According to projections by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 25.8 million Americans have diabetes and an estimated 79 million adults have ‘pre-diabetes.’ If current trends continue, CDC projects that 1 in 3 Americans will be diabetic by 2050.
CDC data shows that 8.3% of the U.S. population today has diabetes. 18.8 million have been diagnosed and another 7 million remain undiagnosed. Also, 10.9 million Americans 65 or over (26.9% of all people in this age group) are diabetic and 1.9 million new cases of diabetes in people 20 and older were reported in 2010 alone. During the most recent year the cost to the U.S. economy was tabulated (2007) the total direct and indirect cost of diabetes in the U.S. reached $174 billion and $116 billion of tha was for direct medical costs.
Additionally, 10 states are projected to carry more than half of the U.S. diabetes population and costs through 2025, according to the Institute for Allternative Futures (IAF), a research firm based in Alexandria, VA ( http://www.altfutures.com).
California, Texas, Florida, New York and Ohio represent the nation’s top five “diabetes hot spots” according to the IAF. California is proected to incur costs at $63 billion from 6.6 million people with diabetes by 2025; Texas projects $52 billion and 5.5 million people; and Florida ranks third with projected costs at $40 billion and 4.2 million people with diabetes forecast by 2025.
“The numbers projected by the CDC are staggering,” says Jude Pierre, M.D., a Tampa Bay area physician who is board certified in Internal Medicine and a member of the Access Healthcare network. “Medical professionals and healthcare entities,” he said, “are obligated to pay attention to the states where diabetes spending will soar.”
Jo Ann Skolar, a 56-year old woman from Chicago, said she was diagnosed 36 years ago and has endured great difficulty. “In 1999 alone I was hospitalized eight times. That was before I got my insulin pump.” She said she’s been unemployed for three years and the cost of insulin and the diabetes supplies she needs to manage her blood sugar effectively has become prohibitive.
“I have no insurance. The insulin I’m using is $125 per vial and I go through two of those each month,” Skolar said. “I’m buying test strips on eBay. Can you believe that? I have to bid against other people just to buy affordable test strips!”
“It’s an understatement to say that change is needed,” said Pierre. “Innovative methods for reimbursing physicians like pay for performance or risk sharing with bonus incentive for providing quality care and preventative medicine will help prepare our country for the increase in the prevalence of diabetes.”
“Patients are always thrilled when I spend time discussing practical aspects of diet, exercise and weight control,” Pierre added. “We make progress together and they are encouraged by that. The problem is that physicans are often rushed to see patients in 15-minute blocks and have not been adequately reimbursed for services like counseling.”