More than 17 million people in the United States have Diabetes. Every WEEK, 19,000 learn that they have Diabetes. And today, about 575 people with diabetes will die.
How are we going to address the Chronic Illnesses of today? What kind of care are the patients who have chronic diseases receiving, and especially when they do not have health insurance or even transportation to the physicians office, or money for their medications?
Fundamental changes are under way in American medicine. Health Care systems are replacing independent small practices. Managed care and integrated delivery systems are leading an aggressive pursuit for lower costs and greater efficiency. Greater emphasis is being placed on the value of services, receiving high quality services for a competitive price. Measurement systems and “report cards” are a common feature of today’s marketplace. There is also a growing gap in health disparities among the diverse U.S. population.
I’m Cyndi Signore, and I’m the Cluster Coordinator for the Health Disparities Collaboratives under the direction of the Bureau of Primary Health Care.
The multi-year Collaboratives began with Diabetes 1, in October of 1998. Diabetes 2 began October 1999. Asthma and Depression were part of the Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Breakthrough Series and started in January 2000. The goals of the Collaboratives are to decrease or delay the complications of the disease, decrease the economic burden for patients and the community, and improve access to quality chronic disease care for underserved populations. Although participant organizations will pursue goals matched to their local needs, all participants in the Collaboratives will work to accomplish national goals as well.
Currently, we are offering Collaboratives in these areas:
Diabetes, Cancer, Depression, Cardiovascular Disease, Financial Management and Redesign.
Also currently in the state of Alabama, we have seven Community Health Centers participating in Collaboratives. We are actually seeing these CHC’s lower their patients HgAlc’s and blood pressures, their patients lose weight, quit smoking…eat better, while at the same time, teaching these patients Self Management skills on how to live longer and more productive lives while living with a chronic illness. We not only can say we are doing this, we have documentation to back this up!!!
Visit our web site to see how it’s happening!!!!
More information on the Collaboratives can be found at: www.healthdisparities.net.
by Cyndi Signore, SEHDC Cluster Coordinator, Alabama/Mississippi/Georgia
Copyright Alabama State Nurses’ Association Dec 2003-Feb 2004
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