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Starting your own Asheville-style program

Posted On: May. 5, 2013 12:00 AM CST

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.