Jul 24, 2019
NYC Health + Hospitals today announced the launch of a comprehensive, primary care-centered diabetes management program, including investing in new clinical pharmacy staff, equipment, and technology to improve health outcomes and expand services through telehealth techniques for more than 60,000 New Yorkers with diabetes who receive care in the City’s public hospitals and community-based health centers. Diabetes is a complex medical problem and uncontrolled diabetes can lead to health complications, including heart disease, blindness and kidney failure. Committed to improving the care of patients with diabetes, the public health system will deploy a new cadre of clinical pharmacists to care for patients as an extension of their primary care teams, and purchase new advanced equipment to make teleretinal screening part of routine care for all patients with diabetes. NYC Health + Hospitals is also piloting a diabetes self-management app and a program that provides telephone based peer mentorship, putting an emphasis around telehealth techniques. The new services for New Yorkers with diabetes are part of the health system’s population health strategies and its broader multi-year redesign to build a competitive, sustainable organization that will continue to offer high-quality and accessible health care to the people of New York City.
“We’re investing in these new programs to make primary care more robust and effective for patients with uncontrolled diabetes, and help them adhere to their medications, take care of their vision, get counseling from someone who has experienced the same challenges, and ultimately feel empowered to take charge of their health,” said Mitchell Katz, MD, NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO. “Our commitment to guarantee health care to all New Yorkers will be supported with smart and responsive clinical care strategies to help patients manage some of the most common chronic conditions that affect their ability to live, work, and play.”
“There isn’t a single silver bullet for treating diabetes, a disease that impacts many areas of one’s health and lifestyle, requiring a comprehensive approach to health management,” said Dave Chokshi, MD, Vice President and Chief Population Health Officer at NYC Health + Hospitals. “With this multi-pronged approach, we can help many patients who are struggling to manage their diabetes streamline their care by tracking their blood sugar levels and food intake, customizing their medication, and being more proactive around preventative screenings.”
The new NYC Health + Hospitals initiatives to help improve health outcomes for New Yorkers with diabetes include:
“We all need comprehensive primary care, but patients with diabetes need management assistance to help them avoid dangerous and expensive complications,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried. “This program will connect patients served by NYC Health + Hospitals with pharmacists and practitioners in person and remotely, improving the quality of care and helping patients manage their condition. It’s a model for other health care providers.”
“By creating this comprehensive, primary care-centered diabetes management program, NYC Health + Hospitals will provide 60,000 New Yorkers with diabetes the resources they need to ensure they effectively manage such a complex health condition,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chair of the Senate Health Committee. “This innovative approach will connect patients to expert clinical pharmacists, advanced diabetes screenings, and a helpful smartphone application that will help them to improve their health outcomes.”
“I use the BlueStar app every day and particularly like the instant responses when I add my glucose levels,” said Barbara Abioye, a NYC Health + Hospitals patient and user of the diabetes self-management app. “Before the app, managing my diabetes was a mystery, but the feedback and education makes it much easier to adjust my lifestyle to help control my diabetes.”
“I’m grateful to have a program like peer-to-peer mentoring available to help me manage my diabetes,” said Helen Augustus, a NYC Health + Hospitals patient and participant in the InquisitHealth mentoring program. “Knowing that my mentor has successfully managed her diabetes and understands my lifestyle and culture makes me feel confident that the advice shared will be easy to apply to my everyday life.”
The BlueStar app and peer-to-peer mentoring program have both shown success in significantly reducing A1c levels. They currently each have approximately 300 enrollees and are under evaluation to determine future expansion in additional NYC Health + Hospitals facilities.
In addition to these new initiatives, NYC Health + Hospitals offers expert diabetes care at all acute health facilities and neighborhood health centers, which may include education classes, one-on-one sessions, and patient support groups. NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County, Jacobi, Lincoln, Metropolitan, North Central Bronx, and Queens, as well as NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Sydenham, are accredited for providing high-quality, evidence-based education to patients with diabetes.
The prestigious accreditation from the American Association of Diabetes Educators or the American Diabetes Association verifies that the hospitals’ programs meet national standards for diabetes self-management education, which have been shown to be cost-effective and improve clinical outcomes and patients’ quality of life.
Nearly one million New Yorkers have diabetes, and about 19 percent are undiagnosed. Uncontrolled diabetes can cause blindness, and chronic kidney disease, which may require dialysis, and lower extremity amputations in adults. Obese New Yorkers are two times more likely as other adults to have diabetes. Black, Hispanic, and Asian New Yorkers are also at least twice as likely to have diabetes as white New Yorkers. The average medical expenditures for people with diagnosed diabetes are about $13,700 per year, with about $7,900 of this being attributed to diabetes management directly.