Independent Health releases report on efforts

Independent Health releases report on efforts to combat diabetes in Western New York

BUFFALO, N.Y. (September 22, 2011) – Independent Health released a report today on the rising prevalence of diabetes nationally and locally, and detailed the positive results of the health plan’s efforts to promote better diabetes care, management and prevention to improve care and reduce costs. The report is titled, “Combating an Epidemic and ‘Bending the Trend’ on Costs Associated with Diabetes.”

Diabetes affects nearly 26 million Americans and research indicates one in three children born in the United States will develop diabetes in their lifetime if current trends continue. Those diagnosed will spend 2.3 times more on medical costs than those without diabetes. Statistics like these highlight the importance of taking action to curtail the damaging impact diabetes has on quality of life and health care costs.

According to Michael W. Cropp, M.D., president and CEO, Independent Health, the health plan is taking the lead to reverse the trend of rising cases of diabetes and its burgeoning costs by partnering with physicians, employers, members and not-for-profit organizations to promote effective prevention and management strategies to reduce diabetes’ local impact.

“Independent Health is constantly seeking solutions to transform health care and achieve better health, better care and lower costs,” said Dr. Cropp. “We are actively engaging customers in taking responsibility for their own health and well-being through educational and fitness programs to further encourage healthy lifestyles and preventive methods. Independent Health is also proud to offer programs that support physicians in managing their diabetic patients and delivering proactive care to improve patients’ health and help ‘bend the trend’ on higher costs of diabetes.”

Successful programs highlighted in Independent Health’s report include:

• Diabetes Practice Excellence, a pay-for-performance program that engages physicians in review of their management of diabetic patients as compared to evidence-based guidelines to identify opportunities for improved patient management.

• Patient-Centered Medical Home, a program that enables care coordination between primary care physicians and patients’ specialists, and the use of technology to manage patient care. This allows caregivers to more easily provide proactive care – a key component to preventing and treating diabetes. Currently 130 physicians participate in the program, to the benefit of more than 50,000 patients.

• Diabetes Disease Management Initiative, which helps members manage their diabetes and avoid resulting complications that ultimately drive up their health care costs. The program involves outreach from health coaches to high-risk members to engage customers in their personal health and diabetes management.

The outcomes of these programs and other Independent Health-led initiatives have resulted in some marked improvement in the quality management of diabetic patients. Among the results include:

• The number of Independent Health members with their A1C (blood sugar level) at goal improved by 62 percent.

• The number of Independent Health members with their blood pressure at goal improved by 58 percent.

• Independent Health ranks above both state and national averages for the eight key diabetes care management measures from the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS), used to measure performance on important dimensions of care and service.

“We must continue to make progress toward improving the health and wellness of our community by engaging in collaborative initiatives that improve the quality of health care,” said Dr. Cropp. “We all have a role to play in creating a culture of health in Western New York.”

A downloadable copy of the complete diabetes report – “Combating an Epidemic and ‘Bending the Trend’ on Costs Associated with Diabetes” – is available online at www.independenthealth.com under the newsroom section.

Headquartered in Buffalo, Independent Health began operations in 1980 and has consistently been rated among the top health plans in the country for customer service and member satisfaction. Independent Health’s comprehensive portfolio of product and service offerings include HMO, POS, PPO and EPO products, Medicare and Medicaid plans, traditional indemnity insurance, consumer-directed plans, coverage for self-funded employers, plus health savings account (HSA) and pharmacy benefit management (PBM) services. Combined, the company provides health benefits and services to nearly 375,000 individuals in Western New York and throughout the country. For more information, visit Independent Health’s website at www.independenthealth.com.