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“Health for Life” project is part of the national “Everyone with Diabetes Counts” initiative to teach diabetes self-management classes in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico and Texas.

Hugo, OK – The Rural Health Network of Oklahoma is partnering with TMF Quality Innovation Network to promote diabetes awareness and motivate persons who have diabetes to sign up for a diabetes self- management education (DSME) class. The DSME classes teach patients about, and assist them with, setting goals for proper nutrition, physical activity, regular check-ups with their physicians, glucose monitoring and consistent medication use. The education campaign is called the Health for Life/Everyone with Diabetes Counts initiative.

Nearly 13 percent of adults in the United States age 20 and older have diabetes, according to the National Institute of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly one-third of persons 65 years and older have diabetes. The disease brings with it the risk of other complications such as blindness, amputations of lower extremities, kidney failure, heart disease and stroke. Its financial cost and the impact on patients’ and families’ lives are considerable.

Yet, the disease can be prevented and managed. Reducing the prevalence and managing the disease are a matter of education and effort on the part of the public, especially those more at risk for the disease. Hispanics, Native Americans and African-Americans are more at risk for the disease due to genetic and social factors.

“What may be the most important element of the diabetes self-management classes is that they show patients how behavior change can allow them to continue living an active life with diabetes,” said Tom Manley, President and CEO of TMF Health Quality Institute.

TMF® Health Quality Institute is a nonprofit health care consulting company and has partnered with the  Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care, Primaris in Missouri and the Quality Improvement Professional Research Organization, Inc. in Puerto Rico to form the TMF Quality Innovation Network Quality Improvement Organization (TMF QIN-QIO), under contract with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The TMF QIN-QIO region encompasses Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico and Texas.

Stacie Pace, director of the Rural Health Network of Oklahoma said: “We eagerly seized the opportunity to join the fight to curb this growing health care problem in our state and country. The disease can devastate lives if not managed, and it significantly adds to our health care costs.”

In addition to the DSME classes offered through the Health for Life campaign by the TMF QIN-QIO, it also trains instructors for the classes and partners with other health care organizations as well as physicians’ offices to make these classes widely available to diabetes patients.

People who have taken the classes describe them as “life changing.” The classes are popular and fill up fast, with some having waiting lists. As TMF QIN-QIO trains more instructors, additional classes are added in targeted  areas across the QIN-QIO region. Diabetes patients are advised to call 580-326-3351 or 580-372-0966 to find out about classes in their area beginning April 1, 2015.

The TMF QIN-QIO and the Rural Health Network of Oklahoma are focused on improving health outcomes for all persons with diabetes and eliminating the health disparities in the minority and rural populations by promoting and providing the DSME classes.

About Rural Health Network of Oklahoma)
The Rural Health Network (RHN) of Oklahoma works collaboratively to improve quality access to healthcare for people living in rural Oklahoma through a network of integrated services. As a rural health network, we believe in maximizing collaboration to ensure the best outcomes for both patient and provider.

RHN's purpose is to improve the health of rural Oklahoma by building a sustainable network of integrated services. This includes electronic health records (EHRs) and health information exchange (HIE) consulting, creating county health improvement organizations (CHIOs) and educating health care practitioners and the community about health care law, and chronic disease management, among other things.

About TMF Health Quality Institute
TMF Health Quality Institute focuses on improving lives by improving the quality of health care through contracts with federal, state and local governments, as well as private organizations. For more than 40 years, TMF has helped health care providers and practitioners in a variety of settings improve care for their patients.

Media Contact: Stacie Pace Director
Rural Health Network of Oklahoma 580-372-0966

TMF QIN-QIO Media Contact:
Ron Dusek Communications Specialist
TMF Health Quality Institute 512-334-1753

This material was prepared by TMF Health Quality Institute, the Medicare Quality Innovation Network Quality Improvement Organization, under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents do not necessarily reflect CMS policy. 11SOW-QINQIO-B2-15-17