We spoke with Carl Armato, president and CEO of Novant Health ― https://www.novanthealth.org/ — about his T1D journey and his new book, A Future with Hope. What is particularly impressive is how he is using the resiliency and empathy he gained from managing his T1D to lead Novant Health.
My T1D Journey
“I was diagnosed at 18 months. Living with and learning how to manage my T1D taught me important life lessons. It gave me discipline — not only about diet, exercise, and sleep habits ― but also about skills I would need the rest of my life. I grew up quickly.
“I had a lot of help learning how to manage my diabetes. I was born and raised in Patterson, Louisiana, a small town about an hour west of New Orleans, where I got tremendous support from my family, friends, and a committed healthcare team.
“My T1D journey ignited my passion for healthcare.”
“Glucose testing was like a chemistry experiment, (my mom and I had to test my urine) when I was young. More than 50 years ago, there were no glucometers to measure blood sugar and no pumps to automatically inject insulin, but I have benefited from the progression of technology in glucose measurement and monitoring. Today, I wear a MiniMed 670G hybrid loop system. The skills I developed in understanding my body’s cues has been invaluable to successfully manage my disease.
“Witnessing the advances in technology has made me a lifelong student of diabetes. I just returned from attending a JDRF Mission Summit, and I was excited to hear of all the recent progress.
“My diagnosis gives me a unique lens to managing the healthcare system. Not only do I have the perspective of an administrator, but I also have the viewpoint of someone dealing with a chronic disease. This connection to the patient experience is incredibly important.
Novant Health has made diabetes care a particular focus because today it is one of the leading chronic conditions in the United States:
- 99 percent of our eligible primary care physicians have certified for NCQA (National Committee for Quality Assurance), a program that provides clinicians with tools that support delivery of high-quality care to patients with diabetes.
- Over a three-year period, we completed a ‘Search & Rescue’ program, which found and diagnosed more than 6,000 people who were pre-diabetic or had undiagnosed T2D. These people can now get the education and treatment they need to manage their diabetes.
- We remain committed to finding people with undiagnosed diabetes, continuing to screen for people with diabetes at community screening events across our footprint.
“Novant Health has 90,000 patients with diabetes – including T1D and T2D – and 68 percent of those have an A1C below eight percent. In addition to lower A1C levels, their blood pressure and cholesterol are in normal ranges. One of the ways we do this is a pro-active phone outreach program called Care Connections.
“We believe that employers have an important role to play in ensuring team members can access and afford the medications and supplies they need, including continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) and insulin pumps.”
To set an example, Novant Health covers 100 percent of the cost of testing supplies for its team members with T1D and T2D.
“Because 60 percent of our patients are covered by government insurance and this percentage is even higher for our patients with T2D, Novant Health’s government affairs team is actively talking with CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) and others about subsidizing better technology and medications.
A Future with Hope
A diabetes diagnosis can hit hard. In his book, Carl recounts pivotal moments that set him on course for a full, active life with diabetes.
He credits his parents with a family life optimized for his health. Following their lead, he took increasing responsibility for his self-care while still young and includes his time-tested insight about self-care to others with diabetes.
See a sample of the book here.
His experience and anecdotes teach:
- Diabetes does not mean different
- The first step toward a future of hope is to accept the diagnosis, ignoring it spells disaster
- Support is crucial, no one should walk this path alone
In A Future with Hope, Carl’s transparency and insights offer a welcome dose of encouragement that can augment diabetes care delivered by health professionals. He believes it’s possible for people with diabetes to embrace their diagnosis without forfeiting their dreams.
Buy the book from Amazon here.