Southeast Program to Fight Diabetes Awarded Nearly $10M by HHS

Duke University and Michigan's National Center for Geospatial Medicine join forces

May 9, 2012

A plan to reduce death and disability from type 2 diabetes among at-risk populations in four underserved Southeastern counties is among the preliminary Health Care Innovation Award recipients announced today by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The collaborative effort titled, “From Clinic to Community: Achieving Health Equity in the Southern United States,” is spearheaded by Duke University Medical Center and the University of Michigan’s National Center for Geospatial Medicine.

The $9,773,499 award will be used to implement programs in collaboration with the Durham County Health Department (Durham, NC), Cabarrus Health Alliance (Cabarrus County, NC), Mississippi Public Health Institute (Quitman County, MS), Marshall University and Mingo County Health Department (Mingo County, WVa). 

"Diabetes is a devastating problem, but is especially far-reaching in the Southeastern region of the United States,” says Robert M. Califf, MD, vice chancellor for clinical research at Duke, and leader of the project.

“Previous approaches have not been able to stem the tide. Changing the course of the diabetes epidemic requires a radically new approach. By combining the modern technology of electronic records and geospatial mapping with a new workforce of community-based health care professionals, we believe we can achieve the triple aim of better outcomes, better health care and lower cost."

“Geospatial mapping and analysis will combine medical information and community information so that interventions can meet both individual patient and larger community needs,” said Marie Lynn Miranda, director of Michigan’s National Center for Geospatial Medicine, which includes an office in Durham.

“This will allow researchers to visualize complex relationships among the locations of diabetes patients, patterns of healthcare, and available social resources. The information will serve as the basis for intervention design, decision support, and real-time monitoring of interventions.” 

The Duke-led program will employ local home care teams who will provide patient-centered coordinated care to improve outcomes and lower cost -- reducing hospital and emergency room admissions and using preventive care to curb the need for amputations, dialysis, and cardiac procedures with estimated savings of over $20 million.

Over the three-year period, the collaborative program will train an estimated 88 health care workers and create an estimated 31 new jobs. These workers include information officers, health integrators, and community health workers who will use new technologies to facilitate communication, education, and care delivery.

The Duke program is one of 26 innovative projects nationwide chosen for their potential to save money, deliver high quality medical care, and enhance the health care workforce.

The preliminary awardees announced today are expected to reduce health spending by $254 million over the next three years. CMS’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation is administering the awards through cooperative agreements over three years.

“We can’t wait to support innovative projects that will save money and make our health care system stronger,” said Secretary Sebelius. “It’s yet another way we are supporting local communities now in their efforts to provide better care and lower cost.”

Preliminary awardees were chosen for their innovative solutions to the health care challenges facing their communities, as well as their focus on creating a well-trained health care workforce that meets the need for new jobs in the 21st century health system.