new job title for druggists: diabetes coach
december 30, 2006
asheville, n.c.-in an office behind the hershey's candy rack at a kerr drug here, stuart rohrbaugh shifts in his chair as his pharmacist stares at a dangerously high blood sugar reading from last month...
for the past 10 years, the city of asheville has given free diabetes medicines and supplies to municipal workers who have the disease if they agree to monthly counseling from specially trained pharmacists. the results, city officials say, have been dramatic: within months of enrolling in the program, almost twice as many have their blood sugar levels under control. in addition, the city's health plan has saved more than $2,000 in medical costs per patient each year.
there are at least 21 million diabetics in the united states, and health officials have begun to despair of combating the disease because it involves getting people to do something much more difficult than taking their medicine or having surgery: altering their daily behavior, like their eating and exercise habits....
indeed, in recent years, about 40 other employers across the country-private companies or municipalities-have adopted versions of the program.