Members of the Oklahoma Legislative Diabetes Caucus say they are gearing up to continue their fight against the disease that affects 414 million people — at least half undiagnosed.

The caucus has announced its 2020 agenda, which is focused on creating new partnerships, improving education and training, encouraging more activity in schools and taking legislative action to help Oklahoma’s diabetic and pre-diabetic residents.

The issue is important in Oklahoma, where 12½ percent of the adult population has the disease, said the Oklahoma Department of Health. According to the Center for Disease Control’s latest data, more than 8 percent of the U.S. population has diabetes.

“One in eight Oklahomans suffers from diabetes, which is the seventh leading cause of death in the state, giving Oklahoma the fourth highest age-adjusted diabetes death rate in the country,” said Sen. Carri Hicks, D-Oklahoma City, caucus co-chair. “It’s the leading cause of blindness, amputation, heart disease, kidney failure and early death but simple action can reduce the risk.”

The caucus’ goals are focused on that action:

• Develop multi-state relationships with Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) and Diabetes Prevention Programs (DPP) partners and study strategies for referral, implementation, funding, expansion, marketing, telehealth usage and creating educational opportunities for healthcare providers

• Provide an education/training opportunity for all DSME and DPP Oklahoma sites regarding SoonerCare’s coverage of DSME and HealthChoice’s coverage of DPP.

• Re-establish connection with Oklahoma Association of Health Plans to collaborate on how to raise awareness among providers of new state level health plans’ diabetes-related coverage.

• Recommending 60 minutes of physical education and 60 minutes of physical activity, in addition to the current 20-minute recess for state elementary schools. Also recommending secondary schools provide at least 225 minutes of physical activity and education, exercise programs or athletics weekly.

• Provide a comprehensive, age appropriate health education mandate for public schools.

• Provide adequate insurance coverage for treatments necessary to manage diabetes or diabetes-related complications. Provide access to prescription drugs, devices, services and supplies as defined by American Diabetes Association Standards of Care.

• Address and pass legislation for affordable medical care including insulin, as well as requiring coverage information be easy to understand with transparent reports from health carriers, pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Recommended for you