The Aetna grant will support the Center’s Healthy Georgia Diabetes and Obesity project, which is a collaboration of public and private sector leaders dedicated to improving the treatment and outcomes for people with diabetes, and to promoting early diagnosis and prevention of diabetes, including decreasing the prevalence of obesity.
The grant will go toward increased diabetes screening, as well as recruiting physicians to participate in Bridges to Excellence, a nationally recognized quality improvement program that uses established standards of care to reward physicians who consistently implement best practices.
"Aetna is committed to eradicating diabetes in Georgia and all of the other states in which we do business," said Cynthia Follmer, head of Aetna’s Georgia market. "In particular, we have focused on Georgia’s African American communities, which are struggling to reduce the incidence of diabetes and childhood obesity." Aetna is funding several diabetes education programs in Georgia, Follmer noted.
Basketball Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins, who spent the bulk of his 15-year NBA career with the Atlanta Hawks, and is an advisor to the CHT, joined representatives of Aetna and the CHT Foundation at a check-presentation ceremony.
Wilkins discussed his participation in the "Nique and Newt Full Court Press on Diabetes," an alliance with former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich that has promoted diabetes screening efforts in Gainesville and Columbus, Ga.
"By supporting the work of charities and non-profits engaged in delivering solutions that focus on preventing and managing diseases such as diabetes, we can save countless lives and millions of dollars," said Nancy Desmond, CEO for the CHT Foundation. "We are grateful that the Aetna Foundation has made such an important commitment to the state of Georgia and we are honored to be selected as one of the recipients of their generosity."
Diabetes is a common, serious and costly disease in Georgia. Approximately 7 percent of the adult population in the state has been diagnosed with diabetes. For every two patients diagnosed with diabetes, another has not been diagnosed. The prevalence of Type 2 diabetes is increasing throughout Georgia, including children and adolescents. In 2000, diabetes was the sixth-leading cause of death in Georgia, killing approximately 1,500 residents. Diabetes can contribute to heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and amputations. In Georgia, the cost of diabetes due to medical care, lost productivity and premature death is estimated at more than $4 billion per year.
Aetna provides health benefits to more than 500,000 members in Georgia.
Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 36.7 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities and health care management services for Medicaid plans. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, and government-sponsored plans in the U.S. and internationally. Aetna’s international businesses include Aetna Global Benefits, Aetna’s expatriate benefits division that focuses on providing comprehensive solutions to employees working, traveling and living in over 100 countries. www.aetna.com