'Get fears out in the open'

Friday, July 31, 2009

STUART, Fla.--Provider Mark Libratore looks at the millions of Americans with diabetes and sees both a business opportunity and a chance to help people.

His mail order company, Liberator Medical Supply, a division of Liberator Medical Holdings, is ramping up Diabetes Life Success, a disease state management program that will offer diabetes education.

Only 26% of diagnosed patients saw a diabetes educator in a 12-month period, according to a 2007 study by the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

“There are millions and millions of people who need access to diabetes education and although it’s out there in many forms - through hospitals, clinics and universities - you have to ask why only (a small percent) is receiving it,” said Libratore, CEO. “I think part of the reason is denial, or maybe people don’t understand the benefit.”

Diabetes Life Success has received the American Diabetes Association’s Education Recognition. The eight-hour class, spread over two days, will cover the diabetes gamut - from meal planning and portion control to long-term complications.

One key issue for patients: dealing with fear, said Libratore.

“We get their fears out in the open to give people a chance to vent their frustrations,” he said. “They are not alone; they are not their disease. They can live successfully with it if they follow a certain set of rules. We teach them the rules.”

Liberator is marketing the program to managed care organizations and has applied for a Medicare billing number. Libratore believes the company’s direct-to-consumer supply model lends itself well to marketing the education program.

“We have call centers, answering services, lead and contact management systems and customer relations management,” he said. “A lot of times people express interest in something and then they may forget. We can give a gentle nudge.”

Diabetes Life Success will operate under the newly established Liberator Health and Education Services, a division headed by Evelyn Schumacher, an industry veteran with more than 10 years of experience in diabetes education.