Atlantic Quality Innovation Network’s EDC Program Improves Quality of Life for Beneficiaries Living with Diabetes in New York

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This article, about beneficiary recruitment and education, is part of a larger series surrounding the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ diabetes self-management program, Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC).

Atlantic Quality Innovation Network (AQIN), the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) for New York, South Carolina and the District of Columbia, has experienced great success recruiting Hispanic and Latino Medicare beneficiaries for Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) workshops in and around New York City. According to Janice Hidalgo, director of patient and family engagement programs at IPRO, the lead organization within the Atlantic Quality Innovation Network, the majority of EDC participants are recruited through the QIN-QIO’s deeply rooted partnership with the New York City Department for the Aging and its robust network of more than 300 senior centers.

AQIN’s EDC program uses the Stanford Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP), the gold standard of diabetes self-management education in New York City,” Hidalgo said. Under Hidalgo’s leadership, the QIN-QIO implements DSMP, which includes 2.5-hour workshops conducted once a week for six weeks. The workshops emphasize peer learning and are facilitated by two trained leaders. The classes cover everything from symptoms management, exercise and healthy eating, to appropriate use of medication and strategies for working more effectively with health care providers.

"This mutual support helps everyone become more realistic and meet their goals, which builds confidence among beneficiaries.”

In 2014, AQIN graduated over 3,000 Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes from the DSMP program, totaling 6,500 graduates in New York since IPRO began offering the program in 2008. Hidalgo largely attributes the program’s success to its emphasis on problem solving and goal setting. This program is about how you are empowered to do more,” she said.

Each week beneficiaries and leaders alike set small goals, such as adding a serving of vegetables with dinner at least two or three times a week or increasing physical activity an additional 10 minutes a day. Then during the next workshop, participants discuss how their weeks went, jointly problem solve when their goals weren’t met and come up with ideas to make next week’s goal a success. This mutual support helps everyone become more realistic and meet their goals, which builds confidence among beneficiaries, Hidalgo said.

At the onset, EDC program participants are not that confident. Many come with a sense of fatality, fearing complications from their condition and feeling hopeless. However, according to Hidalgo, as the program progresses and participants become more informed, their attitudes change. By the end of six weeks, rather than feeling discouraged about the list of foods they can’t eat,” beneficiaries are excited about making healthy choices for themselves and their families.

DSMP empowers Medicare beneficiaries living with diabetes to take an active role in their health. Working in the community is not an easy job, but when you see beneficiaries transform and adopt a new attitude towards life, you can’t help but feel that we are the lucky ones for being part of their journey to a healthier life,” Hidalgo concluded.