Unique partnership demonstrates diabetes prevention as a team effort

November 15, 2010

In a unique partnership, Walgreens, the YMCA, and United Health Group are teaming up on a diabetes prevention and control program.

In a unique partnership, Walgreens, the YMCA, and UnitedHealth Group are teaming up to present a diabetes prevention and control program.

The Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance provides health, fitness, and lifestyle training to UnitedHealth’s plan members through YMCA. UnitedHealth is paying Walgreens and YMCA to deliver the service.

The Diabetes Prevention program will be rolled out in 8 YMCA locations by the end of this year: Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Indianapolis, Ind.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.

As part of the diabetes-control portion of the program, Walgreens pharmacists will offer personalized coaching and counseling to help patients with type 2 diabetes manage their condition. “Walgreens pharmacists - or in select markets, Take Care Health Systems nurse practitioners - will provide diabetes education and behavioral intervention, risk-factor reduction, health promotion, and regular examinations for early signs of complications,” said a statement issued by Walgreens.

UnitedHealth plans to expand the program to other retail pharmacy chains in the future, according to the insurer.

Meanwhile, sponsored by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, YMCA’s diabetes prevention program has already been successful at its test site in Indianapolis, Ind. “The big question was ‘Can something that was proven in science to work be spread to a community-based organization like YMCA?’” said Jonathan Lever, national director of YMCA’s Activate America.

Prediabetics in the Indianapolis program, which started in 2005, have been successful at reducing their risk of developing diabetes. Participants in the Indianapolis program, which consists of monthly group meetings with a lifestyle coach, have achieved a 5% loss in body weight.

“One of the reasons we have been so successful is that the program is group-based. The participants really bond as a group and support each other,” Lever said.