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Employer sees clear results


GREENSBORO, N.C.—In just three years, VF Corp. garnered savings averaging $5,115 per participant in a diabetes disease management program modeled after North Carolina's successful Asheville Project.

The 100-year-old apparel manufacturer in Greensboro, N.C., decided to try the program after Dan Garrett, senior director of medication adherence programs at the APhA Foundation, gave a presentation at the company that included information on the Asheville Project's track record, said Karla Tester, manager, health insurance, at VF.

Although the program required an upfront investment, the implementation cost was about equal to what the company already was spending each year to provide health care to its diabetic population--about $120,000, she said.

"With the initial cost being a break-even, we were fine to proceed. Our philosophy has always been that even with just a break-even return, you have improved the health of these employees," Ms. Tester said.

The program not only cut VF's health care costs but also saved participants' money, Ms. Tester said.

"In looking at a typical diabetic patient, the average monthly savings equates to approximately $100 to $125 a month," she said.

Currently, more than 150 participants are in the program, which is offered to VF employees in Alabama and North Carolina. The company is considering expansion to other states.

"Based on our results, and with the positive feedback we have received, the program will continue," Ms. Tester said. "There may be consideration of expansion to other key sites in the future. We are not sure at this time about the addition of other (types of) disease."