Jacksonville, FL – Diabetes—and its growing prevalence across the nation—is a top concern for workers’ compensation programs due to the medical complications and increased costs that the condition brings to claims. A study published in 2015 by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that nearly 50 percent of adults in the U.S. either have diabetes or pre-diabetes, a condition in which elevated blood sugar levels already exist making it highly likely that diabetes will follow.
To help risk and insurance professionals understand the impact that diabetes has on workers’ compensation claims, Eric Patten, RN, Regional Clinical Director at One Call Care Management (“One Call”), delivered the educational session, “Diabetes: Avoiding & Managing Its Adverse Impact on Claimant Recovery,” at the 2016 CAJPA Conference, September 13-16 in South Lake Tahoe, California.
It’s estimated that 29.1 million Americans have diabetes. The speaker Eric Patten, RN, is one of them. From his personal experience with diabetes, with more than 12 years of experience as a catastrophic nurse case manager and 23 years of overall nursing experience, he explained the condition—and how diabetes can adversely affect the recovery process for injured workers.
“Poorly controlled diabetes can result in many complications, including delayed healing, infections, and increased recovery times—all factors that drive up claims costs and disability duration,” said Patten. “As a result, it’s vital that claims professionals identify early on whether injured workers have diabetes and if the condition is being properly controlled. If blood sugar levels are persistently elevated, claimants may have issues that require special treatment, ongoing monitoring and proactive management in order to facilitate a safe and prompt return to work.”
It’s estimated that diabetes costs $245 billion a year in healthcare services, as well as lost productivity, according to the JAMA study. In his presentation, Patten outlined systematic complications and long-term repercussions that can result from uncontrolled diabetes, as well as various treatment considerations.
“Nutritional counseling is a key component for claimants to understand how food is affecting their blood sugar levels—and how that in turn impacts the healing process,” said Patten. “There are different nutritional approaches, any of which can work to control diabetes as long as they’re consistently followed. It’s also important to be aware of today’s many advancements, including wearable insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitoring and improved oral medications—all of which make diabetes management easier for patients.”
If you were unable to attend this session at CAJPA, Patten will be giving two additional talks on this same topic at the Council of Self Insured Public Agencies (COSIPA) on October 13, 2016 in Concord, CA and on October 27, 2016 in Costa Mesa, CA.
1Menke, A., PhD, Casagrande, S., PhD, Geiss, L., MA, Cowie, C. C., PhD. (2015). Prevalence of and Trends in Diabetes Among Adults in the United States, 1988-2012. Journal of the American Medical Association, 314 (10): 1021-1029.
Source: One Call