“The process gives professionals a national standard by which to measure the quality of services they provide,” says Paula Devitt, Southwest Care’s Diabetes Program Coordinator, who helped start the self-education program last March. “But just as importantly, for the patient, it’s about quality management. This recognition validates the level of service that patients receive through our program.”
The award stands for four years, and the standards by which it was issued were developed and tested under the auspices of the National Diabetes Advisory Board in 1983, and then revised by the diabetes community in 1994, 2000, 2007 and 2012. Programs apply for recognition voluntarily. Programs that achieve recognition status have a staff of knowledgeable health professionals who can provide participants with comprehensive information about diabetes management.
According to the American Diabetes Association, there are 29.1 million people or 9.3% of the population in the United States who have diabetes. While an estimated 21 million have been diagnosed, unfortunately, 8.1 million people are not aware that they have this disease. Each day approximately 4,657 people are diagnosed with diabetes. Many will first learn that they have diabetes when they are treated for one of its life-threatening complications – heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and nerve disease and amputation. About 1.7 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in people aged 20 years or older in 2012 in the US. Diabetes contributed to 234,051 deaths in 2010, making it the seventh leading cause of death in the US. Overall, the risk for death among people with diabetes is about twice that of people of similar age but without diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association is the nation’s leading non-profit health organization supporting diabetes research, advocacy and information for health professionals, patients and the public. Founded in 1940, the Association has an area office in every state and conducts programs in communities nationwide.