Anthem Blue Cross Medi-Cal Health Plan, California
Optometric Association, Peach Tree Health to Provide Preventive Care
Saturday’s “Diabetes Awareness Day” Program at Peach Tree Health Clinic Offers Anthem
Blue Cross Medi-Cal Members in Sacramento County Preventative Care Services
Sacramento, CA – May 1, 2017 – As the Sacramento Bee reported in February, diabetes has reached
epidemic proportions in California. More than half the state’s population has diabetes or is at risk of
developing the chronic, eye-sight robbing condition. In January, the Bee reported that the rate of diabetes
deaths has grown “exponentially” in Californians under age 55. The cost of treating diabetes in California
was $27 billion in 2012, according to the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes poses serious health
repercussions such as heart disease, stroke, amputation, blindness, and death.
In an effort to help improve health outcomes and prevent vision loss, this past Saturday, April
29, leaders from Anthem Blue Cross Medi-Cal Health Plan, California Optometric Association
(COA) and Peach Tree Health Clinic came together and launched the “Saturday Diabetes
Awareness Day,” program which is the first in a series of Saturdays where all three
organizations will be providing information about preventing and caring for diabetes including,
eye exams, blood pressure screenings and health education, in Sacramento.
The major new effort was forged amidst growing recognition that eye care is not only essential
for diabetic patients to preserve their vision, but also that visiting a doctor of optometry is
often the first step in diagnosis and management of the disease. In 2016, the California
Optometric Association (COA) reviewed state scorecards for Medi-Cal managed care plans and
found most Sacramento-area plans need to do better to meet minimum state standards for
helping consumers prevent and manage diabetes.
“Optometrists are seeing more blindness and worse outcomes for our patients, as diabetes has
grown to epidemic proportions in California. Optometrists are determined to change the
deadly trend of diabetes to save our patients’ lives and their sight,” said COA President Dr. Sage
This significant health education event was also forged amidst growing recognition that eye
care is not only essential for diabetic patients to preserve their vision, but also visiting a doctor
of optometry is often the first step in diagnosis and management of the disease. In addition,
studies show nearly one in 20 diabetes patients has advanced diabetic retinopathy and is at
significant risk of blindness. A comprehensive eye exam is crucial to detecting vision loss
related to diabetes.
“As one of the top 10 causes of death in the United States, Anthem is focused on collaborating
with our providers to achieve early detection and intervention, which will lead to better health
outcomes,” said Dr. Barsam Kasravi, Anthem Blue Cross Medi-Cal medical director. “Anthem
Blue Cross Medi-Cal Health Plan is honored to lead this effort with COA and Peach Tree Health
Clinic in Sacramento to empower local community members with information about care and
prevention for diabetes so that our they can live healthy lives.”
“Diabetes deaths are on the rise in the Northern California communities we serve,” said
Anthony J. Rudick, O.D. at Peach Tree Health. “We applaud Anthem Blue Cross and California
optometrists for their leadership in confronting this epidemic and creating opportunities for
people with diabetes to manage their condition and prevent it from worsening.” Locally, Peach
Tree Health has a model program for comprehensive diabetes health, including eye care that is
essential to preventing blindness caused by the disease.
Anthem Blue Cross Medi-Cal Health Plan’s health educators were on-site, providing all
attendees information about preventing diabetes, caring for diabetes, nutrition, exercise and
smoking cessation. Anthem Blue Cross Medi-Cal encourages its members, who live in the
Sacramento area, to schedule their eye exams every year by calling the Customer Care Center
at 800-407-4627/888-757-6034 (TTY).