Ending Type 2 Diabetes One Exercise, Nutrition, and Gardening Class at a Time

The Radical Ideas That Fuel the Diabetes Prevention Program

In Uncategorized on February 24, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Atul Gawande, in his latest New Yorker article (click here to read the article), describes an aspect of the US healthcare system that fails to serve those in the middle. They are sicker than feverish, and healthier than someone hosting a gunshot wound. They are hypertensive, diabetic, mentally ill, obese. They fall through the cracks of traditional care mechanisms, and frequent emergency rooms nearly as often as their own living rooms.

The Fair Haven Community Health Center (FHCHC), and most community health centers in this country, are designed to care for that population. But as Dr. Camp, Director of FHCHC’s Diabetes Prevention Program explains, health care in this country is indeed a system. And this system is only as effective as all it’s moving parts. As she spoke with the internist who cared for one of her patients over the weekend at the hospital, Dr. Camp tried to gather together the complex and decentralized information about her patient’s hospital care, new prescriptions, and altered treatment plan. Indeed the phone calls to pharmacies, hospital providers, and the patient himself, lasted over an hour. They were fact finding missions that began and ended with a determination to take care of this human being despite, or in the face of, a system of moving parts that are simply not making contact with each other.

As Gawande’s article points out, though, often it only takes one person to bring all those moving parts together. One person who is willing to double check the prescription, find out whether the hospital knows the patient is uninsured, or track down the attending who may not have known that the patient has been in and out of the hospital for the same symptoms for the past 5 years. Perhaps not scalable at this point, the meticulous care that Gawande describes and Dr. Camp delivers is the beginning of a health care system transformation that is truer, and cheaper, than that which is currently responsible for overflowing emergency rooms and unpaid hospital bills.

 

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