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Why Diabetes Lifestyle Interventions Changed to a Medicare-Covered Service

February 11, 2020

Collaboration, national standards, and public input were key in converting the evidence-based lifestyle intervention from the 2002 Diabetes Prevention Program trial into a service reimbursed by Medicare, according to a study published online in The Milbank Quarterly. 

“The translation of the National Diabetes Prevention Program lifestyle intervention from research to a Medicare‐covered service can serve as a model for national adoption of other interventions that have the potential to improve population health,” researchers wrote. 

For the study, investigators used the Knowledge to Action framework to track how diabetes trial information led to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Diabetes Prevention Program and, later, a reimbursable service under Medicare. 

Researchers identified a trio of important elements in the transition’s success:

  • collaboration among government agencies, academic researchers, community‐based healthcare providers, payers, and others in attracting early adopters;
  • the development of evidence‐based standards to support national adoption; and
  • input from community groups to scale the intervention to a national level.

“This analysis offers timely lessons for other high-value, scalable interventions attempting to move beyond the evidence-gathering phase and into translation and institutionalization,” researchers wrote. 

Jolynn Tumolo


Burd C, Gruss S, Albright A, Zina A, Schumacher P, Alley D. Translating Knowledge into Action to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes: Medicare Expansion of the National Diabetes Prevention Program Lifestyle Intervention [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jan 28]. Milbank Q. 2020;10.1111/1468-0009.12443. doi:10.1111/1468-0009.12443

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