Chronic Disease Management (CDM): Why ABQ Employees Need It Now

Well Life ABQ
July 1, 2021

Albuquerque, NM | Why do ABQ employers need Chronic Disease Management now? How does it benefit you and your employees for the short and long-term?

About 26% of New Mexicans (NMs) aged 45 years and older have chronic diseases. Based on NM’s health stats, five chronic diseases account for the leading causes of death. 

These chronic illnesses include cancer, diabetes, emphysema, heart disease, and stroke. Arthritis is another common chronic illness in NM. It’s considered a leading cause of disability in adults globally.

These chronic illnesses impact you and your employees in many ways. Well Life, a DPC provider, offers Chronic Disease Management for individuals and partner organizations. It helps your employees cope with the symptoms and consequences of their illness. At the same time, it results in cost-efficiency for you.

What is Chronic Disease Management?

Chronic Disease Management (CDM) means giving support during continuous care. Medical professionals deliver appropriate care, education, and resources to manage chronic disease.

The New Mexico State Health Improvement Plan for 2020-2022 prioritizes access to specific chronic diseases. Some of these conditions are obesity and diabetes. In addition, it includes goals and strategies to be implemented by partner organizations. 

There are other programs in the Plan to mitigate the risk factors of chronic diseases. These initiatives aim to reduce the burden caused by alcohol and cigarette use.

For one, chronic illnesses can be self-managed. Your employees can follow guidelines from the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program. The NM Department of Health promotes it. 

Stanford University developed and tested the program based on actual cases. It’s available in Bernalillo and other counties. It’s helpful for your employees who can manage the illness on their own.

On the other hand, there’s also DPC. It includes Chronic Disease Management among its many services. It’s known to reduce healthcare costs and the burden of the illness.

Healthcare professionals in DPC help manage the chronic disease of your employees. They can work with your employees who can also self-manage. It’s a way of empowering your employees to become self-efficient in handling their illness.

The key features of Chronic Disease Management are its multidisciplinary and collaborative approach.

1. Multidisciplinary

It focuses on the whole course of the disease. The approach includes screenings and regular check-ups. Medical professionals coordinate to manage the chronic condition of your employees. Chronic Disease Management incorporates client education and counseling into the program. 

2. Collaborative

A healthcare team is composed of medical professionals. They may include nurses, pharmacists, medical specialists, and lay health workers. They regularly communicate about the care program of your employees. They also actively participate in the delivery of care. For example, nurse case managers may lead a team. They coordinate with the members of the team to effectively deliver care interventions. 

These Chronic Disease Management features make DPC helpful for your employees. Based on a study, healthcare teams in primary care can improve the quality of care for people with chronic illnesses. Chronic Disease Management becomes effective through proper delegation. The roles of each team member are clearly defined. Thus, the team achieves continuity of primary care. And so are the goals of Chronic Disease Management.

What Are the Goals of Chronic Disease Management?

The goals are two-fold. Chronic Disease Management aims to improve the health of your employees who have chronic illnesses. The other goal is to reduce costs associated with the disease and its complications.

What Are the Risk Factors of Chronic Diseases?

The chronic diseases prevalent in New Mexico have common risk factors. Diabetes, emphysema, heart disease, stroke, and arthritis are different conditions. However, they share five similar risk factors:

  • Age and heredity - These can’t be changed. Age, genetics, and chronic diseases are linked together. The older you get, the more prone you are to developing chronic diseases. 

    At the same time, chronic diseases and aging share genetic factors, based on a study. What’s significant in the study is the suggestion of the researchers. They said the goal is extending health span more than biological life span. Health is adaptable, while heredity or life span is not.

