Mercy Program Aimed at Improving Diabetic Health

Mercy Program Aimed at Improving Diabetic Health

Mercy Hospital holds diabetes day as a part of American Diabetes Month to inform the public on the disease and offer screenings and food demonstrations. Along with today’s event, a doctor at Mercy is making an effort to improve the diabetic health of the community. She started a program to get more diabetes experts in primary care clinics in the four states.
If it’s not managed, diabetes can lead to many other health issues. Mercy Hospital is taking steps to give diabetes patients better access to medical experts by launching a diabetes ambassadors program.
“We are more or less experts in diabetes care for patients. We use that as a training ground to train nurse practitioners and physicians assistants to satellite them out to primary care settings,” says Dr. Gretchen Shull, an endocrinologist at Mercy.
Diabetes is very prevalent in the four states, compared to a national average of 9.3%, 10% of Missouri residents have it, with a 10.8 percentile in Jasper County alone. In Kansas, 9.5 % of people have it, 11.5 % in Crawford County. And in Oklahoma, 10.9% of state residents have diabetes, compared to 15.6% of just Ottawa County residents.
“We run a very busy clinic here in the endocrinology department and can’t possibly hit all of the diabetics that are in our area so we really needed to find a way to extend some feelers out and provide some experts for the surrounding communities,” says Nurse Practitioner Amanda Hunter. She is the first ambassador and will train future ambassadors.
The majority of diabetics never make it to a specialist. Having these experts in local primary care offices will ensure they receive proper treatment.
“It is a progressive disease and so if we can catch these cases earlier and treat them better early on then we can prevent the complications that come from the disease,” says Hunter.
Which should in turn reduce the number of hospital stays for diabetics.
“This is just an opportunity to be patient centered and look to where the need is. Diabetes is a national issue, it’s a national problem, we have to try and hit that chronic disease and really hit prevention and this very much allows us to do that,” says Shull.
They plan to train 1 ambassador each quarter and will place them in primary care offices based on the number of patients that go there with diabetes.