Best Practices from the Everyone with Diabetes Counts Program

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recognizes diabetes as a serious public health concern. In 2008, CMS piloted a diabetes project serving six states, which now has been expanded to reach every state and U.S. territory.

The “Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC): Engagement and Recruitment” breakout session at QualityNet provided the impetus for program participants to return home and apply best practices locally. Susan Fleck, Government Task Leader for the CMS Health Disparities Program, recognized three Quality Innovation Network (QIN)-QIO leaders as champions for engaging communities in diabetes prevention and management, and encouraged them to share key elements of their success.

Janice Hidalgo of the Atlantic Quality Innovation Network (AQIN), encouraged participants to develop a concise and compelling verbal business card for the program. “Get out in the community, tell your story and listen to the needs expressed by community advisors,” she urged. Feedback is vital, and the EDC program work is a “poster child” for application of the Plan Do Study Act (PDSA) improvement process, Hidalgo concluded.

QIN-QIOs need to “get into the community and put a face on the project,” said Brenda Ortiz of the TMF Quality Innovation Network. Ortiz told attendees that it’s important to network by participating in community events and meeting people at social hubs like churches, libraries and senior centers. Identifying local celebrities whose lives have been touched by diabetes is also a good method to gain interest in the program.

Natalie Tappe, EDC Network Task Lead for the Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network, shared how her state-based organization – the West Virginia Medical Institute – successfully partnered with a local high school to create a “win-win” situation. Diabetes self-management education (DSME) classes were held at the school, and students earned credits by volunteering their services. For example, culinary arts students provided healthy snacks for the classes, and marketing students prepared promotional flyers.

One final best practice proposed at the session was to make EDC volunteers and educators aware of the broader EDC work taking place across the nation, so they feel a part of something bigger than their own community.

At the end of the session, attendees left with valuable takeaways and the confidence to adopt these best practices and a host of others in their own communities.