Read about the New York State Health Foundation’s “five-year, $35 million campaign to reverse the diabetes epidemic [in the Empire State] by improving clinical care, sustaining a comprehensive and coordinated care system, and promoting prevention.”

The GrantWatch Profile in the January 2012 issue of Health Affairs, titled “New York State Health Foundation’s Diabetes Campaign Is Influencing Practices to Improve Care,” by freelance writer Harris Meyer, describes the campaign. The “extract” is free access to all.

How did the foundation decide to fund this campaign? Foundation staffer Jacqueline Martinez Garcel says in the article that the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) learned, shortly after this statewide funder was up and running (it was established in 2006), that “diabetes was the only chronic condition in the state that was increasing.” According to the article, annual costs of this chronic condition were also growing rapidly in the state. And, additionally, quality of care for diabetics could use some improvement—many of those with diabetes were not getting all of their recommended screening tests and exams.

The campaign focuses on people with adult type 2 diabetes and their interactions with primary care providers. On the practitioner side, the foundation has been encouraging primary care practices (specifically, federally qualified community health centers, outpatient departments of hospitals, and solo providers in New York State) to adopt the Chronic Care Model, developed by Ed Wagner and his colleagues. The article calls this model “the forerunner of the patient-centered medical home.”

One goal of the program is to have 3,000 primary care doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants in the Empire State “meet the diabetes patient outcomes goals” of either Bridges to Excellence or the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and actually achieve “diabetes care recognition” by one of those groups.

Author Harris Meyer includes examples of work by each kind of grantee—sole practitioner, hospital system, and community health center.

He also mentions a new phase of the foundation’s diabetes campaign called Meeting the Mark, which invites insurers, group primary care practices, and other stakeholders to help physicians to obtain recognition by the NCQA or Bridges to Excellence.

Results of the campaign to date are promising, Meyer reports, although it is still too early to determine if the foundation’s efforts to transform diabetes care statewide have reduced avoidable hospitalizations or emergency department use for diabetics. Formal evaluations of the campaign will be conducted.

The foundation’s “improving diabetes prevention and management” priority area includes the campaign and more, such as an online resource center.

The January 2012 Health Affairs is a thematic issue on “Confronting the Growing Diabetes Crisis.” The United Health Foundation, Novo Nordisk, and NYSHealth funded this issue. Read the Table of Contents here. Abstracts of the articles are free.

Other foundation-supported work in the issue includes:

The article “Early Lessons from an Initiative on Chicago’s South Side to Reduce Disparities in Diabetes Care and Outcomes,” by Monica E. Peek et al. The Merck Company Foundation’s program called the Alliance to Reduce Disparities in Diabetes was among the funders of this work. Lead author Monica Peek also acknowledged the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) as one of the organizations supporting her.

The Narrative Matters paper “On Our Own: Why We Who Struggle to Live with Diabetes Could Use a Helping Hand,” by Sara Sklaroff, is also available at no cost to all readers. The Narrative Matters section of the journal is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Related reading:

“Living in a Sugar Nation: Can We Win the Battle against a Silent Killer?” by Najaf Ahmad of the RWJF, October 25, 2011, on the foundation’s Human Capital Blog.