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Raising Awareness of Diabetes in November
National Diabetes Month/Diabetic Eye Disease Month/World Diabetes Day

During the month of November, the United States draws attention to diabetes and its impact on public health through several national health observances, including National Diabetes Month, Diabetic Eye Disease Month, and World Diabetes Day – November 14. Millions of Americans have diabetes and don’t know it. Left undiagnosed or untreated, diabetes can lead to severe complications such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, amputation, and even premature death. However, with early diagnosis and treatment people with diabetes can take steps to control the disease and lower the risk of complications. CMS asks that you join us in increasing awareness of diabetes by talking with your patients about their risk factors. Additionally, you can reinforce the importance of early detection and treatment to prevent or delay many associated illnesses. You can also provide your patients referrals and appropriate documentation in order to utilize the appropriate Medicare-covered services.

National Diabetes Month

Throughout National Diabetes Month, the National Diabetes Education Program and its partners are highlighting the link between diabetes and heart disease with the theme “Be Smart About Your Heart: Control the ABCs of Diabetes”: A1C testing, blood pressure, cholesterol, and stop smoking. Medicare beneficiaries are covered for:

  • Diabetes screening tests
  • Diabetes self-management training
  • Medical nutrition therapy
  • Diabetes supplies
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Vaccinations for pneumonia and influenza
  • Annual Wellness Visit (Providing Personalized Prevention Plan Services)

Diabetic Eye Disease Month

This national health observance is designed to increase awareness about diabetic eye disease and the need for beneficiaries with diabetes to have an annual comprehensive dilated eye exam for the early detection and treatment of eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma to help prevent vision loss and blindness. Medicare provides coverage for the following eye health services:

  • Eye exam for diabetic retinopathy
  • Glaucoma screenings

World Diabetes Day – Nov 14

World Diabetes Day takes place on November 14th every year and is an official United Nations World Day. The focus for World Diabetes Day 2014 is on healthy eating and its importance both in the prevention of type 2-diabetes and diabetes management. Medicare provides coverage for the following nutrition-related health services:

  • Diabetes Self-Management Training (DSMT)
  • Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT)
  • Intensive Behavioral Therapy (IBT) for Obesity
  • Intensive Behavioral Therapy for Cardiovascular Disease
  • Annual Wellness Visit (Providing Personalized Prevention Plan Services)

Note: The Annual Wellness Visit presents an opportunity for health professionals to provide eligible Medicare beneficiaries with personalized health advice and referrals, as appropriate, to health education, preventive counseling services, and community-based lifestyle interventions, focusing on reducing health risks and promoting self-management and wellness, including weight loss, physical activity, smoking cessation, fall prevention, and nutrition.

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