here.
The effort is called the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance, and it is offering two separate programs — one through retail pharmacies and the other through YMCA centers.
“Rite Aid is proud to help shine a spotlight on our nation’s diabetes epidemic and to partner with UnitedHealth Group to bring this comprehensive diabetes treatment and self-care management program to the metro D.C. area,” executive vice president of pharmacy Robert Thompson says. “Living with diabetes is no easy task. It helps to have a trusted pharmacist specifically trained in diabetes care and medication therapy management as close as the neighborhood Rite Aid.”
As part of the effort to help district residents combat diabetes, Rite Aid is offering a diabetes control program at select pharmacies across the city. The program connects people with diabetes with pharmacists trained in diabetes care and medication therapy management.
Rite Aid pharmacists conduct private, one-on-one consultations that provide education and support to help people with diabetes control their condition better and reduce the risk of developing complications from diabetes, including heart disease, nerve disease, blindness and limb amputations.
Pharmacists consult quarterly with enrolled patients to evaluate their success adhering to prescribed diabetes regimens and to review the patient’s test results for blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol.
The incidence of diabetes in the greater Washington area supports the need for such a program. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 11% of the adults in the nation’s capital have diabetes, compared with 8.7% nationwide. The city’s health department estimates that diabetes costs the district nearly $300 million a year in health care expenses.
“The good news for people in the D.C. area and nationwide is that type 2 diabetes is largely preventable, and if someone has it already, it’s manageable,” says Dr. Deneen Vojta, executive vice president of UnitedHealth Group and chief clinical officer of the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance. “It is the small lifestyle decisions we make every day that make the biggest impact, and that is what these community-based programs are all about.”
Washington is not alone in witnessing a growing incidence of diabetes. Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes, and another 79 million adults are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, according to the CDC. Diabetes cost the country an estimated $194 billion in 2010. The UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization says that if current trends continue, over half of all Americans will have diabetes or prediabetes by 2020, at a cost of almost $500 billion.