In rural southeastern Idaho, it can be challenging for people with diabetes to access educational opportunities about managing their health.
When Qualis Health—the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) for Idaho and Washington — sought a community partner back in 2016 to host diabetes self-management program workshops in southeastern Idaho, the consulting team raised the idea of contacting the Lions Club, a service organization known for its health programs focusing on diabetes and sight.
The Idaho Southeast Diabetes Lions Club has made an ideal partner for Qualis Health. Besides hosting the QIN-QIO’s workshops in the large rural communities of Idaho Falls and Preston, the club provides participants and other members of the community with access to unique eye health services, including comprehensive eye exams and an eye glass recycling program. The Lions Club offers free eye exams for people with diabetes. Also, a travelling mobile screening unit is able to reach rural patients by travelling into different communities. Rural patients who otherwise might have a difficult time gaining access to eye care have benefited from the mobile service. Additionally, the Lions Club focuses on connecting diabetes patients with eye education, resources and support groups.
“The fact that we’re able to reach patients in rural areas with this program is so valuable,” said Linda Rowe, executive director at Qualis Health. “We’re meeting a need in our communities and improving the health of these patients.”
One of Qualis Health’s leaders in Southeast Idaho, Pam Wake, said she regularly refers her workshop participants to the Lions Club’s resources. A number of her participants have received a comprehensive eye exam and eye glass prescription coverage as a result of this connection. Since beginning this work in 2015, Qualis Health has had over 240 Medicare beneficiaries from across the state graduate from diabetes self-management workshops. These results would not be possible without the partnership of organizations like the Lions Club.