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Commissioner Jacobs Launches New Diabetes Collaborative At New Jersey's First Diabetes Summit

March 13th, 2007

The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) today (March 13, 2007) announced the formation of a new Diabetes Collaborative aimed at reducing the disparities, prevalence and impact of diabetes in New Jersey. The announcement was made at New Jersey’s first Diabetes Summit at the New Jersey Hospital Association, Princeton.

“Diabetes affects more than half a million New Jerseyans, reducing life spans and increasing the cost of health care,” said Dr. Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D. “The disproportionate impact that diabetes has on various demographic sub-groups, including minority populations and the obese, reflect the need for stronger diabetes management, including prevention, education and awareness. Today's Diabetes Summit and the Diabetes Collaborative are first steps in that effort.”

The diabetes collaborative is the first DHSS initiative to be implemented after the release of the Department’s “Strategic Plan to Eliminate Health Disparities in New Jersey.” The plan was released last week by DHSS.

The Diabetes Collaborative is based on the principle that everyone at every level of patient contact works together to better manage a patient’s diabetes and to educate the patient in how he or she can take charge of their own care and help control their own disease. Fifteen community health centers have agreed to join the Diabetes Collaborative, which will improve diabetes care in the underserved and minority populations hit hardest by the disease.

Under the Collaborative, these community health centers will work with the NJ Primary Care Association to change the way diabetes care is delivered by using the federal Health Resources and Services Administration’s Health Disparities Collaborative (HDC) Care and Improvement Models as part of the framework. These models include processes for electronic tracking of patient results, measurable benchmarks to determine success, sharing of best-practices across health care providers, and extensive participation by patients in their care and treatment.

According to the Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) from 2001-2003, 444,000 New Jerseyans have been diagnosed with diabetes and another 178,000 have it but are undiagnosed. This last population is of significant concern since complications from untreated or mistreated cases of diabetes can lead to amputations, blindness, organ failure and premature death.

Minorities, the obese and the middle-aged are at the highest risk of developing diabetes. Black, non-Hispanics are most at risk in New Jersey with 11.3 percent of that population having diabetes. Asian/Pacific Islanders follow with a rate of 9.2 percent, and Hispanics have a rate of 6.6 percent. White, non-Hispanics have the lowest incident rate at 5.4 percent.

The state has made significant investments in community health centers over the past few years—including $40 million this year—because they provide comprehensive primary and preventive care to nearly 300,000 people who are either uninsured, underinsured or on Medicaid. By improving and expanding services in these facilities, the state's health care community can deliver more cost effective services and reduce its reliance on charity care.

The Diabetes Collaborative follows the path of New Jersey's successful Asthma Collaborative launched in September 2005 at the first annual New Jersey Asthma Summit. Also based on sharing best practices and information between community health centers, the Asthma Collaborative has benefited more than 2,500 pediatric asthma patients. These children now have asthma management goals, fewer visits to the Emergency Department, fewer hospitalizations, fewer missed days of school and improved health.

"The Asthma Collaborative has had success measured in healthier children who get to go to school instead of the emergency department," said Dr. Jacobs. "We will use the same rigorous standards and demand the same kind of measurable successes in the Diabetes Collaborative."


State of New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services
For more information contact:
Tom Slater
Nathan Rudy

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