As a family nurse practitioner and the director of clinical programs here at LHC Group, I’ve treated many patients dealing with the complications and difficulties of diabetes. This disease, if not properly managed, can have serious debilitating effects on a patient’s overall health and quality of life.
But now our clinical teams here at LHC Group have an exciting new tool at their disposal in the ongoing fight against diabetes – Choose Control, LHC Group’s new comprehensive diabetes management program.
Designed to empower patients by teaching them to control their condition, this all-inclusive, evidence-based program is centered on a few important core components:
- Extensive education (patients and their caregivers) – On diabetes, proper monitoring of blood sugar, meal planning, physical activity, medication management, and overall health management.
- Targeted continuing education (for LHC Group clinicians) – Ensuring that our clinicians are specially trained to teach patients about diabetes management in a practical and understandable way.
- Clinical pathways – Designed to assist our skilled clinicians in formulating an effective care plan for each patient.
Diabetes affects millions of Americans. According to the CDC (from 2020):
- 2 million Americans are currently diagnosed with diabetes mellitus.
- 8 percent of Americans over the age of 65 suffer from complications of diabetes.
- It is considered the seventh-leading cause of death in the U.S.
- Diabetes and its complications have an estimated annual cost of $327 billion.
One other important fact to note: At LHC Group, diabetes as a primary or secondary diagnosis makes up over 10 percent of our daily census.
The benefits of Choose Control are obvious: Most important of all, the program will help us provide care and comfort for even more people living with diabetes – allowing them greater freedom and quality of life. It also provides our clinicians with a clear and proven plan of action, and will ultimately improve LHC Group’s outcomes and performance metrics.
After creating the program, we launched a pilot at Jefferson HomeCare in Arkansas, where 125 patients were admitted to home care and put on the Choose Control program. The patients had a primary or secondary diagnosis of diabetes type 2.
Prior to introducing the program, the agency’s readmission rate for diabetic patients was 16.7 percent. After initiating and implementing the program, these 125 patients had a readmission rate of 10.7 percent. While it’s important to remember that results will vary, we decreased the agency’s 30-day readmission rate by 6 percentage points!
And the news gets better – feedback from patients, their caregivers, AND our clinicians showed clearly that the program was tremendously well-received. Patients and caregivers commented on how much they enjoyed and learned, and our participating clinicians called out the easy-to-use specific pathways in Homecare Homebase (HCHB), and the minimal setup time.
With any clinical program, our goal is to improve patient outcomes and overall health while reducing costs incurred by healthcare systems at the local and national level. And Choose Control will clearly help us accomplish these goals.
So, who qualifies for this program? Anyone with a primary or secondary diagnosis of type 2 diabetes mellitus, and any payor in line with PDGM. It’s important to note that this program is not only for uncontrolled diabetic patients, but also for patients who require more education on their disease process and management, as well as for newly diagnosed patients.
With the introduction of Choose Control, we are continuing the spirit of innovation LHC Group is known for, and enhancing our ability to deliver the compassionate, effective, and efficient care on which so many depend.
Our patients are the reason we do what we do. Because, as always, it’s all about helping people.