Preventing and controlling diabetes in the workforce has become a top priority for many of BarnesCare's client companies, especially those with employees who must pass medical certification requirements set by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Individuals with A1c levels indicating their diabetes is not under control cannot receive full DOT certification.
Over the past two years, BarnesCare's diabetes education program has been instrumental in helping employees reach goals such as losing weight, preventing a diagnosis of diabetes or improving the outcomes of their conditions.
The program is led by Jennifer A. Markee, LMSW, CDE. Markee is a Certified Diabetes Educator and medical social worker with over 16 years of experience in diabetes education. Markee is well-versed in the lifestyle components of diabetes self-management and technological advances such as insulin pump therapy and continuous glucose monitoring systems.
Markee says that many patients, especially those with type II diabetes or pre-diabetes who make up the vast majority of the current diabetes “epidemic,” need more than just traditional diabetes care. These patients benefit greatly from lifestyle and behavior changes, she says, and the best time to reach them is during the workday.
Markee sees patients at either their worksite or at BarnesCare, rather than a hospital or doctor’s office. “Diabetes self-management doesn’t just happen in the hours at home and off work,” she says. “To be successful, individuals must learn how to incorporate the healthiest lifestyle and eating habits into all aspects of daily life.”
This approach can also benefit employers, who end up spending millions to pay for workers suffering from diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that diabetes costs about $176 billion in direct medical expenses. “And that doesn’t cover indirect costs like absenteeism and disability,” says Markee.
For example, the Department of Transportation (DOT) certification requires some commercial drivers to submit A1c lab tests, which indicate how well a person is controlling their disease. In some cases, the DOT limits or denies certification to drivers whose diabetes isn’t controlled. Thorough education coupled with an understanding of how to incorporate healthy behaviors into their lives can help people maintain their livelihood, says Markee.
"The BarnesCare program is adjusted to each individual's needs and lifestyle," says Markee. "Learning the ways to control diabetes effectively allows each employee the opportunity to determine their own health outcomes."
For more information on BarnesCare’s diabetes program, call 314-747-5859.