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Asheville, N.C., leaders devoted more than two years to develop a chronic disease-management approach for city employees with diabetes.
To launch a similar program in a year, Ben Bluml, senior vice president of research and innovation at the American Pharmacists Association Foundation, suggests employers incorporate several things. They include:
Rethinking health coverage: Decide which medication and other medical care copayments will be waived or sharply reduced, depending upon the chronic health conditions targeted.
Building a counseling network: Engage for-profit disease-management firms to collaborate some state pharmacy associations.
Incorporating accountability: In exchange for free or reduced treatment costs, employees should be required to keep up with counseling sessions.
Standardizing data collection: Figure out which clinical and financial data should be tracked, and keep that consistent.
Sixteen years ago, Asheville, N.C., took on the challenge of trying to reduce the city's escalating health care costs.