Why is direct service funding so crucial?
In some medical fields the literature about treatment varies a great deal--in diabetes, however, the research is consistent and clear. A daily self-management regime that balances medications, diet, exercise and testing of blood sugars leads to tight control of diabetes, which prevents diabetes complications by up to 76%, and subsequently saves lives. Education, guidance from a team of health-care professionals and psycho-social support are crucial to effect the long-term behavioral changes that lead to tight control. According to the 2001 Franklin County/Columbus Health Risk Assessment, 28% of people with diabetes do not monitor their blood glucose levels at all; when asked how often they saw a health-care professional, 33% with diabetes indicated not at all.
In addition to saving lives, new research shows that diabetes education can also save dollars. While it has long been recognized that diabetes education saves health-care dollars in the long-term, short-term cost savings are now documented. A study released in January, 2001, in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that sustained reductions in blood glucose levels among patients with diabetes are followed by significant reductions in health-care utilization and costs within one to two years (estimated annual cost reduction of $900 per patient).