According to a release by Walmart, more than 37 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, and its prevalence is expected to grow 54% by 2030.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), fewer than 20% of people with diabetes in the United States meet recommended treatment management goals, costing employers more than $20 billion per year. To better provide for patients with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and assist employers and other institutions supporting the specific health needs of their employees, national telehealth provider MeMD, part of the Walmart Health family, launched the Walmart Health Virtual Care Diabetes Program.
Available as a standalone or as part of a comprehensive medical and behavioral telehealth program, the Walmart Health Virtual Care Diabetes Program was developed for employers and payors to help their employees and members close gaps in diabetes management among employees and their families through early intervention, which could lead to better health outcomes.
“Walmart Health collaborated with the American Diabetes Association to bring this evidence-based virtual program to fruition,” said Dr. John Wigneswaran, MD, Walmart’s Chief Medical Officer. “Our aim is to empower patients with the most up-to-date diabetes education and clinical care so they can take control of their health. Our program focuses on a patient’s physical and mental health, which also helps employers maintain healthier workforces and drive down overall healthcare costs.”
“Failure to meet recommended treatment goals results in an extra five and a half days of missed work per person, according to the NIH, along with an increased risk of hospitalization,” Dr. Wigneswaran said. “This is compounded by the fact that patients with diabetes are two to three times more likely to have depression than those without diabetes, and addressing mental health is critical to caring for the whole patient.”
This integrated telehealth solution merges personalized diabetes education with behavioral health awareness and counseling. As part of the program, members participate in an initial consultation with a licensed medical provider to discuss patient history, eating habits and more, looking to identify gaps in care, depression risks and schedule a follow-up visit with licensed behavioral health therapists to address each area with a focus on mental health management.
“Diabetes is the third most common chronic condition in the nation, yet despite being highly manageable, it requires a concerted daily effort by patients to control a host of variables from managing blood glucose and insulin delivery to staying on top of blood pressure and cholesterol levels,” said Dr. David Carmouche, Walmart’s senior vice president of omnichannel care. “Through the Walmart Health Virtual Care Diabetes Program, our goal is to help break down barriers to effective care management in a way that empowers patients to take charge of their wellness.”
Additionally, patients can receive necessary vaccinations, low-cost insulin and diabetes medications at more than 4,600 Walmart pharmacies nationwide. Walmart is committed to increasing access to affordable medications through the company’s industry-leading $4 generic prescription program and low cost ReliOn insulin, as well as test kits and supplies. Patients are also educated about optional directed spend benefits for at-home diabetes management equipment, healthy food and more.
“At the American Diabetes Association, we believe successful diabetes management starts with knowledge,” said Dr. Robert Gabbay, Chief Scientific and Medical officer for the ADA. “Education is key, and we are proud to partner with Walmart Health to develop a virtual diabetes management program for businesses. We know the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted routine diabetes care, so it’s important to plug back in and make your health and diabetes management a priority. With proper care and management, you have the power to prevent or delay diabetes complications.”