Pharmacist-Provided Diabetes Education and Management in a Diverse, Medically Underserved Population

Pharmacist-Provided Diabetes Education and Management in a Diverse, Medically Underserved Population

Diabetes prevalence continues to rise in the United States, affecting more than 30 million people (9.4% of the population) in 2015 (1). Diabetes is expensive in terms of both direct medical costs and indirect costs of disability, lost work productivity, and premature death. The estimated cost of diabetes in the United States was $245 billion in 2012 (2). Optimizing care by facilitating glycemic control, patient education, preventive health screenings, and adherence to the treatment regimen have been suggested as methods to decrease the cost of this disease (3).There are inequalities in the disease burden of diabetes in the United States. The prevalence, incidence, and complications rates of diabetes are higher in non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native populations (4,5). Minority, low-income, and uninsured people have a higher risk for omissions of recommended diabetes prevention services (6). Furthermore, people who are non-English–speaking may experience barriers to effective diabetes medication management, including prohibitive costs of medications, hindered communication, knowledge deficits, and difficulties in understanding (7). The American Diabetes Association consistently identifies the promotion of health equity for populations disparately affected by diabetes as an advocacy priority (8).Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) provide primary care, behavioral health services, dental care, and other health care services to medically underserved populations. These safety-net clinics work to reduce barriers to health and health care in low-income populations disproportionately affected by chronic disease by increasing access to health care providers and medications (9,10). In 2016, FQHCs provided care to more than 26 million patients, more than half of whom had an income below the federal poverty level. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) reported in its 2016 health center data report that 32.1% of the more than 2 million patients with diabetes receiving care at FQHCs had …

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