In Pennsylvania, as many as 35.8% of adults have Prediabetes. Although more than one-third of the state’s population is battling with the precursor to Type 2 Diabetes, there is only one location in Pennsylvania that is an American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) approved site. Chester County Hospital achieved this singular designation because of its successful track-record for serving the community and its dedication to reversing the prevalence of diabetes in the Keystone State.

More than 84 million American adults - greater than one out of three - have prediabetes, and nine out of 10 people with prediabetes don’t know they have the condition. Prediabetes increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Lifestyle changes, including healthy eating and being more active, can cut the risk of getting type 2 diabetes in half. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) has been proven to help prevent or delay Type 2 Diabetes, and is the largest national effort to mobilize and bring effective lifestyle change programs to communities across the country. Chester County Hospital has taught the NDPP curriculum since 2013, and it continually exceeds the requirements of the CDC.

In 2010, Congress authorized the CDC to establish the NDPP. This program is an evidence-based, lifestyle-change program that teaches participants to make lasting changes, such as eating healthier, increasing daily physical activity and improving coping skills. The CDC selected six partner organizations in 2012 to expand the reach of the NDPP. These organizations were awarded a grant to help implement the NDPP. An overarching goal of the initiative behind the grant is to make the lifestyle-change program a covered health care benefit for people with prediabetes. The AADE was one of the six organizations awarded the grant. The grant funds a total of 46 AADE-accredited sites in 17 states to implement NDPP. Chester County Hospital is one of these 46 sites and the only one in Pennsylvania.

The National Diabetes Prevention Program at Chester County Hospital is a year-long group session that meets 22 times per year. For the first six months, there are 16 sessions that are considered to be the program’s core visits. Initially the group meets weekly, but then sessions are scheduled every two to three weeks until the six months are completed. The group then meets monthly after the core sessions have concluded. Members are taught a CDC-approved curriculum that covers physical activity, diet and lifestyle changes. They are also privately weighed, and they share their food tracking journals. To remain a recognized NDPP site, this de-identified data must be shared with the CDC every six months and the program must meet the minimum requirements.

The hospital’s NDPP groups consistently surpasses the CDC’s 5% weight loss requirement. Currently, their weight loss numbers are at 6.4%, compared to the statewide average of 5.7%. Its participants also exceed the CDC’s required minimums in attendance rate for core sessions, 10.8 compared to 9, and achieve a higher weekly physical activity record – 195 minutes compared to 150 minutes.

"While the DPP participants are obviously a big piece of these outcomes, Kim Beazley, RD, CDE, LDN, is the driving force for continually reaching these goals," Michele Francis, manager of Diabetes and Nutrition Services said. Beazley is the talented certified lifestyle coach who has led most of the NDPP programs at Chester County Hospital. She is also a certified Master Trainer, which means she is qualified and has trained other lifestyle coaches so that more participants can take advantage of the NDPP program.

Chester County Hospital holds two programs annually but hopes to increase that number and get more of the community involved so that NDPPs can be held at other community locations. "We’re really hoping to build capacity throughout the county so we can help more individuals with a prediabetes diagnosis, including those who speak Spanish," explained Francis.

A Medicare pilot group is currently being held at the hospital, because in April 2018, NDPP will become a reimbursable medical benefit by Medicare. It is the hope of AADE, the CDC and Chester County Hospital that NDPP will be a supported medical benefit by all insurance companies in the near future. Learn More about Chester County Hospital’s National Diabetes Prevention Program and the new Medicare benefit. Or call 610-738-2835.
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