Reducing the Burden of Diabetes on Marylanders

Diabetes is a serious health burden for many Marylanders, affecting the lives of more than a third of the state’s adult population. As a risk factor for COVID-19, there is renewed urgency to reduce the impact of diabetes on our community.

To support the Maryland Department of Health’s efforts to reduce the incidence of diabetes and increase the quality of life for individuals at-risk for type 2 diabetes, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan recently launched the HealthChoice Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). The DPP is a lifestyle change program that aims to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes through healthy eating, physical activity and coping skills. Eligible members who choose to participate in the program are equipped with the support and tools necessary to live a healthier life by effectively managing their condition.

DPP services include a comprehensive series of 22 sessions over the course of a year designed to help members on a variety of health topics such as losing weight, increasing daily exercise, eating better and coping skills to assist in making lifestyle changes. Program participants are encouraged to be active in their health transformation and can join in one of two ways:

  1. By getting small group or one-on-one support from a local provider or virtual support from a UnitedHealthcare-contracted DPP provider or nurse, or
  2. By downloading the free DPPStar PreDiabetes app. Combined with weekly reports and real-time feedback from a health coach, members can also track food and source healthy recipes and restaurants to help them reach their goals.

Beyond the DPP, we’re working to address the burden of diabetes through targeted member efforts aimed at closing gaps in A1C testing and control measures, and by partnering with organizations to promote diabetes prevention and management.

One example of this is our partnership with the Maryland Department of Health, in which we’re working to develop an algorithm that identifies eligible DPP recipients. This algorithm will assist providers in referring patients and serve as a tool for all managed care organizations to help engage eligible members for the DPP.

Through these targeted member efforts and strategic partnerships, we’re making strides to reduce the burden of diabetes on Marylanders and fulfilling on our mission of helping people live healthier lives. 

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