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Innovative Diabetes Program in McLean County a Success
Date:7/30/2008

Results for program's first year show positive outcomes

BLOOMINGTON-NORMAL, Ill., July 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Diabetes Checks & Balances, a unique program launched locally to help people manage the disease, helped decrease emergency room visits and hospital admissions among participants.

The first program of its kind in Illinois, Diabetes Checks & Balances encourages people with diabetes to contact their physicians and arrange for four tests, including HbA1c (a test indicating the level of blood sugar control), low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol, an eye exam, and screening for kidney disease. More than 600 area residents met the criteria for participation, and 29% received all four of the tests -- almost twice as many as in 2006, before the program started.

"These results are an impressive start. We will work to continue to drive people with type 2 diabetes to their doctors and other resources that can help them improve how they manage their conditions," said Barb Baurer, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of COUNTRY Financial.

The American Diabetes Association estimates more than 9,500 -- or roughly seven percent -- of the McLean County population has diabetes; and more than 120 people in the county die each year from diabetes or diabetes-related complications.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) collaborated with McLean County employers and health care providers on the Diabetes Checks & Balances program, including COUNTRY Financial, Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., State Farm Insurance(R), and numerous other local employers to target this population and move them toward care.

"Blue Cross' goal was to join together with local employers and providers and help our members in the area who have diabetes be healthier," said Scott Sarran, MD, BCBSIL's chief medical officer. "Similar to the 'medical home' concept, as part of this program, physicians provided comprehensive
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SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois
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