Diabetes education: Don't give it away

Friday, July 31, 2009

Many providers already spend time educating their diabetes patients on things like meter use, but a new program could help them up their revenues.

The Diabetes Disease Management Educational Program offered by medical/pharmaceutical wholesaler HD Smith, is a package of patient educational sessions and marketing tools that providers can use to develop a patient education program.

“Our customers are on the forefront of working with consumers,” said Avi Weiss, director of home health care. “This can differentiate them from the chains. Providers who are going to survive (in this environment) are going to be the ones who can show that they fulfill a need other than just supplying product.”

The program, written by retail consultant Jack Evans in conjunction with a registered dietician/certified diabetes educator, consists of a CD with a handout that can be used with patients. Available in English and Spanish, it offers 14

half-hour sessions that cover topics from testing and medications to healthy eating and foot care. The sessions can be used for individual or group instruction.

Evans has been leading seminars on the new program in conjunction with a referral marketing program he teaches for HD Smith.

“Most doctors don’t have time for the education and they can be liable if something happens to a patient and that patient wasn’t forewarned,” said Evans. “Here, they cover themselves by having the HME or pharmacy doing the education for them.”

A patient flow-chart documents patient education and compliance for the physician’s records.

Medicare reimburses $60 per half-hour session, and many private insurers also cover education, said Evans.

In order to be reimbursed, providers must get the program approved by the American Diabetes Association, which they can do through the organization’s Web site.