Scott, Warner Reintroduce the Prevent Diabetes Act
WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), along with Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.), reintroduced the PREVENT DIABETES Act. This legislation would increase access to the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP) Expanded Model by allowing CDC-recognized virtual suppliers to participate in the program.
“One quarter of South Carolina’s elderly population and one in five South Carolinians living below the poverty line have diabetes,” said Senator Scott.“Our bill not only expands access to life-saving health care options for those who already have the disease, but it also supports programs that can delay or prevent the full onset of diabetes. By opening the door to virtual suppliers, we can ensure all patients have access to care regardless of zip code.”
“The PREVENT DIABETES Act will improve health outcomes and save lives by expanding access to virtual diabetes prevention programs for Virginians that currently can’t access care. Passing this bill will have a particularly powerful impact in Virginia where 1 in 3 adults have prediabetes. It will also help reduce existing racial health disparities among African-Americans and Latinos who face disproportionately higher rates of diabetes,” said Senator Warner.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there is a higher prevalence of diabetes within minority populations. Diabetes affects 11.7% of Black adults, 9.2% percent of Asian adults, 12.5% of Latino adults, and 7.5% of White adults. To help combat these alarming trends, the PREVENT DIABETES Act would provide access to virtual programs under the MDPP to help prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. The MDPP Expanded Model leverages evidence-based interventions to prevent the full onset of type 2 diabetes in at-risk Medicare beneficiaries. Unfortunately, the existing MDPP Expanded Model is only available through in-person sessions, making it more difficult for individuals in rural or medically underserved areas to participate in the program.
In October 2019, Senators Scott and Warner wrote to then-U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar urging him to expand the program by administrative action. The senators wrote another letter in April of last year, requesting that beneficiaries be allowed to access the program via a virtual platform during the COVID-19 pandemic. HHS temporarily allowed individuals to access the program via a virtual platform, but this administrative change still excludes a number of providers and does not ensure long-term access to a virtual benefit. This legislation will improve access to the program by ensuring individuals can access the MDPP Expanded Model via virtual suppliers.
Click here to read a letter of support signed by 26 endorsing organizations.
Click here to read the one-pager.
Full text of the bill is available HERE.