Improved Health Literacy Improves Health StatusSpencer Vibbert | June 3, 2013
For underserved individuals with chronic illnesses, improvements in health literacy can result in better patient outcomes-that’s the conclusion of a paper written by officials at CMS and recently published in the journal Family Community Health. The article summarizes efforts by QIOs to enroll underserved beneficiaries in Medicare-covered diabetes self-management education (DSME) classes from 2008 to 2012. The program began in MD, DC, LA, GA, NY and the U.S.
Virgin Islands and was later expanded to include MS and TX. Classes used props and visual aids and concentrated on teaching dietary and exercise strategies as well as the importance of tests/monitoring and self foot exams. Participants were permitted to bring family members to the trainings, which typically ran from 10 to 20 hours, spread over four to six weeks.
The authors attribute the program’s success to a number of factors, including development of multi-lingual curricula and the use of community centers and public housing authorities to facilitate attendance at workshops. IPRO’s program was the forerunner to the current “Everyone with Diabetes Counts” two-year project that is charged with training a minimum of 6,000 Medicare enrollees in DSME, with the goal of “graduating” 2,500 Hispanic/Latino Medicare beneficiaries from a 15-hour program, using IPRO staff, community health workers and college interns. For a copy of “The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Diabetes Health Disparities Reduction Program,” by Terris King, DD, MS; Susan B. Fleck, RN, MMHS and colleagues, contact publisher Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins at www.wolterskluwerhealth.com.
To learn more about IPRO’s current DSME program in downstate New York, contact IPRO Project Lead, Janice Hidalgo at 516-326-7767.