The Arthur L. Tuuri Health Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint has awarded the Greater Flint Health Coalition’s (GFHC) Diabetes Group Visit Project with a $45,000 grant. The GFHC’s Diabetes Group Visit Project, which began in 2008, aims to reduce diabetes morbidity and improve quality of life for diabetic patients in Genesee County through the implementation of diabetes group visits, an innovative clinical care model which has demonstrated effectiveness with improved patient outcomes, improved patient and physician satisfaction, and reduced healthcare costs.
Diabetes group visits are a shared medical appointment that allows one physician to engage approximately seven to ten patients in a two hour session, providing each patient extended time with the physician and facilitating group discussion around improving patient management of diabetes. Discussion topics include healthy behaviors, diet and nutrition, exercise, medication, and foot care as each patient shares “best practices” in addressing with various aspects of diabetes care and management. Specialists such as diabetes educators, nutritionists, and behaviorists are also engaged in each group visit.
“The potential for diabetes group visits to improve patient self-management of diabetes is truly remarkable,” said Paul Dake, M.D., Chair of the GFHC Diabetes Group Visit Project Workgroup and Site Director, McLaren Family Practice Residency Program. “This improvement is especially relevant for poorly managed patients who do not respond well to traditional one-on-one care, so therefore physicians have additional time to deal with their most difficult patients through the group setting.”
To date, physicians from the McLaren Family Practice Residency Program, Hamilton Community Health Network, and multiple private practices have begun to develop implementation strategies to regularly hold diabetes group visits for their patients. This grant funding will continue to support the use of this innovative care delivery model by providing resources, tools, and knowledge transfer to aid the implementation of diabetes group visits for the benefit of local diabetic patients.
The GFHC’s Diabetes Group Visit Project Workgroup collaboratively guides the efforts of the project through representation from McLaren Regional Medical Center, Genesys Health System, Hurley Medical Center, the Genesee County Medical Society, Genesee Health Plan, HealthPlus of Michigan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and the United Auto Workers. To learn more about physicians in the community offering the diabetes group visit model, please contact the GFHC.