Employers in Greater Houston Targeted at Texas Engagement Meeting
Saturday, May 13, 2017
Texas is such a big state--its population is nearly 28 million. The state health department chose to concentrate efforts on the 6.8 million residents of the Greater Houston Area in their work to scale and sustain the National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP) and the CDC-recognized lifestyle change program.
“It made sense for us to focus on the Houston area and build on the foundation of work that had already begun to take shape with our partners,” said Richard Kropp, Manager of the Diabetes Prevention and Control Branch of the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS). “With the assistance from the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors and CDC, we were able to bring key stakeholders together to meet in person and draft an action plan that will serve as a model for other areas in the state.” The Association provided Texas with overall guidance, pre-meeting planning, on-site facilitation, and post-meeting implementation assistance. As a result of these efforts, the Association and the Texas state health services department held the Putting Diabetes Prevention to Work: Houston Implements the National Diabetes Prevention Program Meeting in February with several key partners serving on the planning committee:
- Cities Changing Diabetes - Novo Nordisk-funded program to map the impact of diabetes in Houston and to generate solutions to reduce its incidence and severity
- Texas AHEC East, Great Houston Area - seeks to make communities healthier, especially in under-served areas
- Houston Business Coalition on Health - the leading resource for Houston employers dedicated to providing health benefits at a sustainable cost
The meeting centered on three pillars to expand the National DPP: 1) availability of CDC-recognized lifestyle change programs; 2) screening, testing and referrals; and 3) coverage, with a special emphasis on large employers. A priority and key action steps were determined for each of these pillars and stakeholders agreed to lead or collaborate to complete the action steps. The planning committee is soliciting feedback from additional stakeholders before finalizing the plan.
Dr. Chris Skisak, executive director of the Houston Business Coalition on Health, believes early engagement with employers and investors is critical for launching DPP in Houston. “Success relies on employers wanting to implement the DPP, health plans that are willing to fund it, and broker consultants on board to recommend it.” he said. Skisak recommends states work with employers to promote the National DPP in the following ways:
- It is critical to have the right people at the table. If you want to increase coverage of the National DPP, be sure to work with health plans, key employers, health care business coalition members and if possible, broker consultant groups. One way to do this is to reach out to the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions (formerly the National Business Coalition on Health) and find out if your state has a coalition. The alliance represents 50 coalitions throughout the country, including 12,000 employers, and covers 41 million lives. They share evidence-based strategies and practices, while using their collective influence to assist employers to effectively and efficiently deliver the spectrum of their health benefits investments. Build a relationship with the coalition to develop an access route to the right employer and broker coalition members.
- To ensure there is action behind your diabetes prevention action plan, make sure that your implementation taskforce includes those who are willing to put in the sweat equity to make it happen.
Skisak was instrumental in securing many of the speakers at the Houston engagement meeting, including Dr. Todd L. Hamel and Pam Murphey from Dow Chemical who shared their experience offering the DPP to employees (see below for more information). Skisak will lead efforts outlined in Houston’s action plan to pilot the DPP with six Houston employers of large, medium and small businesses. Skisak will share the results of the pilot with the Houston Business Coalition on Health members at their annual meeting in March 2018. For more information contact Trish Herrmann.
Dow Chemical Offers Diabetes Prevention to Employees
You already may know that Dow Chemical is one of the largest chemical manufacturers in the world. But did you know that they offer diabetes prevention services for their employees? In 2004, Dow leadership set a goal to focus on total worker health. As a self-funded healthcare employer, Dow was naturally interested in realizing cost savings. After a thorough review of data on population health management, they realized that a program to prevent diabetes would be a sound business decision that could improve productivity, reduce absenteeism, contribute to better employee health, and save on healthcare costs. Because of the solid evidence behind the National Diabetes Prevention Program and the CDC-recognized lifestyle change program, Dow made a commitment in 2016 to implement the program. They offer the program onsite, virtually, and also through community organizations for those employees who wanted to attend classes outside of their work environment. Dow listened to employees and provided these options to meet their specific needs. Learn more about Dow’s experiences offering the DPP to their employees by viewing their presentation made during the February Texas DPP state engagement meeting.