No one knows how much diabetes could become a part of their life. For Council Member Joyce Morgan, dealing with the effects of diabetes in her family has made her a lifetime advocate for diabetes care. Many of her family members including her father, father-in-law and brother have been touched by diabetes. So this is personal for Council Member Morgan who knows all too well the stress, anxiety and costs of loved ones living with the disease.
The American Diabetes Association estimates that over 30 million Americans are affected by diabetes and is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. In our community, studies show that we are disproportionately affected by diabetes. The rates of diagnosed diabetes among African Americans is 12.7% compared to 7.4% of whites nationally. In Jacksonville and Duval County, it continues to grow.
According to the Florida Health Department, in 2016, 16.2% of African Americans were diagnosed with diabetes in Duval County compared to 14.5% in the state. Further, the Florida Diabetes Advisory Council reported in their 2017 Diabetes Report that over the past 20 years, the number of diagnosed diabetes among Florida adults more than doubled, increasing from 5.2 percent in 1995 to 11.2 percent in 2014.
Serving as a local and regional volunteer and spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association (ADA) for many years, Morgan hosted fundraising events and participated in marathons while raising awareness and educating our community about diabetes and diabetes care. Morgan knows we can win because knowledge is power and what you know will help you and can save a life.
When diabetes is not diagnosed properly or it is poorly managed and left untreated it can lead to serious health care and monetary challenges and complications such as job loss, disability, hypoglycemia, hypertension, heart disease, heart attack, stroke, blindness, and kidney disease.
Diabetes-related disparities affect individuals and their family’s income and the economy in communities they live in. They will have to absorb the costs associated with the disproportionate health care use that results from these disparities. The Florida Diabetes Report stated …”in 2012 that the estimated direct medical expenses for diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes, pre-diabetes, and gestational diabetes was $19.3 billion. During this same time period an additional $5 billion was spent on indirect costs from lost productivity due to diabetes” affecting the local economy and work force.
During a recent diabetes summit in Jacksonville, we learned that Eli Lilly and Company has created The Lilly Diabetes Solution Center and Helpline to provide solutions to people in Jacksonville, Florida and across the US. It will help people with their insulin affordability. Council Members Jim Love and as well as Joyce Morgan believe that this effort has the potential to help constituents in need have access to and afford their medications.
There is a quote from actress Jenifer Lewis, from the hit tv series Blackish and author of The Mother of Black Hollywood, “We have to pay attention to one another and have the strength and courage to say, ‘let’s get some help.’”
Diabetes patients in Jacksonville can call the helpline to get some help and representatives will work with them and develop a cost-savings plan based on the patient’s needs.
For those who are not insured, under-insured or have high out-of-pocket expenses can contact the Solutions Center for assistance in gaining access to affordable insulin, resources and options. Specifically, the center provides cost savings solutions, free clinic information to receive support and short-term and long-term options for immediate needs.
Help is available now by calling the Lilly Diabetes Solutions Center helpline at 833-808-1234 to get more information and immediate assistance. Representatives will be available from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm (ET) Monday through Friday.