L.A. Care Health Plan to use telehealth to expand diabetes education

L.A. Care Health Plan and Diabetes Care Partners are expanding the diabetes self-management education program for the plan’s members to include telehealth classes.

L.A. Care Health Plan and its partner Diabetes Care Partners are expanding the diabetes self-management education program for the plan’s members to include telehealth classes.

L.A. Care has been using Diabetes Care Partners’ services since 2015, according to Nai Kasick, L.A. Care’s senior director of health services. “Well managed diabetes will help prevent or delay diabetes complications such as damage to the retina, heart disease, kidney disease, amputations and others. This in turn helps reduce the cost of healthcare,” she says.

“A person diagnosed with diabetes is better equipped to maintain their target level if they have information, skills and support,” Kasick says. Further, research shows, those who are engaged in diabetes self-management education program will decrease their A1c level on an average of 0.74 percent, which has an equivalent impact to taking some medications. Besides the clinical outcomes, these individuals report higher rate of weight lost, better coping skills, and an overall improved quality of life indication, she says.

In 2018, data showed 70 percent of the L.A. Care members that participated in the DCP program were able to maintain or decrease their A1c by 0.35 percent. Member retention and satisfaction was very high, with an 82 percent program completion rate and a 98.6 percent satisfaction demonstrated by post-program surveys, according to Kasick.

These positive results are what prompted the health plan to pilot a telehealth option to increase access to the program, Kasick says.

DCP, a comprehensive diabetes education organization that offers personalized outcomes-driven diabetes self-management education onsite, via telehealth and/or on-demand, manages more than 25 sites across California for diabetes education and self-management training. DCP announced last week it is expanding its Discovering Diabetes telehealth program to include L.A. Care Family Resource Centers and designated clinics across Los Angeles County.

DCP’s Discovering Diabetes telehealth program will help L.A. Care members apply the techniques they learn during the sessions to guide their choices in self-care. They are given homework each week that will help them control their diabetes—ultimately leading to patient empowerment, according to DCP.

"We need to combat the barrier of access and telehealth has been proven to be a solution," says Tony Song, CEO of Diabetes Care Partners. "With this launch we now have the opportunity to bring access to our discovering diabetes system to empower more members than ever."

"L.A. Care Health Plan has been an amazing partner sharing the same goal for accessibility and clinical outcomes,” Song says. “The expansion of the telehealth model further signals the commitment L.A. Care has to providing broader access to outcomes driven programs and support for their members living with diabetes."

According to DCP, the Discovering Diabetes Program promotes patient engagement instead of passive listening. “We realize it’s not just the information given, but how you use and relate to it. Lessons make use of hand-on tools and examples, encouraging participants to use their experience in managing their diabetes,” the group says.

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