ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today announced the commitment of more than $94 million in new investments across Maryland to help people with prediabetes and diabetes prevent or manage their disease during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The $94 million of new investments I am announcing today will be used to help Marylanders across the state battle diabetes,” said Governor Hogan. “Even in the midst of a pandemic, diabetes continues to be one of the most devastating health issues in our state. And having diabetes puts individuals at risk of serious illness from COVID-19, so this comes at an important time.”

There are currently more than 2.1 million Marylanders with either diabetes or prediabetes, more than 34% of the total population, and many don’t even know it. Diabetes is the 6th leading cause of death in Maryland, and people with Type 2 diabetes have a greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Taken together, the measures being funded represent the first major community-based initiatives resulting from the Diabetes Action Plan, published last November. Developed with extensive input from community partners and diabetes experts, the Diabetes Action Plan catalogs the state of this disease among Maryland residents and outlines comprehensive community-based prevention, management and treatment initiatives. 

Today’s initiatives announced by the governor include:

Regional Catalyst Grant Program

Recently the Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) announced the award of its new competitive Regional Partnership Catalyst Grant Program, an investment of more than $86.3 million in Maryland hospitals and their community health resource partners to support diabetes prevention, education, and self-management training programs. The HSCRC grant provides an initial five-year funding stream to help hospitals launch interventions that can be sustained at the end of the grant.

CareFirst Investments in Community Health

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield will invest more than $6.6 million in four Maryland communities as part of a multi-year initiative to combat social and health disparities for people who are at risk for or have been diagnosed with diabetes. Thispledge will focus on steps and strategies that can be taken to intervene in areas where extensive data shows community and social factors contribute to the onset of diabetes. This work will be done in partnership with Local Health Improvement Coalitions (LHICs) and local health departments. LHICs are comprised of local partners, working with the health officers to create meaningful public-private partnerships supporting community wellness.

CHRC Partners with MDH and UMD to Support Local Health Coalitions

Maryland’s Community Health Resource Commission (CHRC), consistently supportive of the Diabetes Action Plan, recently awarded $1 million to Maryland’s local health departments to help LHICs expand capacity and build on innovative partnerships, services, and programming in communities at high-risk for diabetes.In an effort to maximize the impact of the grant funding, MDH will provide technical assistance to LHICs,in partnership with the Horowitz Center for Health Literacy in the School of Public Health, University of Maryland.

In addition, last year the CHRC issued 12 awards totaling $2.2 million to support projects in local communities in support of the Maryland Diabetes Action Plan through promoting food security and addressing other social determinants that impact diabetes.Addressing diabetes is a top funding priority of the CHRC, focusing on the Diabetes Action Plan recommendations to employ local action integrated with community approach in the fight against diabetes.

Along with these investments, Maryland’s Medicaid program added the National Diabetes Prevention Programs (NDPP) as a covered benefit last fall, providing both in-person and virtual access for eligible HealthChoice enrollees who may not have otherwise been able to afford it. The DPP is available through all nine of its Managed Care Organizations statewide.

Marylanders are urged to speak to their physician about their risk for diabetes, and go online to know their risk. An easy 60-second risk test  from the American Diabetes Association can help everyone: https://www.diabetes.org/risk-test


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