FAYETTE COUNTY, Ga., Aug. 22 Dominique Wilkins, NBA Hall-of-Famer and advocate for healthier living, visited Towne Club today to create awareness of the fact that seniors at risk for diabetes can get a free diabetes screening test in their health care provider's office. This is the core message of the Medicare Diabetes Screening Project (MDSP), a community-based effort that has been active in Georgia since 2007 and is co-chaired nationally by the American Diabetes Association, the Healthcare Leadership Council, and Novo Nordisk, and is supported by more than 20 organizations representing the interests of seniors and health care providers.
Screening seniors for diabetes is urgently needed. According to a study in the February 2009 issue of Diabetes Care, 32% of adults ages 65 and older have diabetes. What's more, almost half (46%) of those seniors with diabetes don't know they have it - they have not been diagnosed. In addition to those with diabetes, another 40% of adults ages 65 and older have pre-diabetes, putting them at very high risk of developing diabetes and heart disease, and it is likely that most of them are unaware of their status.
"Diabetes has touched my family multiple times," said Mr. Wilkins, "and we've seen first-hand the devastation it can cause. That's why I'm proud to be here today, to encourage seniors to get the ball rolling by asking their health care providers about getting screened for diabetes." Mr. Wilkins reminded those seniors in attendance that if they get screened for diabetes and work with their health care providers, they can take steps to either prevent or manage the disease. Featured at today's event at Towne Club was Sen. Ronnie Chance (R - District 16), Senate Finance Chairman and a member of Georgia's Workforce Investment Board. "Everyone has a role to play in the fight against diabetes," said Sen. Chance. "That's why I am delighted to see the business, health and medical and senior-serving communities all coming together to improve the health of seniors in Fayette County."
The day started at the Raising Star Middle School where Dominique Wilkins helped "tip off" registration for the Peachtree City Youth Basketball Association and along with Senator Chance discussed the importance of children forming lifelong healthy habits to prevent diabetes and heart disease.
The diabetes awareness event at Towne Club is one part of a larger day of activities to launch the Fayette Healthy Community Partnership, a collaboration of health care provider organizations, employers, retailers, and other businesses and groups brought together by locals Daye Bexley and Terry Womack to promote health and wellness in Fayette and Coweta Counties. Leaders of the Partnership include the Piedmont Fayette and Newnan Hospitals and the Piedmont Heart Institute, Kroger Stores and Pharmacies, the Center for Health Transformation, and Novo Nordisk.
In addition to the visit by Mr. Wilkins and Sen. Chance to the Peachtree City Youth Basketball Association at the Rising Starr Middle School Gym, today's events included an appearance by Mr. Wilkins at Kroger Fayetteville, where Kroger and Piedmont Fayette Hospital health care professionals combined forces to conduct a Health Fair focused on diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol and Body Mass index.
"At Kroger Stores and Pharmacies, we're committed to giving our customers not only quality products and services, but also opportunities to improve their health," said Liza Chapman, Pharm.D., Clinical Coordinator with Kroger Pharmacy. "That's why we will be providing free health screenings at seven of our stores in Fayette County beginning today through September 19, 2009. Please call 1-877.4RX-CLINIC (1-877-479-2546) or visit www.kroger.com for schedules, times and availability."
A key component of the Fayette Healthy Community Partnership is the Heart Health Scorecard, developed by the Piedmont Heart Institute. This scorecard is intended for use by patients on visits to their health care providers, serving as an anchor to a broader conversation about the need for individuals to become more engaged in their own health and health care. It contains questions to ask providers, as well as a handy chart for recording the results of a variety of important tests and risk assessments related to general health and well-being, such as weight circumference, blood pressure, body mass index, blood glucose (sugar), cholesterol, and triglycerides.
"More than 100,000 copies of this scorecard will be distributed to adults in Fayette and Coweta Counties over the course of the next year," said William A. Blincoe, M.D., cardiologist with the Piedmont Heart Institute. "We're proud to be a part of this community initiative and believe our Heart Health Scorecard will make a difference in the lives and health of thousands of the people we serve."
The Fayette County Chamber of Commerce is also pleased to be a part of this effort to promote a healthy community. The focus of their popular "Find it in Fayette" Community Expo this year is Health, Wellness and Sustainability. Says Chamber President, Virginia Gibbs, "We're thrilled that so many of the Fayette Healthy Community Partners will be exhibiting in the Expo this year. The event features a wide variety of health screenings and interactive displays. It's a great chance for young and old alike to learn more about how to stay healthy." Visit www.FayetteChamber.org for more info on the September 15th Community Expo.
"Community initiatives such as this are essential to transforming the health of our nation," said Laura Linn, Vice President and Director of the Georgia Project at the Center for Health Transformation. "Individuals knowledgeable of their health status living in communities supporting healthy behaviors are central to better health at lower cost."
The Center for Health Transformation is a high-impact collaboration of private and public sector leaders committed to creating a 21st Century Intelligent Health System that saves lives and saves money for all Americans. To learn more, visit www.healthtransformation.net.
The Medicare Diabetes Screening Project is a community-based effort to reach and motivate seniors who have undiagnosed diabetes or pre-diabetes, and encourage them to see their doctors or other health care providers, and take advantage of the free diabetes screening benefits offered by Medicare. To learn more, visit www.screenfordiabetes.org.
SOURCE Medicare Diabetes Screening Project