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Veterans Honor Dr. Richard Merkin During Research Week
Date:4/24/2008

Ceremony to be held May 13th at Long Beach Veterans Administration Hospital

LONG BEACH, Calif., April 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The West Hills/Northridge Veterans Administration will honor Dr. Richard Merkin, President of Heritage Provider Network, for his contributions to the health of American war veterans. The VA, in collaboration with Heritage Medical Research Institute (HMRI), is conducting a clinical research study aimed at examining diabetic ulcers in veterans. Dr. Merkin will receive his honor at a ceremony to be held during Research Week on May 13 2008 at 10:00am at the Long Beach Veterans Administration Hospital in the Pantages Theater Room .

Diabetes mellitus is one of the most serious problems facing the health of the general US population. This year over 7% of the population, or 21 million people, will be diagnosed with diabetes and among these individuals, 15%-25% will develop a Diabetic Foot Ulcer ("DFU") during their lifetimes. This is a very serious problem since DFUs are the leading cause of non-traumatic amputation. Since over 20% of patients with a DFU require an amputation, it is expected that between 650,000 to over 1 million unfortunate individuals will face having an amputation each year. Moreover, these patients also face a higher risk of additional amputations and a higher 5-year mortality rate of 39% to 68%. Dr. Merkin and the Heritage Provider Network consider this an unacceptable catastrophe for patients and their families and a significant cause of rising healthcare costs.

The Heritage Medical Research Institute confirms that this is an even more serious problem among this country's veterans who are three times more likely to have diabetes as compared with the general population. Not only do veterans account for over half of all hospitalization for LE ulcerations, but almost two-thirds of all hospitalization for LE amputations in the VA healthcare system is among veterans with diabetes. The 64% LE amputation rate among
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SOURCE Dr. Richard Merkin
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