Diabetes Alliance Program provides affordable care

The Center for Healing & Hope has launched the Diabetes Alliance Program (DAP), an innovative way of providing comprehensive diabetes care to patients at an affordable cost.

DAP is designed to ensure that people with diabetes can afford all the services recommended by the American Diabetes Association to manage the disease and avoid costly complications. Rather than pay for each doctor visit and each additional service, DAP patients pay a membership fee of $30 a month. Membership gives DAP patients access to services and supplies that would cost more than $3,000 a year at a traditional medical practice. Included are six doctor visits per year, lab tests, vaccines, testing supplies, diabetes education, a diabetic eye exam and many free medications—some of which would cost $500 a month at a pharmacy.

In its first three months, 40 members have enrolled in DAP, with most patients already experiencing significant improvements in their health. One of the first participants to join recently got the good news that her A1C (an average of her blood sugar levels for the last three months) dropped from 10.3 to 6.9, almost reaching the goal she set. A couple working together to address their diabetes has made changes in their diet and exercise, and both husband and wife are experiencing increased energy levels.

DAP is managed by the Center for Healing& Hope Chronic Care team, which formed in late summer. In addition to DAP, the team has another special program for people diagnosed with pre-diabetes, helping to prevent the disease. The team also helps patients manage other serious chronic illnesses like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, COPD and asthma. In addition, the Chronic Care team has been credentialed in the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, which provides free cancer screenings to women 30years and older. This program has already helped two women with serious problems get needed mammograms and treatments.

The Center for Healing & Hope beganthese chronic care services to complement the work of its Urgent Care team. For19 years, the Center has provided care to uninsured patients for minorillnesses and injuries, relying on volunteer doctors and nurses. However, theprevalence of patients returning with ongoing health issues, such as diabetesand high blood pressure, prompted the Center to hire Dr. Michelle Shelly andestablish the Chronic Care team. 

The Urgent Care clinics are open two evenings and one morning each week and continue to rely on the generosity of volunteer medical and clerical staff. The Chronic Care services, offered on Monday evenings and Wednesdays, are intended to provide ongoing, consistent care for people who need both medical services and the collaboration of a team of caregivers working with them to manage their illnesses.

Dr. Shelly reports that patients are responding with gratitude to DAP and the new services. “It’s felt so overwhelming to take care of my diabetes. Trying to pay for all the things I needed was out of my reach,” one patient said. Another said, “Having the team invested in my health makes me want to work harder to do what I can to be healthier.”

The Center for Healing & Hope is able to provide these services at affordable costs for people without insurance or a family physician because of generous support from the community. Recent gifts from the Bontrager Foundation and Elkhart County Community Foundation have provided significant funds to cover start-up costs for the Chronic Care services.

For more information about the Diabetes Alliance Program, free cancer screenings or other Chronic Care services, call the Center for Healing and Hope at 574-534-4744. The Center also welcomes volunteers to join the Chronic Care team to help provide these important services to our community.