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Webster County Memorial Hospital expands Diabetes Education Program

October 10, 2018

WCMH and Davis Medical Center have jointly launched a telediabetes program making access to information and education for persons with diabetes more timely and accessible. The program is available through the WCMH’s Rural Health Clinic and easily connects patients remotely to professionals in Elkins. In the photo DMC Diabetes Educator Sonja Phares speaks with a patient in Lewis County using real-time, secure video and audio technology about meal planning and nutrition.

Webster County Memorial Hospital expands Diabetes Education Program

Webster Springs, WV—Webster County Memorial Hospital (WCMH)  is confronting one of the state’s most burdensome chronic health challenges, diabetes, by providing access to remote medical consultations to people in the region.

“People with diabetes are at greater risk for long-term health problems associated with their kidneys, heart, feet, eyes, and nerves.  The best way persons can delay or prevent these problems is by controlling their blood sugar and being proactive in taking care of themselves,” said WCMH Rural Health Clinic provider Denise Hamrick, FNP.  “Our telediabetes program will bring greater access to diabetes specialists.”

WCMH and Davis Medical Center (DMC) in Elkins have developed the program collaboratively. Webster providers can refer persons with diabetes for a live teleconference with a certified diabetes educator.  Patients will connect to the DMC specialist from the Rural Health Clinic at WCMH.

“Our dietitians and educators provide the same type of counseling as they would in a classroom and face-to-face,” Jim Severino, Certified Diabetes Educator and Director of Nutrition Services for Davis Medical Center said. “We talk with patients about goals, healthy eating habits and meal planning. Being able to talk via a teleconference saves the patient time and money because the need for travel is eliminated.  Care is less costly, quicker and more convenient.”

“The program helps physicians manage the disease for patients who have difficulty controlling it,” added Severino. “The key is the specialized care provided by the physician and the educators and dietitians. We are able to work together for patients who may not otherwise have access to it.”

“If a patient is interested in a telediabetes education consultation they should contact their provider for a referral to the program,” said Hamrick.  “Generally patients can be seen quickly, often within the same week of referral.”

Patients with or without diabetes can also access DMC specialists for nutritional consults.  These appointments are beneficial for those who need assistance with weight management or who have conditions such as heart disease, lipid disorders, high blood pressure or kidney disease.  Nutritional consults are conducted using the same telemedicine technology.  All teleconsult visits require a referral from the patient’s provider.

“Because we have such a large population of persons with diabetes or who are pre-diabetic, we’re planning opportunities for educational outreach in Webster County as well,” said Severino.  “In November we are holding a free Healthy Holiday Cooking class at WCMH.  The class features a cooking demo with taste testing and information on how to enjoy the holidays without losing control of your blood sugar.”

Severino said they will also offer the LifeSkills diabetes education program to the Webster community.  It is intended for qualified patients with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.  Classes are led by qualified professionals including Certified Diabetes Educators, Registered Dietitians, Physical Therapists, Pharmacists, and Registered Nurses.  DMC’s LifeSkills program was recently recognized for meeting national standards for diabetes self-management education by the American Diabetes Association.

DMC’s Diabetes Prevention Program(DPP) is one of only two programs in West Virginia to achieve preliminary recognition by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The DMC Diabetes Prevention Program helps its participants cut the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

“Davis Medical is one of the region’s leading resources for diabetes education and outreach.  Through this partnership we will improve clinical outcomes and care coordination for some of our most vulnerable patients.  We’re excited to get the program underway,” added Hamrick.