A Team Approach to Managing Members with Diabetes

Last update: Oct 1, 2020

A Message from Scott A. Edmonds, OD,

Chief Medical Officer – Vision Benefits

Caring for people with diabetes is a team effort for everyone involved in their care. The eye is a critical organ in the overall management. It can easily be examined in a non‑invasive way on a regular basis. It’s often the first place in the body to detect end-organ damage and is a subtle indicator of a progression of the disease.

Although the presence of diabetic retinopathy has been the gold standard to indicate inadequate glucose management, new high-level optical coherence tomography can detect vascular changes before they are visible with traditional ophthalmoscopic techniques.

This and other subtle ocular changes are changing the standards of eye care for the diabetic population. Diabetics suffer from a host of other eye and vision problems that affect their quality of life. These problems, revealed in a comprehensive annual eye examination, are often subtle, but affect the patient’s ability to perform everyday tasks. Some of these include dry eyes, refractive shifts, convergence problems, early cataracts and low-tension glaucoma.

Any of these diabetic eye changes can be a signal of inadequate blood sugar control, but do not tell the whole story. Only in conjunction with fasting blood sugars, HA1C results and other clinical findings can diabetes be appropriately managed using the host of new treatment options now available.

Coordination among all care providers who care for patients with diabetes allows improved control of this complex disorder. MARCH®  Vision Care supports this team approach by faxing a letter to the primary care provider (PCP) when any patient has an exam. The PCP is also identified in the eligibility file that MARCH®  receives. In addition to the procedure codes and some diagnosis codes, this letter includes the name and telephone number of the vision provider so a complete medical record from the eye exam can be obtained from the vision provider.

Working together, we can improve coordination of care and help our members deal with diabetes and related issues.