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Lumetra Program Improves Diabetes Care Among Latinos
Date:2/1/2008

Comprehensive Campaign Key to Behavior Change & Decrease in Disparities in Care

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Disparities in care of diabetes patients in California decreased with the implementation of culturally-appropriate, community-based interventions, according to a new study published in the February American Journal of Public Health. Rates of glucose control testing among Latinos with diabetes substantially improved relative to testing rates among non-Hispanic whites.

Researchers at Lumetra, California's Quality Improvement Organization and healthcare consultancy, designed the multifaceted, 3-year study to improve diabetes care among Latino Medicare beneficiaries and to reduce disparities in annual A1C testing between Whites and Latinos.

"Viva La Vida: Helping Latino Medicare Beneficiaries with Diabetes Live Their Lives to the Fullest" increased annual A1C testing rates among Latinos from 70.6 percent to 77.5 percent, and decreased the disparity in A1C testing between Whites and Latinos from 7.1 percent to 3.0 percent, during the intervention period.

Rebecca Olson, PhD, Fabio Sabogal, PhD, and Ana Perez, MSN, CDE, CPHQ co-authored the study.

"'Viva La Vida' is a model program for any community that wants to take control of its members' health, productivity and longevity," says Dr. Olson. "This study is a step-by-step blueprint of how to mobilize a community and affect positive change by engaging community partners, developing language-appropriate materials that people will respond to, and creating a proactive dialogue about healthcare prevention."

Proper diabetes care management is known to be essential in preventing life-threatening and debilitating complications such as heart disease, hypertension and stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and lower extremity amputations.

The study targeted four California counties, home to more than half of all Latino Medicare beneficiaries in the state, including Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Diego. Bilingual, low-literacy health education materials and tools, community and provider partnerships, and mass media were essential components to Viva La Vida's success in reaching Latinos and ultimately, reducing disparities in the diabetes testing.

"The issue of disparities in healthcare, particularly for Latinos, is of tremendous concern to us," said Dr. Sabogal. "We know that Latinos are twice as likely as Whites to develop diabetes and they have higher death rates from the disease," he said. "Viva La Vida gets to the heart of the disparities problem by addressing the very barriers Latinos face when confronted with a medical issue, including language comprehension, cultural differences and community social norms. Viva La Vida empowered communities to take immediate charge of preventive care."

Lumetra is an independent, nonprofit consulting organization dedicated to improving the quality, safety, efficiency, and integrity of healthcare. Lumetra provides an array of professional services that include medical review, health information technology, quality evaluation and improvement, marketing and communications, and data analysis to private and public entities. As California's Medicare Quality Improvement Organization, Lumetra works with nursing homes, home health agencies and physicians across the state to ensure that every person receives the right care, every time.


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