Fetter Health Care Network has implemented programs and brought on new staff within the past year to specifically address the growing diabetes epidemic in South Carolina. Through patient treatment combined with educational health opportunities, Fetter has seen positive change in the lives of its diabetic patients. The health care provider’s interprofessional approach combines pharmaceutical knowledge and dietician support to help patients with diabetes live a happier and healthier life.
In 2018, Fetter established a partnership with the MUSC College of Pharmacy to allow a Pharm-D professor, who is also a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), to facilitate Pharm-D students who are in their Clinical Medicine rotation to perform medication reviews. These reviews allowed the students to consult with Fetter’s providers and make pharmaceutical recommendations based on the most updated evidence-based guidelines on all uncontrolled diabetic patients.
Fetter set up its care approach so that any patient with a hemoglobin A1c over 9% (which represents significantly uncontrolled diabetes), is automatically referred to the Pharm-D/CDE for one-on-one diabetes education sessions. After seeing the benefit of these efforts in late 2018, