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The University of South Alabama Pediatric Endocrinology Clinic has been certified in the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Education Recognition Program.
Dr. Anne-Marie Kaulfers, assistant professor of pediatrics at the USA College of Medicine and a pediatric endocrinologist with USA Physicians Group, said the resources the program provides has helped the clinic improve patient care during the past year.
One improvement is the clinic’s development of a “survival skills packet” that is given to the family of every child with new-onset diabetes, a disease in which your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high.
“At diagnosis, families are often overwhelmed with all of the information and life changes that come with diabetes,” Dr. Kaulfers said. “This packet gives just the basics – how to inject and store insulin, what foods are carbohydrates, etc – that the family can focus on the first week. We found that this alleviates a lot of stress.”
“This program has taught us to focus our education on the individual patient,” Dr. Kaulfers added. “We now create personalized goals for each patient and do follow-up to make sure that the patient is successful.”
As part of the certification process, the clinic was required to create a board of directors that included a community representative, nurse educators, and a dietician. The board of directors meets often to focus on quality improvement and improving patient education. After its first year in the program, the clinic has had a 0.8% improvement in Hemoglobin A1c – a marker of diabetes control.
Dr. Kaulfers said one of the main reasons the clinic applied for certification in the program is because medical insurance companies reimburse physicians for quality diabetes education. “Until last year, we were unable to get financial reimbursement for the many hours of diabetes education that we were providing,” she said. “Now that we can demonstrate that we are providing quality education, we can properly bill for our services.”
Another great outcome of this program, according to Dr. Kaulfers, is the creation of the Group Diabetes Education class. The class, which is open to the public, focuses on how food affects your blood sugar and how to eat healthy.
“We were already providing excellent diabetes education before certification,” Dr. Kaulfers said, “but being recognized by this program allows our patients and the community to be confident that they are getting the best care possible at USA.”
The Group Diabetes Education class is held the last Friday of every month from 8:30 am to noon at the USA Pediatric Endocrinology Clinic at ADDRESS SHAC 4th floor. For more information on the class, contact Christina Hair at 251-405-5147.
To make an appointment at the Pediatric Endocrinology Clinic, call 251-405-5147.
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