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NorthShore University HealthSystem Launches Diabetes Outreach Program for Lake County's Medically Underserved

Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in Lake County

Evanston, IL (Vocus) March 12, 2009 -- NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) is pleased to announce a $1 million commitment to the Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center (LCHD/CHC) for Be Well-Lake County, a program dedicated to addressing the steadily growing problem of diabetes in the county.

In Lake County, nearly 36,000 residents have been diagnosed with diabetes. It is estimated that over 11,000 more have undiagnosed diabetes.

"With a record number of people losing health insurance and delaying life-saving medical treatment, now more than ever diabetes patients need to have access to quality healthcare," said Mark R. Neaman, Chief Executive Officer, NorthShore University HealthSystem. "The goal of this program is to begin to build a coordinated network of healthcare for the underserved population in Lake County."

NorthShore's funding announcement is a culmination of lengthy discussions with the LCHD/CHC about the most effective way to pool and maximize resources in addressing one of the fastest growing health threats in Lake County. With the necessary infrastructure already in place both institutions decided that providing critical funds to treat diabetes and provide education and awareness would have the most impact on the health of the targeted population.

"The need for diabetes prevention and treatment is real," said Irene Pierce, MSN, the Health Department's Executive Director. "This program is especially exciting because it engages Lake County residents in their healthcare, while providing access to diabetes screening and education, and healthy lifestyle education for the entire family."

NorthShore's funds will help support a pilot program providing:

  • Diabetes management for more than 500 current patients at the LCHD Community Health Center in North Chicago.
  • Increased staffing to include clinicians trained to implement a consistent standard of care to each patient.
  • Assistance with medication and testing supplies.
  • Subspecialty care access for ophthalmology, podiatry, endocrinology, nephrology and cardiology.
  • On-site Hemoglobin A1C testing.
  • A comprehensive approach to a healthy lifestyle for the entire family that will include paid membership to a fitness center for those who qualify; community health promoters to educate patients and ensure all of their appointment and education needs are met in a timely manner; and healthy food choice education.

NorthShore has also committed to hiring a project director, grant writer and physician researcher to ensure success and sustainability of the program.

"It is critical to measure process improvements both inside and outside the treatment setting, all of which contribute to improved access," said Madeleine Shalowitz, M.D., MBA, charged with investigating the process and measuring patient outcomes to effectively demonstrate the impact of the program.
The NorthShore Foundation has created a special committee and advisory group -- Founding Families -- to help partner in raising friends and funds for the program.
The Auxiliary of Highland Park Hospital is making a $1 million commitment to Be-Well Lake County to be distributed over the next 5 years.

About NorthShore University HealthSystem
Headquartered in Evanston, Ill., NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) is a comprehensive, fully integrated, healthcare delivery system that serves the greater North Shore and northern Illinois communities. The system includes four Hospitals - Evanston Hospital, Glenbrook Hospital, Highland Park Hospital and Skokie Hospital. In addition, the health system has more than 2,000 affiliated physicians, including a 550-physician, multispecialty physician group practice with over 70 office locations - NorthShore University HealthSystem Medical Group. Further, NorthShore is committed to excellence in its academic mission and supports teaching and research as the principal teaching affiliate for the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

The NorthShore University HealthSystem Research Institute, with more than $100 million of grants, focuses on clinical and translational research, including leadership in outcomes research and clinical
trials. The NorthShore University HealthSystem Foundation is the leading philanthropic entity of NorthShore. It raises charitable contributions, engages volunteer friends and invests in community partnerships.

NorthShore has annual revenues of $1.5 billion and a staff of more than 8,000. The HealthSystem has significant capabilities in a wide spectrum of clinical programs, including cancer, heart, orthopaedics, high-risk maternity and pediatrics. NorthShore is a national leader in the implementation of innovative technologies, including electronic medical records, (EMR ). In 2003, the HealthSystem was among the first in the country to successfully launch a systemwide EMR with demonstrable benefits in quality, safety, efficiency and service to patients. NorthShore has been recognized by multiple national organizations for this notable achievement.

About the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center

Established by referendum in 1956, the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center is a state-certified public health department responsible for the prevention of disease and disability, the promotion of health and the maintenance of a healthful environment. Governed by a 12-member Board of Health, it offers a broad spectrum of services in primary care, environmental health, community health and behavioral health. The Health Department's Community Health Center, which is governed by an 11-member Governing Council, provides care to more than 47,000 uninsured and underinsured individuals at five locations in Lake County, including Waukegan, North Chicago, Zion, Round Lake Beach and Highland Park.


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