Funds awarded to CBHEC will expand diabetes education to rural and outlying areas of the Coastal Bend were health care is limited.

Funds awarded to CBHEC will expand diabetes education to rural and outlying areas of the Coastal Bend where health care is limited.

The Texas A&M Health Science Center Coastal Bend Health Education Center (CBHEC) and the Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District (CCNCPHD) have entered a service agreement to provide more diabetes education in the Coastal Bend.

The agreement, approved during Tuesday’s Corpus Christi City Council meeting, will award CBHEC $840,000 over a three-year period to provide a diabetes care team consisting of both certified diabetes educators (CDEs) and community health workers (CHWs) to deliver diabetes self-management education (DSME) programs to more people throughout the Coastal Bend.  The additional funds will enable CBHEC to extend its established diabetes education services to rural and outlying areas of the Coastal Bend where health care is limited.

“This award allows CBHEC’s diabetes care teams to provide more patient education and referral services to achieve the ultimate goal of improving the health of our community,”said Starr Flores, interim director of CBHEC.

The team approach to diabetes care provides continuous, supportive and effective care for people with diabetes.  The National Diabetes Education Program states the benefits of this approach are efficient patient education, increased patient follow-up, improved glycemic control, reduced hospitalizations, improved quality of life and lower risk for the complications of diabetes.

CBHEC’s diabetes care team will provide initial DSME classes followed by biweekly follow-up phone calls to address patients’ questions and concerns.  Community health workers will also make home visits to provide additional support and follow-up appointments will be held every three months to take and assess lab values.

Terms of the agreement require the diabetes care team to serve a minimum of 90 patients the first year, 300 patients the second year and 360 patients the third year for a total of 750 patients over the three-year agreement period.  The service area consists of 18 counties surrounding and including Corpus Christi.

CBHEC’s Diabetes Education program, Accredited by the American Diabetes Association, has provided DSME since it began in January 2000.  The staff consists of a medical director, four registered nurses, a nutritionist, two CDEs, three CHWs and administrative support staff.  In addition to DSME, the program offers wellness programs, community education and professional education throughout its 19-county service area.  All combined, the program’s efforts reached 3,227 people in 2013.  Of these, 1,276 people attended the program’s DSME classes (up from 1,200 in 2012).

— Lindsey Hendrix

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