DETROIT – Health Alliance Plan is dedicated to helping its members combat diabetic retinopathy, which is a major cause of blindness. To fight this debilitating condition, HAP is offering mobile diabetic retinopathy screenings for its Medicare Advantage members that can be conducted in members’ homes. This specialized service, which is free for HAP Medicare Advantage members, makes it convenient for those members whose vision or other health issues make it difficult to leave home.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4.2 million adults have diabetic retinopathy, 655,000 have vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy, and about four in 10 Americans with diabetes have some form of eye disease. Diabetes can cause changes to blood vessels in the retina, resulting in swelling and leakage, growth of new abnormal blood vessels, or can cause the vessels to close. When the retina is deprived of an adequate blood supply, it can sustain irreparable damage, which can result in blindness. The American Diabetes Association recommends a yearly diabetic retinal screening in addition to the standard annual eye exam.
The retinal images provided through a screening create an historical record of changes to the retina over time, which establishes a baseline and enables year-over-year comparison of changes to monitor eye health.
“At HAP, we know that some of our Medicare members who might be at risk for diabetic retinopathy are not taking advantage of this important annual screening. This can be for a variety of reasons,” said Michael Genord, senior vice president and chief medical officer for HAP. “We can now reduce one of these barriers to care by conveniently bringing the screening to members’ homes at no cost to the member.”
HAP is offering these screenings in partnership with HealPros, a provider with more than 60 years of experience in mobile screenings.
HAP Medicare Advantage members being treated for diabetes will be contacted via phone by a HealPros representative to schedule the free in-home diabetic retinopathy screening. HealPros field technicians, who carry identification badges, do not prescribe or carry medication. After the screening, a letter with the results will be sent to the member and the member’s doctor. If further testing, care or medication is required, the member’s physician will manage that process.
Learn more about diabetic retinopathy by visiting hap.org. – L.R.