BC Medical Association

BC Medical Association

November 15, 2006 11:00 ET

BC Medical Association: Chronic Disease Management for Diabetes Patients Is Improving Health and Reducing Hospital Visits

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 15, 2006) - Chronic disease management (CDM) guidelines, developed in partnership between the BCMA and the Ministry of Health and adopted by a majority of family doctors to manage their patients with diabetes, have resulted in better health outcomes for their patients.

In 2003, the first year that CDM diabetes program incentives were introduced, 1,510 family doctors and 47,000 patients participated in the initiative. By 2005/06 that number had increased to 2,590 family doctors adopting the incentives and guidelines, and almost 90,000 patients benefiting from the recommended care.

"With implementation of the diabetes collaborative and new incentives we are seeing a significant change in the way physicians treat their patients who have diabetes," said Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid, President of the BC Medical Association. "Awareness combined with incentives is having a big impact and our patients are benefiting."

"These improvements in patient care are directly related to government, BCMA and family doctors working closely together on behalf of patients and we intend to show continued improvements over the years to come," said Health Minister George Abbott. "The province invested $6.2 million on diabetes incentive payments in 2005/06. Through our new agreement with the BCMA we are committed to investing $396 million over the next four years to strengthen our primary health care system and support physicians in continuing to provide the best patient care for BC residents."

In addition to providing better care, this new model has also reduced costs in care for each diabetes patient from $4,400 in 2001/02 to $3,966 in 2004/05. The use of the diabetes guidelines has resulted in fewer health complications usually experienced by people with diabetes, resulting in fewer visits to emergency wards and associated hospital stays.

Chronic disease management, one of the key priorities of the negotiated agreement between doctors and government, is a systematic approach to improving health care for people with chronic disease. As with the management of all chronic diseases, patients with diabetes benefit from a planned process of care. Based on best practices, standardized diabetes protocols set out the ideal clinical management for physician and patient to follow such as the importance of quitting smoking, moderate walking exercise, blood pressure control, and regular testing of A1C levels.

The program created an improved tracking system of a patient's health status by their doctors. Additional payments are paid to physicians who care for their patients using the CDM program because of the additional work, beyond the office visit, in providing guideline based care. Patients are also encouraged to identify with their physician their personal goals related to improved management of the disease.

November is diabetes awareness month. Diabetes is a treatable but chronic condition. The main risks to health are its characteristic long-term complications which include cardiovascular disease, chronic renal failure, retinal damage which can lead to blindness, nerve damage, and gangrene that carries the risk of amputation of toes, feet, and sometimes legs.

Contact Information

  • BCMA
    Sharon Shore
    Manager of Media Relations
    (604) 638-2832
    Ministry of Health
    Marisa Adair
    Communications Director
    (250) 952-1889