CHARLESTON, W. Va. (January 23, 2012) – People with Medicare in rural West Virginia now have an opportunity to participate in a series of free diabetes education classes under a new project led by the West Virginia Medical Institute (WVMI).
The classes, part of a two-year program called Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC), will be primarily offered in 13 counties in southern West Virginia. These include Jackson, Mason, Wayne, Lincoln, Boone, Logan, Wyoming, McDowell, Mercer, Summers, Monroe, Greenbrier and Nicholas. Program staff are also available to work with people and programs in surrounding counties.
The free classes are open to people with Medicare who have diabetes, their families and caregivers. Nurses, community health workers, and eventually volunteers trained by WVMI, will cover topics that include managing every aspect of diabetes, from nutrition to exercise to important tests and exams.
Diabetes is considered an epidemic in West Virginia with as many as 1 in 6 people being diagnosed with the disease with little to no education about their condition in certain parts of the state.
The EDC program, funded by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), seeks to educate 6,000 people with Medicare who have diabetes in the designated counties over the next 18 months.
“Educating 6,000 people with diabetes in Southern West Virginia is a bold goal, but by working with both communities and the health care system, we hope to make it happen,” Beckey Cochran, WVMI’s Director of Health Care Quality Improvement, said.
The EDC program is currently looking for state and community partners willing to promote courses, offer additional locations for classes, teach classes, and help find ways to make the project sustainable.
“Our hope is that these offerings will become a part of the community fabric and continue beyond completion of the initial project,” Cochran said. “The need for diabetes education is not going away any time soon.”
In addition to providing diabetes education and training, WVMI is also offering resources and assistance to health care providers seeking to become Diabetes Centers within their communities. By working in both the community setting and through health care providers, WVMI hopes to maximize project impact. At the end of the program, WVMI aims to have 50 trained community health workers who will add to the overall network of resources for diabetes education.
Classes will begin at the end of January. Visit the events page for a schedule of classes or call 855-376-9382.