Innovative Treatment for Vets with Type 2 Diabetes

Currently, VA offers medical care including diet counseling, weight loss programs, and blood glucose monitoring for the 1.5 million Veterans enrolled in VA health care who have Type 2 diabetes.

Insulin resistance in people with Type 2 diabetes - a hormone that helps move sugar into cells - causes high blood glucose levels.  This, in turn, may cause other health problems, such as damage to nerves and blood vessels, increased risk of stroke or heart disease, or kidney failure.

More than 50 percent of Veterans using VHA health care are overweight and many Veterans with a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis carry excess body weight.

Partnership will benefit Veterans

VA's Office of Specialty Care Services is leading a new partnership with Virta Health Corporation focusing on reversing Type 2 diabetes through noninvasive treatments including dietary guidance and the use of medical specialists' expertise, peer support, and health coaching.

Through this partnership, Virta will offer free individualized diabetes management to a limited number of Veterans for the length of treatment, which is typically one year. This small pilot of Veterans with non-insulin dependent Type 2 diabetes is designed for 400 patients.

Virta's approach

This partnership with Virta will add to the current Type 2 diabetes care offered by VA. Veterans will receive support from Virta's care team, comprised of medical providers and health coaches, and close guidance in following an individualized low carbohydrate nutrition plan.

The pilot is meant to improve health signaled by meaningful improvements in blood sugar and reduction of dependence on prescription medications.

Partnerships augment VA services

VHA's Office of Community Engagement (OCE) is a trusted resource and catalyst for the growth of effective partnerships at the national, state, and community level, and facilitates establishment of partnerships such as this one.

Working with nongovernmental community partners supports Veterans' freedom of choice in health care, and expands access to care and services that augment what VHA offers.  This exemplifies VHA's priority of bringing Veterans quality care, wherever they are, through partnerships.

Learn more about OCE's work to establish partnerships that prioritize Veterans' health and well-being.

We encourage you to find out if you - or someone you love - is at risk for Type 2 diabetes by taking this quick and simple Diabetes Risk Test.

Editor note: This blog has been updated on April 25, 2019, from an earlier version.