Did you know one in every three of Mercy Medical Clinic patients have been diagnosed with diabetes? It is a growing problem in the south, and rural Georgia is no exception. Being in our rural area of Toombs and surrounding counties also means it costs a lot more and takes a lot more effort to get specialty care, which is usually available in larger cities, for patients who cannot afford it. UNTIL NOW ...
"Yesterday, the Georgia Health News (Georgia's most prestigious health care news publication), cited The Mercy Ministries in an article regarding the rise of ER visits for diabetic patients in Ga.
In general, the article supports the fact that access to primary health care and diabetes education are key factors in preventing folks from being hospitalized with diabetes. What the article DIDN'T include was specifics on how The Mercy Ministries is helping to keep its diabetic patients out of the ER.
Beyond providing access to primary health care, education classes and low-cost or free medications to its uninsured, low-income patients, Mercy has recently been able to offer telemedicine services.
Through grant funds awarded to our local hospital (Meadows Health), our severely uncontrolled diabetic patients have been able to participate in a diabetes care management program under the direction of Susan McLendon, Rural Community Health Nurse Specialist with Meadows Health, that included: (1) individualized care management provided by an LPN, (2) a16-week diabetes/healthy lifestyles education program and (3) access to telemedicine appointments with an endocrinologists from Mercer University.
The results of this pilot program will not be released until 2018, but I can tell you that those enrolled in the program had a 52% decrease in ED visits, a 96% decrease in inpatient hospital admissions, and a decrease in A1C levels by at least 1 whole point. WOW!
Even better, a new HRSA grant recently awarded to Meadows Health is going to allow Mercy patients to continue gaining access (at least for the next 3 years) to this telemedicine program! Woohoo!
THANK YOU to Susan McLendon and Meadows Health for allowing our patients to be able to take advantage of this wonderful program!
Though the hospital does not directly fund The Mercy Ministries, our organization could not maintain the quality of care we provide our patients without the goods and services and community outreach programs that Meadows Health offers us. We are so grateful for Meadows Health and for people like YOU that help us do ministry to the best of our ability for God's glory and the betterment of HIS people."
-- Carly Benton, ED