The Greater Flint Health Coalition has received $30,000 in funding from the Community Foundation of Greater Flint’s Arthur L. Tuuri Health Fund to support its Diabetes Group Visit Project. This 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 throughout multiple healthcare physician practices in the community.
Group visits are an innovative clinical care model demonstrating effectiveness in improved patient outcomes, improved patient and physician satisfaction, and reduced healthcare costs. Often referred to as shared medical appointments, group visits typically involve 7-10 patients meeting with their physician and professional staff for 1½ to 2 hours for a one-on-one medical evaluation coupled with a group educational session emphasizing self-management behaviors. Project Chair, Paul Dake, M.D. has noted that, “The group visit model allows physicians to spend additional time with their most challenged diabetic patients. The improvements in HbA1c and cholesterol measures for patients in our group visits, compared to before they started attending the visits, have been truly remarkable.”
Multiple physician practices in Genesee County have already begun to regularly hold diabetes group visits for their patients. This grant funding will support local collaboration through the Greater Flint Health Coalition’s Diabetes Group Visit Project Workgroup to develop best practices, provide resources, and expand group visit implementation throughout Genesee County to additional provider sites. While diabetes remains the main focus, the Project has recognized the value of group visits for treating other health conditions such as heart disease, asthma, pregnancy, chronic pain and obesity/overweight. The Workgroup has created a Medical Group Visit Implementation Guide – a quick how-to manual outlining the essential information physician practices need for implementing group visits to treat any health condition including strategies or processes for patient recruitment, addressing HIPAA and patient confidentiality, group facilitation, and reimbursement. The guide may be downloaded from the Greater Flint Health Coalition’s website, www.gfhc.org. Physician practices may also contact the Greater Flint Health Coalition by phone at (810) 232-2228 or email at email@example.com to request a copy of the guide or other group visit resources the Project has to offer.
The Diabetes Group Visit Project Workgroup is a collaborative partnership with representation from McLaren Flint, Genesee County Medical Society, Genesys Health System, Hurley Medical Center, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, HealthPlus of Michigan, Genesee Health Plan, Hamilton Community Health Network, and the United Auto Workers Community Health Initiatives.