We’ve Got an “App” for That

July 25, 2016 · NCQA Communications


Diabetes HEDIS Measure for People with Mental Illness


“We’ve got an app for that!” We say that a lot around here at NCQA – and by “app” we mean “measure,” as in HEDIS. And yes, there’s a HEDIS Measure for diabetes and cardiovascular disease screening and monitoring for people with mental illness. This is important – especially – considering news from the Health Care Cost Institute, whose study on diabetes heath care costs found that young adults (19-25) with diabetes are four times more likely to be hospitalized for mental health or substance use than those without the disease.

About the Report

The 2014 Diabetes Health Care Cost and Utilization Report examines health care spending for adults and children with diabetes; where the money is spent and how that compares to people without diabetes. It is based on the health care claims of more than 40 million Americans younger than 65 and covered by employer-sponsored insurance from 2012 to 2014.

In 2014 there were 37 mental health and substance use hospitalizations per 1,000 young adults with diabetes—a 23.4 percent increase from 2013.

In a piece about this study, Michelle Andrews, health reporter for Kaiser Health News, emphasizes the psychological toll that diabetes can have on young adults. Michelle spoke with Tina Drossos, a clinical psychologist at the University of Chicago Medicine Kovler Diabetes Center, who agrees that young people can find the disease particularly challenging. “It’s a 24/7 disease,” she says, requiring kids to continually test their blood, monitor their carbohydrates, and take more insulin if their blood sugar gets too high.

In 2010, heart disease and diabetes were the leading causes of death in the United States.

Because persons with serious mental illness who use antipsychotics are at increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, screening and monitoring of these conditions is important.

Lack of appropriate care for diabetes and cardiovascular disease for people with mental illness, specifically schizophrenia or bipolar disorder can lead to worsening health and death. Addressing these physical health needs of these patients is an important way to improve health and economic outcomes in the future.

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