  • Unhealthy diet - The lack of fruits and vegetables in the diet contributes to developing a chronic disease. Poor nutrition affects mental and physical functioning. It also results in obesity, which is another chronic disease and precursor to other chronic diseases.
  • Sedentary lifestyle - Your employees who are working in the office lack physical activity. So do your employees who are working from home during the pandemic. A sedentary lifestyle may lead to chronic diseases. Also, it makes your employees gain weight. Obesity is the top risk factor that adds to the burden of chronic illnesses. 
  • Cigarette smoking - There are millions of Americans who have chronic diseases due to smoking cigarettes. One of the dangers of smoking is emphysema. It’s when the airways, air sacs, and lung tissues get damaged through prolonged smoking. Emphysema is a preventable disease. Yet once your employee has it, it’s irreversible.  Smoking also causes other chronic diseases.
  • Excessive drinking of alcohol - Excessive can mean binge or heavy alcohol drinking. Binging is drinking more than four drinks on occasion. In contrast, heavy means 15 or more drinks per week. It can lead to alcoholism, which has surged during the pandemic. Moreover, prolonged excessive intake of alcohol leads to chronic diseases. These are cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

Why is Chronic Disease Management Critical for Your Employees as a Healthcare Benefit?

Chronic illnesses impact your employees physically, mentally, and socially. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with chronic diseases may suffer. Plus, they may experience one or all of these consequences.

  • Physical: Chronic illnesses such as arthritis or cancer can cause chronic pain. Your employee experiencing pain may take more sick leaves than others. It’s the same case for your employees with cancer. They experience pain and fatigue. They also have to leave work to attend their chemo sessions. As a result, there’s a loss of productivity due to absenteeism.
  • Mental: Most people with chronic illnesses feel depressed or anxious. The nature of their disease is physical, but it affects their mental state. Your employees worry about their health and quality of life. They think of how long they have to live with it. And they are bothered about the economic burden of their condition. Some of your employees may not afford the cost of medications or medical therapies. So it makes them insecure and sad.  

    Your employees’ mental state may impact your business. Depressed employees may not work as well as your average employees. It leads to less productivity or presenteeism. They report to work, but they aren’t making any output.
  • Social: Chronic diseases put a strain on relationships. People with chronic illnesses don’t feel good about themselves. They tend to withdraw from social or leisure activities or family gatherings. Your employees may have difficulty performing their tasks. At home, they may struggle with chores.

    They may feel a sense of losing control over situations. As a result, it leads to stress, frustration, and sometimes anger. An employee can project these negative feelings onto other employees or family members.

    As an employer, you have to deal with employee relations. Any discord affects the way your employees work together. It negatively affects the harmony and productivity of your employees.

Chronic Disease Management well life abq

  • Arthritis: Lost income associated with arthritis amounted to about $164 billion. At the same time, medical costs totaled about $140 billion in 2013.

  • Cancer: The CDC estimates the cost of cancer management $174 billion pre-pandemic.

  • Diabetes: Medical expenses and lost productivity from diabetes cost about $327 billion in 2017.

  • Heart disease and stroke: Healthcare expenses totaled about $138 billion annually due to loss of productivity.

What are the Benefits of Chronic Disease Management (CDM)?

Direct Primary Care (DPC) answers your employees’ chronic health needs in many ways. For example, at Well Life Family Practice, we offer Chronic Disease Management of the following A-Z conditions:

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Diabetes
  • Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Gout
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Hormone problems
  • Insomnia
  • Migraine
  • Skin diseases
  • Thyroid disorder

If DPC benefits your employees, so do you as an employer:

  1. Financial gain: Chronic Disease Management prevents diseases from worsening. It promotes proper monitoring of the disease status. Despite the lifetime illness, your employees can stay healthy. 

    Chronic Disease Management lessens your employees’ absences from work. It leads to better finances for your business. And if Chronic Disease Management manages their disease well, they may potentially live longer. Healthy employees equate to increased productivity.

  2. Savings: Keeping your employees healthy even with their chronic illnesses can save you a lot. Employees with unmanaged conditions often take sick leave. It’s on top of the increased health care plan. It’s costly for your employees with more hospital visits, medications, and therapeutic interventions. 

    According to the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, chronic illness management can save about $6 trillion by 2030. To regulate chronic disease expenses, DPC offers a fixed monthly rate. As a result, it saves money for your employees and you as an employer.

Attract the Best Talent in Albuquerque with Direct Primary Care

You can attract the best talents in Albuquerque by adding Direct Primary Care as an affordable healthcare benefit  that covers Chronic Disease Management!

It keeps your employees healthy as their chronic illness is attended to and monitored. Second, they perform well at work, so you won’t have to worry about lost productivity. Finally, it saves money for your employees and your business.

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