State Officials Announce Diabetes Action Plan

CHICAGO— Today State Representative Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) joined House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Nirav Shah joined dozens of advocates and members of the healthcare community on Diabetes Awareness Day to announce the state’s Diabetes Action Plan.

Rep. Patti Bellock speaks at today's press conference.
 “We recognize that diabetes is a huge epidemic in our state and our nation,” said Rep. Durkin. “It is very important that we are proactive and try to help those who are most at risk for Type 2 diabetes get the education and treatment they need. It’s also important that we educate parents and family members on the warning signs of Type 1 diabetes to begin treatment as soon as possible.”

The goal of the plan is to reduce the social and economic burden of diabetes on our state by providing knowledge, education and access to care. The plan will contain three strategic priority areas:

1. Data & Health Information Technology with statewide systems to support data, health IT and quality improvement.
2. Finance and Reimbursement for accredited diabetes programs to increase access and reduce barriers to care.
3. Community – Clinical Linkages which includes strengthening care coordination mechanisms and integrating screening tools and referral mechanisms that incorporate health equity in clinical and community settings.

“It's estimated that two out of five people will develop diabetes in their life.  In Illinois, more than 1.3 million adults have diabetes and another 3.6 million have prediabetes," said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D.  "The Illinois Diabetes Action Plan is the result of a comprehensive, collaborative effort to prioritize diabetes prevention and control in the state of Illinois."

IDPH will oversee the implementation of the Diabetes Action Plan working with all diabetes stakeholders throughout the state.

"Diabetes in Illinois continues to increase each year. Although we have seen progress, there are still numerous gaps in care and awareness among individuals at risk," said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D.  "Goals of the Illinois Diabetes Action Plan include increasing awareness, education, and knowledge about diabetes; improving care coordination and the quality of care; and identifying, assessing, and reducing barriers to behavioral changes such as a lack of prevention programs, transportation, and finances."

Over the past year, through a federal ASTHO grant in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control, the Illinois Department of Public Health was able to bring together dozens of organizations and stakeholders to collaborate on the plan to provide the best outcome for the Diabetes Action Plan. The state is one of the first in the country to create a plan in this innovative way.

“The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association found that nationwide, diabetes has a greater health impact on commercially insured Americans than COPD, breast cancer, and asthma combined," said Clarita Santos, Executive Director of Community Health Initiatives for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. "At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, we see how this chronic condition impacts our members, our communities, and often our families and we've dedicated many of our resources to building awareness and offering support." Blue Cross Blue Shield and Novo Nordisk hosted today’s event.

The Diabetes Action Plan was originally sponsored by Durkin in the House with House Bill 2199 which was signed into law on July 18, 2013.  People living with diabetes are at a far higher risk for health complications including being 2 to 4 times more likely to have a stroke and heart disease. Diabetes is also the number one cause of non-traumatic limb amputation. A prediabetes risk test can be found at Those who are at higher risk for diabetes are encouraged to talk to their doctor and get tested for diabetes today.

The 10,000 step walk scheduled for today will be rescheduled for Diabetes Alert Day in March due to weather.

More information on the burden of diabetes in Illinois and the state’s Diabetes Action Plan can be found at

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