WATERTOWN — As of late October, Samaritan Medical Center’s Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support Program is accredited through the American Academy of Diabetes Educators.
The program is designed to address the patient’s health beliefs, cultural needs, current knowledge, physical limitations, emotional concerns, family support, financial status, medical history, health literacy, numeracy and other factors that influence each person’s ability to meet the challenges of self-management, according to a release from Samaritan.
“People living with diabetes may spend approximately 30 to 60 minutes with their doctor annually,” said Teresa Intorcia, Samaritan’s Healthy Lifestyles Diabetes Self-Management Education Program Coordinator and Outpatient Dietitian/Certified Diabetes Educator, in a statement. “Being able to provide 10 hours of education to patients living with diabetes — and their families — is priceless. It empowers patients to make daily self-management decisions and provide some of their own care.”
Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. An estimated 1.6 million New Yorkers have diabetes, according to the New York State Department of Health, with around 30 million Americans living with the disease in the U.S.
The department is working to reverse the diabetes epidemic in New York state by focusing on diabetes prevention, identifying people with prediabetes, and collecting data on prevalence of diabetes to help improve the health of all people with diabetes — that’s where programs like Samaritan’s come in.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s Diabetes Atlas, 11.8 percent of the adult population age 20 and over had been diagnosed with diabetes in Jefferson County in 2016, the most recent year in the Atlas.
Reimbursable through Medicaid, Medicare and other commercial insurance companies, Samaritan has developed an evidenced-based program that meets the 10 National Standards of Care for Diabetes.
According to a release from Samaritan, research has proven that, with the completion of the 10 hours of the program, a person living with diabetes can achieve one percent reduction in Hemoglobin A1c. A one percent drop is significant because it reduces the risk of diabetes problems in the eyes, kidneys or nerves by 37 percent.
The program is administered through Samaritan’s Healthy Lifestyles service, 1575 Washington St., in the Samaritan Health and Wellness Plaza.
Physician referrals to Healthy Lifestyles are required. For more information, call (315) 785-4667.