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Diabetes educators and their supporters nationwide are being asked to rally behind congressional legislation that would establish a "national diabetes report card," promote better training of doctors with regard to reporting diabetes as a factor in births and deaths, and set federal standards requiring doctors to achieve a level of diabetes education before they can be licensed or certified.
Representative Zach Space (D-Ohio) recently reintroduced H.R. 1402, "The Catalyst to Better Diabetes Care Act of 2009," which he described as intended "to catalyze change in the care and treatment of diabetes in the United States." The bill has drawn official support from the American Association of Diabetes Educators, which is hoping that it will reinvigorate the diabetes education movement.
In recent years, funding for diabetes education, including coverage by health insurance plans and HMOs, has not kept pace with the growth of diabetes as a major U.S. health problem. An estimated 23.6 million Americans had the disease in 2007-7.8 percent of the U.S. population-and another estimated 5.7 million Americans currently are undiagnosed.
Diabetes educators often serve as both teachers and advocates, assisting newly diagnosed diabetes patients with setting up and adhering to diet and lifestyle changes and in many cases acting as go-betweens with doctors and patients.
H.R. 1402 has five major provisions that would affect the level of diabetes education:
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