To better provide for patients with diabetes and to help businesses and other institutions support their employees’ health, national telehealth provider MeMD, which is part of Walmart Health, has introduced the Walmart Health Virtual Care Diabetes Program.
Available by itself or as part of a comprehensive medical and behavioral telehealth program, the program was created for employers and payors to assist their employees and members in closing gaps in diabetes management for themselves and their families through early intervention, which could result in better health outcomes.
“Walmart Health collaborated with the American Diabetes Association to bring this evidence-based virtual program to fruition,” noted Dr. John Wigneswaran, M.D., chief medical officer at Walmart. “Our aim is to empower patients with the most up-to-date diabetes education and clinical care so they can take control of their health. Our program focuses on a patient’s physical and mental health, which also helps employers maintain healthier workforces and drive down overall health care costs.”
Added Wigneswaran: “Failure to meet recommended treatment goals results in an extra five and a half days of missed work per person, according to the NIH, along with an increased risk of hospitalization. This is compounded by the fact that patients with diabetes are two to three times more likely to have depression than those without diabetes, and addressing mental health is critical to caring for the whole patient.”
The integrated telehealth solution combines personalized diabetes education with behavioral health awareness and counseling. Program participants have an initial consultation with a licensed medical provider to go over the patient’s history, eating habits and more, to identify gaps in care and depression risks, with the opportunity to schedule a follow-up visit with licensed behavioral health therapists to address each area through a focus on mental health management.
“Diabetes is the third most common chronic condition in the nation, yet despite being highly manageable, it requires a concerted daily effort by patients to control a host of variables, from managing blood glucose and insulin delivery to staying on top of blood pressure and cholesterol levels,” said Dr. David Carmouche, Walmart’s SVP of omnichannel care. “Through the Walmart Health Virtual Care Diabetes Program, our goal is to help break down barriers to effective care management in a way that empowers patients to take charge of their wellness.”
Additionally, patients can access necessary vaccinations and low-cost insulin and diabetes medications at more than 4,600 Walmart pharmacies across the country. The retailer offers affordable medications through its $4 generic prescription program and low-cost ReliOn insulin, along with test kits and supplies. Patients also learn about optional directed spend benefits for at-home diabetes management equipment, healthy food and more.
“At the American Diabetes Association, we believe successful diabetes management starts with knowledge,” said Dr. Robert Gabbay, chief scientific and medical officer for the association. “Education is key, and we are proud to partner with Walmart Health to develop a virtual diabetes management program for businesses. We know the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted routine diabetes care, so it’s important to plug back in and make your health and diabetes management a priority. With proper care and management, you have the power to prevent or delay diabetes complications.”
Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart operates approximately 10,500 stores under 46 banners in 24 countries, and e-commerce websites, employing 2.2 million-plus associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.