Skip to content Skip to navigation

Harvard Study Finds N.C. Diabetes 'Epidemic' Costs Billions

May 30, 2014
by John DeGaspari
| Reprints
Broad-based solutions urged, including telemedicine and self-management programs

A new Harvard study says diabetes rates in North Carolina have nearly doubled in 20 years, Philanthropy North Carolina has reported.

That surge costs billions of dollars in medical spending and a less efficient workforce, according to the study from Harvard Law School. At its current pace, it says, diabetes is on track to cost the state's public and private sectors over $17 billion a year in medical expenses and lost productivity by 2025.

Diabetes is now the seventh-leading cause of death in the state, where the disease is far more prevalent than in the U.S. overall, the study says. And among African Americans and American Indians in the state, it is the fourth-leading and third-leading cause of death, respectively.

The study, “2014 New Carolina State Report: Providing Access to Healthy Solutions (PATHS)—The Diabetes Epidemic in North Carolina: Policies for Moving Forward” calls for “multipronged changes to the state's healthcare, nutrition and physical activity landscapes.

Among those recommendations are:

  • Expand telemedicine programs and access to durable medical equipment and insulin.
  • Increase access to diabetes prevention and self-management programs.
  • Promote “team-based, whole-person models” to deliver and finance diabetes care.

Other recommendations include improved behavioral health services for people with diabetes, increased economic and geographic access to healthy food, more opportunities for physical activities, and nutrition and cooking education, and expanded programs for early childhood, school food, nutrition and wellness.

The study was funded through a grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. Philanthropy North Carolina reported on the study in a joint project with, with funding from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.




CMS Hospital Compare Website Updated with VA Data

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced the inclusion of Veterans Administration (VA) hospital performance data as part of the federal agency’s Hospital Compare website.

CMS Awards Funding to Special Innovation Projects

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded 20, two-year Special Innovation Projects (SIPs) aimed at local efforts to deliver better care at lower cost.

Center of Excellence in Genomic Science to be Established in Chicago

The National Human Genome Research Institute has awarded $10.6 million over five years for the establishment of a new research center in Chicago to advance genomic science.

EHNAC and HITRUST Combine HIPAA Security Criteria, CSF Framework

The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC) and the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) announced plans to streamline their accreditation and certification programs.

Halamka on MACRA Final Rule: “CMS is Listening and I Thank Them”

Health IT notable expert John Halamka, M.D., CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, recently weighed in on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) final rule.

Texas Patient Care Clinic Hit with Ransomware Attack

Grand Prairie, Texas-based Rainbow Children's Clinic was the victim of a ransomware attack on its IT systems in August, affecting more than 33,000 patients, according to multiple news media reports this week.