Diabetes prevention could get Medicare coverage soon

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JEFFERSON CITY - Missourians struggling with type 2 diabetes could soon be getting some extra government assistance. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday that a pilot diabetes prevention program administered by the YMCA has met the standards to be covered by Medicare.

There are 43 participating YMCAs in Missouri that are a part of the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program, with a majority concentrated around St. Louis and Kansas City. 

The Department said the program, created by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), improved the health of its participants, and would actually save money on Medicare spending.

According to the Department of Health, one third of Medicare money nationally goes to patients with diabetes. So, even increasing Medicare spending to cover the program would still save money in the long run.

The local YMCA in Jefferson City has yet to be trained in the program, however, employees were excited about the idea of adopting the program should it be covered by Medicare. 

If approved, it would be the first preventative program ever to receive Medicare coverage.