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UChicago Medicine Helps Employees Prevent Type 2 Diabetes with Lifestyle Change Program

By MBGH Information posted 11-18-2021 08:58 AM


First year savings estimated at $205,000 and weight loss of almost 2,000 pounds for participants

CHICAGO – November 18, 2021 –
The impact of type 2 diabetes is staggering, costing US employers $327 billion in medical expenses and lost productivity in 2017 alone*. As this condition is preventable, the University of Chicago Medicine is participating in the National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP), a lifestyle change initiative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Initial results were positive with 288 employees engaged in a full year of support losing 1,791 pounds, a projected savings of $205,000 in avoidable health care costs** associated with the transition to type 2 diabetes, and a 93% participant satisfaction rating. 

Initially offered to employees enrolled in the preferred provider organization (PPO) plan to demonstrate value, the program has expanded to all covered employees with a total of 419 participants enrolled as of October. The National DPP helps participants make positive lifestyle changes such as eating healthier and getting more physical activity. The UChicago Medicine program is a collaboration with the Midwest Business Group on Health under a grant from the Illinois Department of Public Health and supported by the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors.

“This lifestyle change program has been an important investment in growing our culture of health,” said Mandy Clay, senior specialist, Employee Benefits & Wellness, UChicago Medicine. “In just over a year, we have seen incredible results that exceeded our expectations even during a challenging year. Our employees are excited to grow relationships and build lifelong healthy habits.” 

University of Chicago Medicine is a 1,296-bed academic health system with about 12,000 employees who work across the Chicagoland area. 

Participants with prediabetes that took part in the National DPP structured lifestyle change initiative in other cities have been found to cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% (71% for people over 60 years old).

Working collaboratively with MBGH, UChicago Medicine built a concept summary that evolved over time. ROI calculators, available on the National DPP Coverage Toolkit website, assisted in building the case for coverage. UChicago Medicine looked at its aggregated employee medical claims data and estimated how much would be spent if nothing were done, and the cost of employees developing type 2 diabetes versus the costs of a program to prevent diabetes.

“Type 2 diabetes is a costly issue for employers, as those with diabetes incur about 2.3 times higher medical expenses than that of a person without* and negatively impacts workforce productivity,” said Judy Hearn, director membership initiatives, MBGH. “This condition is largely preventable and programs that focus on education and lifestyle change can significantly impact employee health and lower health care costs for employers. The program with UChicago Medicine is an excellent example of the impact that prevention efforts can have in cost savings and prevention efforts.”


About the Midwest Business Group on Health

MBGH is one of the nation’s leading non-profit employer coalitions of over 140 mid, large and jumbo self-funded public and private employers, representing over 4 million lives and annually spending over $12 billion on health care. Members consist of leading health benefit professionals, with activities focused on employer-directed education, research, benchmarking and community-based initiatives that increase the value of health benefits and health care services. For additional details visit www.mbgh.org and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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**Estimate is based on the amount of weight lost by participants, projected as a three-year risk reduction, and weight loss maintained through week 26 of the program.

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