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January 31, 2012

New Report Highlights Missed Opportunities to Improve Diabetes Patient Outcomes, Encourages Successful Strategies

Barely a Third of Diabetic Patients Receiving Necessary Tests

ALBANY, N.Y. – Only 37.7% of diabetics in New York State received all three recommended medical tests in 2009, with 12.8% not receiving any, despite being more likely to see their doctors on a regular basis than the rest of the population, according to a new report by the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) and funded by the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth). The report, Managing Diabetes Care: Moving an Underlying Chronic Condition to the Forefront, outlines the missed opportunities to educate diabetes patients within hospital and primary care settings, and highlights the successful strategies of integrated patient care.

"A diabetes patient will see his or her primary care physician to address an acute symptom, not to address chronic disease prevention," said HANYS President Daniel Sisto. "It is increasingly clear that the coordination of services for chronically ill patients, such as diabetics, is crucial and that providers and patients must work together for successful outcomes."

Hospitals across the state have been implementing comprehensive disease management programs, such as participation in the Patient-Centered Medical Home model, which allows for coordination between different care sites and all members of the care team. Also, some hospitals have begun using Electronic Medical Record systems and disease registries that remind providers about the need for best practice standards, such as standard diabetic blood tests and eye exams.

"Hospital admissions and readmissions are key cost drivers for the care of patients with diabetes," said James R. Knickman, President and Chief Executive Officer of NYSHealth. "Improving diabetes care management for patients across the health care system can lead to lower readmission rates, better patient outcomes, and a reduction in health care costs."

Patients with diabetes were 2.4 times more likely to be readmitted to the hospital for any reason than patients without diabetes.

The report found that diabetics need a transition plan between the hospital and primary care provider to ensure the stability and management of diabetes after being discharged. While the benefits of more fully integrating diabetes care into primary practices is well established, in many hospitals, such programs are not part of routine discharge plans.

For example, an inpatient hospital stay could provide diabetic self-management education and make Certified Diabetes Educators available to complement clinical care. The study found patients who had a diagnosis of diabetes for more than 20 years showed improvement after one year of diabetes education. There was statistically significant improvement in self-care knowledge, quality of life and self-management behavior, including monitoring blood glucose and good foot care.

The report is part of a five-year diabetes campaign that was launched in 2008 by NYSHealth to reverse the diabetes epidemic in New York State, where nearly 9% of adults have been diagnosed with diabetes. HANYS’ effort has recently expanded through a grant from NYSHealth in the final push to get hospital-based clinics and primary care sites into the National Committee for Quality Assurance Diabetes Recognition Program. More than 750 providers from 108 hospitals and 216 sites across the state have successfully achieved the recognition so far, with an expected increase as HANYS begins offering significant supplemental resources around diabetes and chronic care management.

Questions?

William Van Slyke - (518) 431-7770

The Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) is the only statewide hospital and continuing care association in New York State, representing 500 non-profit and public hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies, and other health care organizations.

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