WellCare, Fitbit team up to fight diabetes in Georgia

WellCare of Georgia is partnering with Fitbit to encourage Medicaid diabetics to take care of their eyes.

Beginning January 1, Georgia Medicaid members age 18 and older with a diabetes diagnosis who are enrolled in the plan’s Fitbit Diabetes Program will receive a Fitbit Inspire after completing their annual diabetic eye exam., the companies say.

The Fitbit trackers feature a touchscreen, backlit display and on-screen dashboard that helps users track sleep, activity and more from their wrists, according to Fitbit.

More than one in 10 adults in Georgia adults are living with Type 2 diabetes, which if not properly managed, can increase the risk of contracting glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and even blindness, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

"Partnering with Fitbit helps incentivize our members living with diabetes manage their condition," says Clarence Davis, WellCare's senior medical director for Georgia. "Diabetic eye exams are a critical part of effective diabetes management, so we wanted to find an innovative way to not only motivate our members to complete their annual eye exam, but encourage additional healthy behaviors such as walking and physical activity."

According to a study in the World Journal of Diabetes, walking for at least 30 minutes per day can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes by approximately 50 percent and was associated with a reduction in mortality.

"We are excited to partner with Fitbit as we work to educate, motivate and support our members around the benefits of physical activity,” Davis says. “Fitbit's fitness tracker complements WellCare's existing care management resources and will provide yet another resource to help our members living with diabetes manage their condition and improve their overall health and wellbeing."

WellCare of Georgia reports serving approximately 492,000 Medicaid members, 52,000 Medicare Advantage plan members and 26,000 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan members in Georgia, as of September 30.

Other WellCare plans have recently focused on helping their diabetic members. This fall, WellCare of Kentucky partnered with Kentucky Homeplace, a program of the University of Kentucky's Center of Excellence in Rural Health, to help Kentuckians with diabetes access health coaching. The results included ER visits dropped by 16 percent and hospital admissions were reduced by nearly 29 percent, according to WellCare of Kentucky. In addition, costs fell by 16.9 percent, or $3,424 per member per year.

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