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Mississippi program aims to keep diabetics out of the hospital

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced on Oct. 29 a new statewide effort in Mississippi to improve care for patients with diabetes. As part of the initiative, called the Mississippi Health First Collaborative, patients will receive diabetes self-management training in their home communities. The assistance will occur in locations such as community centers or senior centers, rather than in such traditional health care settings as hospitals, physicians' offices or outpatient clinics. The training will focus on how best to control blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. CMS is contacting community groups, health experts, housing providers, health care professionals and community leaders to reach out to patients across the state, including Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, those with private insurance, and the uninsured. The professionals also will help patients establish relationships with primary care physicians, address better nutrition, and develop better wellness and exercise habits. CMS officials said the collaborative is a new experience for all involved. "It's a first for patients, who will receive help managing their diabetes in community settings that are both familiar and comfortable to them," said Barry M. Straube, MD, CMS chief medical officer and director of the agency's Office of Clinical Standards and Quality. "It's also a first for CMS and our extensive network of diabetes partners in Mississippi." Research cited by CMS shows that Mississippi has one of the nation's highest obesity rates, along with high rates of diabetes and poverty. Since 2008, Medicare's Quality Improvement Organizations have worked with local organizations and groups to bring diabetes self-management training to communities, the agency said. Funding for the collaborative came from a grant from the National Institutes of Health. The full and original article can be found here: http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2009/11/23/gvse1127.htm
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