Community takes steps towards preventative health care
By Sheyanne Romero
lindsay – Prevention is the latest trend in health care – and for good reasons. Not only does prevention save lives, it also saves insurers and hospitals money.
The Lindsay Integrated Diabetic Project (LIDP) has the potential to dramatically improve the health of current diabetics as well as prevent future cases. The program was spearheaded by Lindsay Unified School District’s (LUSD) Healthy Start program, last year, and is now on the verge of coming into fruition.
The background history:
According to LUSD Director II of Healthy Start Linda Lesdesma, “The conversation around diabetes in Lindsay precedes my time by eight years.” She went on to say, “The Lindsay Hospital Board (LHB) has been looking for ways to do something in the community that could provide better health outcomes for Lindsay residents, and they felt addressing diabetes was necessary.”
Lesdesma stated that over the years LUSD staff has been treating more and more kids on campus who are diabetic, some of them insulin dependent. The effect that diabetes has on learners and their families has made a great impact on Lindsay’s Family Resource Center. Along with LUSD Community Development Director Barry Sommer, Lesdesma began initiating conversations with ‘stakeholders,’ citizens directly affected by diabetes as well as health and educational professionals, on what could be done about his growing health epidemic.
Over the last year there were a total of eight meetings held, in which Lesdesma, Sommer and the stakeholders focused on prevention and management of diabetes in Lindsay. Out of those meetings a blueprint for a strategic design emerged.
The final mission statement reports, “The mission of the Lindsay Integrated Diabetes Project is to optimize the health of Lindsay residents affected by diabetes through a comprehensive, culturally sensitive, family-centered approach.” Furthermore, the project will work to ensure that all Lindsay residents will have the knowledge to prevent and manage their diabetes as well as being motivated to live a healthier life.
Creating a plan:
With a core team of pharmacist consultants, behavioral psychologist, Promotoras (community health care liaisons), a lead project manager and facilitator, the coalition has identified 20 patients and their families and are currently in the beginning stages of developing comprehensive supports in order to improve health outcomes.
The project is taking a pharmacist-led approach with the help of the Promotoras to provide consultation services to the identified families. These families will also receive professional fitness instruction by the McDermont Field House. In addition to fitness instruction, patients will receive oversight and consultation from psychologist, Dr. Bill Polansky. Polansky, who specializes in the mental health of patients with diabetes, will help educate and support patients in order to manage their illness.
The LIDP team hopes to always have a group of at least 12 patients. The 20 patients are either uninsured or have insurance but do not have a medical home. The group was selected from Kaweah Delta’s emergency room data. LIDP will track patient costs, and savings as a result of services.
Although there were initial barriers to the project including a lack of data and funding, LIDP’s goal is to create a baseline with their partnerships and were fortunate to find funding from the Lindsay Hospital Board. With a plan and a core team in place LIDP applied and were successfully awarded funding from the Lindsay Hospital Board for one year with a plan to reapply as they grow the program. However, LIDP is also exploring ways to create a revenue stream so it can be self-sustaining.
Lesdesma stated, “Beside improving the lives of diabetics by helping them reach better health outcomes, we hope to demonstrate that utilizing a comprehensive approach will be cost effective and save monies for the insurer,” she went on to say, “We will be analyzing what it cost for a patient to utilize the ER verses a clinic, and overall decreased costs with interventions.”