American Diabetes Association® Supports Legislation to Expand Access to Diabetes Self-Management Training for Medicare Beneficiaries


Michelle Kirkwood

Arlington, Virginia
March 15, 2019

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) applauds the re-introduction of the Expanding Access to Diabetes Self-Management Training (DSMT) Act in the U.S. Senate. The ADA thanks Senate Diabetes Caucus co-chairs Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) for re-introducing this important legislation which will expand access to DSMT services for people with diabetes who are on Medicare.

DSMT is an evidence-based program that teaches people living with diabetes how to cope with and manage their diabetes and reduce their risk for complications by monitoring their blood sugar, taking appropriate medication, healthy eating, and being active. Studies have shown that utilizing DSMT can help people with diabetes lower their blood glucose levels and improve their A1C by as much as 1% for people with type 2 diabetes.

DSMT has been covered under Medicare for more than 15 years. However, only five percent of Medicare beneficiaries with newly diagnosed diabetes use DSMT services. The Expanding Access to DSMT Act would take steps to remove barriers to participating in DSMT by expanding the number of DSMT training hours covered under Medicare, allowing medical nutrition therapy, an important component of diabetes management, to be provided on the same day as DSMT, and broadening the scope of providers, such as doctors and nurses, who can prescribe DSMT. In addition, this legislation will improve access to DSMT by removing patient cost-sharing, clarifying that DSMT can be provided in community-based locations and not just hospitals, and creating a pilot program to test the effectiveness of providing DSMT virtually to people with diabetes in underserved areas.

A recent budget analysis of this legislation, provided by IHS Markit, found that this bill would save the Medicare program between $4.9 and $9.4 billion over ten years, also resulting in a savings of between $9,470 and $12,760 per beneficiary.

“In the United States, one in four Americans over the age of 65 is living with diabetes,” said LaShawn McIver, MD, MPH, ADA’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs & Advocacy. “The health care system will not be able to afford the increased costs of care for seniors living with diabetes unless complications are reduced by programs that have proven results, like DSMT. We strongly support this legislation and look forward to working with Senators Shaheen and Collins to advance this bill in Congress.”

About the American Diabetes Association
Approximately every 21 seconds, someone in the United States is diagnosed with diabetes. Nearly half of the American adult population has diabetes or prediabetes, and more than 30 million adults and children are living with the disease. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization on a mission to prevent and cure diabetes, as well as improve the lives of all people affected by the disease. For nearly 80 years, the ADA has driven discovery by funding research to treat, manage and prevent all types of diabetes, while working relentlessly for a cure. Magnifying the urgency of this epidemic, the ADA works to safeguard policies and programs that protect people with the illness, those at risk of developing diabetes and the health care professionals who serve them by initiating programs, advocacy and education efforts that can lead to improved health outcomes and quality of life. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit us at Information is available in English and Spanish. Join the conversation with us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn). 

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