RICHMOND, Va. -- Ukrop's "Living Healthy with Diabetes" in-store educational program recently received recognition from the American Diabetes Association for meeting the national standards for excellence in diabetes education, according to John Beckner, director of pharmacy and whole health for the retailer.
The Alexandria, Va.-based ADA's stamp of approval lets customers know that Ukrop's has an accomplished diabetes education program, Beckner told SN.
"It's the standard by which every diabetes education program is judged," he said. "If you achieve it, everyone recognizes that you have a quality program."
According to Dolly Bronzini, director of recognition programs for the ADA, the acknowledgement is "a real quality point for patients looking for quality education."
It also provides the retailer a "first step" in getting Medicare reimbursement for the education program, Beckner said, which will help Ukrop's patients recoup the costs of the classes.
However, Tim Robertson, staff pharmacist, certified diabetes educator and program coordinator for Ukrop's, said obtaining a provider number from Medicare could be a challenge because pharmacies traditionally have not requested reimbursement for educational services.
"That's definitely going to be the biggest challenge, getting reimbursement from third parties, but the recognition is going to help with that," he said.
The six-week comprehensive program consists of seven classes covering all aspects of diabetes education, ranging from dietary management to blood-sugar home monitoring to exercise instruction. It is available four times a year at five Ukrop's locations, Beckner said.
After offering the program for the past year and a half, four Ukrop's stores had their diabetes programs recognized; a fifth Ukrop's store that also offers the classes was not yet officially recognized by the organization because it did not yet collect the data required by the ADA, Robertson said. Beckner said the supermarket chain could expand the program to additional stores.
The retailer had to meet the national standards for diabetes self-management education programs to receive the official ADA recognition, which includes providing multidisciplinary classes instructed by dietitians, physicians and nurses. It also involves keeping track of objective data and tracking educational goals, among other requirements, Robertson said.
The service also includes individual consultations with pharmacists before the series begins and after it ends. Patients also visit with the staff dietitians individually.
Beckner said Ukrop's plans to promote the ADA recognition with in-store signage at the four sites, as well as advertise it in the in-store circulars.