Diabetes and heart disease account for one of every four deaths in Minnesota and nearly $5 billion in annual health care costs. Reducing this impact is a top public health priority, and that work will accelerate soon thanks to new federal funding secured by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
MDH recently learned that Minnesota will receive more than $4 million per year over the next five years in grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to build on existing efforts to prevent heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Minnesota was competitively awarded funding over other states, in part because of established programs with state funding, such as the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP).
“Rising health care costs are a big concern, not just for individuals and families but for our entire state,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “Treating sick people is much more expensive than helping them stay healthy, so if we want to turn the curve on healthcare costs we need to focus on prevention. This new federal funding is a great step in that direction.”
The new federal funding will allow MDH to step up its work with partners in the community and healthcare settings to support Minnesotans’ efforts to live healthier. This includes preventing and better managing high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes through improved diet and becoming more active. MDH and community partners will tailor strategies to support those who lack access to care or are at a higher risk, such as those in Greater Minnesota, people of color and Minnesotans earning lower incomes.
Strategies will expand on existing SHIP health promotion efforts and will include:
• Implementing referrals between mental health care and primary care
• Exploring the use of technology such as mobile apps and telehealth
• Connecting people to community-based programs and resources to prevent diabetes and heart disease before the conditions start
• Expanding team-based care to engage pharmacists, community health workers and other care providers in chronic disease management and prevention
• Partnering with the HealthPartners Research Institute to further develop and integrate the Wizard tool, which helps care providers identify diabetes, chronic kidney disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and streamlines development of a treatment plan
• Increasing participation in the Diabetes Prevention Program, which has been proven to reduce risk of developing type 2 diabetes
MDH will receive an additional $923,000 in annual funding through a separate five-year CDC grant to implement strategies that support healthy eating, safe and accessible physical activity and breastfeeding.
All of the grants use federal dollars from the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund.