Thursday, March 18, 2010

Grading our diabetes care

As we refresh our memories about what’s in the Senate health reform bill, here’s a provision that you may not have heard about yet.

According to Act Section 10407 (scroll down to page 2281), biennially, the Secretary of Health and Human (HHS) Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must prepare and publicly produce national and state-specific “diabetes report cards,” which discuss preventative care, risk factors, and aggregate health outcomes for diabetes patients. In connection with this reporting, the HHS and the CDC will encourage collection of additional diabetes-mortality data and state revision of standard birth and death certificates to contain any relevant information related to diabetes. The Secretary also must collaborate with medical groups and associations to conduct a study on the role diabetes-specific education should play in medical licensure and board certifications.

Means to collect additional information about diabetes. To enhance the collection of data and statistics related to diabetes and diabetes-related complications, the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are required to gather data for and prepare national and state-specific “diabetes report cards.”

The report cards will discuss health information concerning individuals with diabetes on an aggregate basis and will report information on risk factors affecting patients and the public and general preventative care practices. Future reports also will address trends in the nation concerning diabetic care and related costs and will describe the policies and procedures implemented to meet the goals of improving diabetic care and decreasing prevalence of the disease. The report cards will be made available on the Internet.

Promoting state adoption of additional means to collect diabetes data. In connection with creating these report cards, the Secretary and CDC will promote the collection of additional consolidated diabetes-mortality data by encouraging states to revise their standard-form birth and death certificates. The revisions would include places in which to note the existence of or connections to diabetes. They also will work with physicians to provide education and training highlighting the importance of collecting this data and properly completing the documents.

The encouragement of these changes to states' birth and death certificates are intended to provide physicians with increased ability to recognize the prevalence of the disease and to consider its role
in patient death.


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