Banner Health Prioritizes Employee Health With Type 2 Diabetes Reversal Program – The Fort Morgan Times

According to Brush’s Peter Sisneros, the last thing an overweight person wants to hear is that they need to stop eating. As Associate Director of Culinary and Environmental Services for two Banner Health hospitals in northern Colorado, Peter is always around food. It’s his job.

“You have to have a passion for cooking and food if you want to pursue this profession,” he said.

For most of his life, Peter has been “on the heavy side” and was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in his 50s. Initially, health care providers recommended that he manage on medication and a controlled diet, which was an acceptable solution for a while, he said, but Peter did not want to take medication for still.

“I got to almost 250 pounds, that was really big for me,” Peter said. “I didn’t want to do that anymore. One day I got an email from Banner advertising the Virta program – it said it was free and I thought, “This is the ticket for me.”

Peter started Virta, a type 2 diabetes reversal program, and within the first few weeks he noticed he was losing weight quite quickly. After several months he reported feeling much better – he had more energy and was more active, his allergies even started to disappear. Now, after just six months on the program, Peter hopes he will be allowed to come off his diabetes medication.

Virta is a one-of-a-kind treatment that combines personalized nutrition and virtual care to help members achieve normal blood sugar levels without drugs. Banner|Aetna, a joint venture owned by Banner Health and Aetna/CVS, partnered with Virta earlier this year to offer this program to fully insured group members and employers.

“Virta’s results are truly superior to anything we’ve seen,” said Banner Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer | Aetna, Dr. Robert Groves. “When we saw the results, the peer-reviewed published results, it wasn’t a contest. They’re a quantum leap above everyone else in terms of the results they get and the durability out of five years now.

According to Jennifer McGill, Peter’s Virta health coach, it takes a strong “why” to be successful in the Virta program.

“You have to see that what is happening right now is not working for you. The most successful patient approach is “I deserve it, I can do it, and it’s not a punishment; it is a resource, it can save my life. The most successful patients have dedicated themselves enough to it and can imagine themselves succeeding. Peter is in this category.

“It’s a good program; I was very impressed,” Peter said. “It’s very ‘like Banner’ to have a progressive thought process like this that they’ll be offering for free. I don’t think many companies are that forward thinking.

Not only did Virta help improve his health, but Peter also saw residual benefits in his work.

“It’s hard to listen to a fat chef tell you to eat healthier and eat less,” he said. “I teach healthy cooking classes and didn’t have much credibility before – Virta helped me give useful information and show students how it works. You really need to approach this as a lifestyle change and you’ll be fine.

“It’s just phenomenal the impact on an individual’s life that a program like this can have,” said Dr. Groves.

Ryan H. Bowman