No other agency is yet offering the program. "We would like to offer it, but we can't use medical claims for a program delivered by lay people," said Nidia Henderson, Public Employees Insurance Agency wellness coordinator. The 16-session NDPP program is delivered by trained coaches who are certified by CDC-approved programs.
"We're working very hard to solve the reimbursement problem nationwide," Allbright said. "We aim to have all insurance paying for it."
There is solid research that shows the program gets the same positive results with certified trainers, whether or not they are health professionals, she said.
Cindy Fitch, WVU Extension director of Families and Health programs, said several of her staff members are certified and ready to start the program in seven counties. "We may have to start without insurance reimbursement. We think it's important to begin."
WVU's Extension Service hopes to eventually offer the program statewide. Marshall University will also soon offer the program.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., has submitted a bill to allow Medicare to reimburse agencies for providing the NDPP program. Medicaid and Medicare insure approximately 40 percent of West Virginians.
It will take similar federal action for Medicaid, said Nancy Atkins, state Medicaid commissioner. "Medicaid is not known for paying for prevention, but we've got to do things differently. We can't keep paying for more and more diabetes."
Wood, with the diabetes prevention and control program, said her office would soon offer an informational webinar for interested groups. "We're moving forward," she said.
Her staff is helping health agencies use the state's diabetes registry to identify their pre-diabetic patients "so they can be ready to help them take preventative steps."
The NDPP focuses on pre-diabetic adults, Allbright said, but similar programs need to be created for children.
In a videotaped message, Rockefeller called Type 2 diabetes "a statewide epidemic" and urged the group to take serious action.
Reach Kate Long at 304-348-1798 or katel...@wvgazette.com.
"The Shape We're In" has been partially funded by a Dennis A. Hunt Fund for Health Journalism fellowship, administered by the California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.