Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease that prevents the body from metabolizing sugar. To live, those with T1D must measure their blood sugar levels and calculate how much of a potentially deadly drug to inject many times each day in order to stay “in range.” Deviations from a healthy blood sugar range can result in devastating health consequences including heart attack, stroke, renal failure, blindness, amputation, loss of consciousness, seizure, coma, and death.
The challenges of the disease are compounded by those imposed by our healthcare system. Insurance only pays for infrequent, in-person visits to specialists who are in short supply. Life saving medications and supplies can take months to get approved and are often denied or are only partially reimbursed, costing thousands of dollars per year. The ongoing education and support required to use these supplies isn’t reimbursed by insurance and is therefore rarely provided. As a result, where “state-of-the-art” T1D care is available, only 35% of people achieve the glucose levels necessary for optimal health. The difficulties are greater and the outcomes are worse for people living in underserved communities.
To address this unmet need and reduce health disparities, Blue Circle Health is building a first-of-its-kind healthcare delivery system for people with Type 1 Diabetes, starting with those living in underserved communities. Blue Circle Health is entirely philanthropically funded with an initial grant of $45M from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, a leading funder of diabetes research and care. This means every aspect of Blue Circle Health will be designed to do what’s best for our patients without the constraints of traditional healthcare reimbursement policies.
Toward that end, Blue Circle Health will provide peer coaching, insurance navigation, medication and supplies, behavioral health, nutritional support, education, and diabetes care. We will employ information technology to detect problems sooner and to deliver care remotely, removing transportation and timing barriers that prevent people from getting the care they need. Most importantly, Blue Circle Health services will come at no cost to those we serve.
The support we’ve received in the few short weeks since launching Blue Circle Health has been overwhelming. A small group of the world’s leading diabetes, healthcare, and operations specialists has assembled. Large manufacturers of drugs and devices have offered their supplies at no or reduced costs. Generous philanthropists have offered their support. Every call has ended with, “Please let me know how I can help.” It’s an offer I am grateful for because it will take the support of a growing community for Blue Circle Health to reach its full potential.
With that in mind, my ask of anyone with an interest in what we’re building is to stay connected. The best way to do that is to sign up for email updates or follow on Twitter or LinkedIn. I will do my best to keep you updated with open positions, news of our plans, progress, and lessons learned throughout our journey. If this mission inspires you and you’d like to learn more, visit our careers page.
Thank you for your interest and support,
Leonard D’Avolio, PhD
CEO, Blue Circle Health