On April 14, 2015, the U.S. Senate passed a two (2) year renewal for the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI). The renewal was contained in a larger bill called: The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (HR 2). CCUIH is grateful to the National Indian Health Board for the work that they continue to do to make this program sustainable and effective for the long-term.

SDPI is one of many programs in this legislation. Other provisions included a 2-year authorization of the Children Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and a permanent adjustment of the Medicare physician payment formula. You can read a summary of the legislation here.

SDPI provides critical programs that are helping our Tribal communities address complications and burdens of Type 2 diabetes. The newly-passed legislation funds SDPI at $150 million per year, which is the same as the current level. This program will now expire on September 30, 2017.

Congress established the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) in 1997 as part of the Balanced Budget Act to address the growing epidemic of diabetes in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. SDPI currently provides grants for 404 programs in 34 states – including California.

At a rate of 2.8 times the national average, American Indians and Alaska Natives have the highest prevalence of diabetes. In some AIAN communities, over 50% of adults have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

SDPI is changing troubling statistics like this, with marked improvements in average blood sugar levels, reductions in the incidence of cardiovascular disease, prevention and weight management programs for our youth, and a significant increase in the promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviors. This success is due to the nature of this grant program to allow communities to design and implement diabetes interventions that address locally identified community priorities.

SDPI in California

Nearly 9% of California’s population, or 2.5 million people (CDC, 2010), have diagnosed diabetes, many of which suffer from serious diabetes related complications or conditions. The rate of diabetes for Urban Indians is 78% higher compared to the general population of California.

SDPI funding in California totals $12,086,979. Of this total, $2,018,600 funds 7 Diabetes Prevention programs, 1,369,900 funds four Healthy Heart  programs, and 8,698,479 funds 41 Community-Directed Grant programs.