Proper diabetes management is the key to helping patients live long, healthy lives. Unfortunately, the cost of this management can become quite burdensome, for both the physician and the patient. It takes a lot of time to help patients fully understand the extent of their condition and the steps they need to take to treat it. Patients must understand that while blood glucose level testing equipment is expensive, it is also a necessary part of their self-management system.
Patient Financial Incentives
Managing diabetes can be very costly. In addition to paying for visits to health care providers, patients must also pay for glucose meters, testing strips, special foods, and medications. These supplies take a great deal of financial resources, especially considering that they must be purchased for the rest of the patient’s life. Sometimes patients must travel long distances in order to meet with specialists.
While all these management supplies may be expensive, the incentive is that they are less expensive than treating the problems that arise from the mismanagement of diabetes. Surgeries to amputate limbs, fix clogged arteries, and repair heart damage are much more expensive. In addition, these conditions require more medications. Finally, these conditions often require hospital time, which causes an even greater financial burden.
Patients who participate in wellness programs may be able to receive discounts from their insurance companies. These companies realize that healthy lifestyles are critical to preventing acute and chronic diseases. Those patients who make an effort to exercise, stop smoking, and become educated are less likely to cost the insurance company large sums of money.
Physician Financial Incentives
Physicians also receive financial incentives for managing the diabetes of their patients. Health insurance companies often offer incentive programs called pay-per-performance. These programs provide financial incentives for physicians who are able to effectively manage the diabetes of their patients.
Patients with properly managed diabetes cost insurance companies less in the long run since they do not develop other condition. Providing financial incentives to physicians encourages them to take the extra time to discuss proper diabetes management with their patients. Without these incentives, this extra time might not be reimbursed. In addition, providing incentives helps providers to see the importance of helping their patients design diabetes management programs.
American Diabetes Association. _American Diabetes Association Complete Guide to Diabetes._Bantam Books:2006.