Pennsylvania has a moderate rate of increase in diabetes hospitalizations, accounting less than 1 per cent over the last two years, however, diabetes is a serious problem in this region. An amount of 8 per cent of adults of this state is affected by diabetes, which is 1 per cent above the 7 per cent people affected throughout the country. Moreover patients from various counties in Western Pennsylvania have high rates of end-stage kidney disease, one complication of diabetes.
The above mentioned situation alongwith the continuos growing rate in diabetes hospitalizations which increased 9 per cent in the past five years to 23,725 during 2004, make them create a new health program to reduce health care costs through a initiative of health coaches.
According to a study from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, hospitalizations generated more than $673 million in hospital charges last year alone, although 40 per cent of these are paid by health plans.
The main idea of this new iniciative is to lower the health care costs associated with employees with diabetes and to keep them out of the hospital, but on the job at same time.
This iniciative will start in January, and will provide “health coaches” to 4,200 diabetic employees at 10 companies in the region, under a program that will be launched by the Pittsburgh Business Group on Health, a coalition that includes human resources and benefits executives from 62 area companies.
In the new program, employees who volunteer to participate will have counseling sessions with pharmacists about using diabetic medications. Health coaches will check patients are getting the tests needed to monitor their condition and are following recommendations about diet and exercise.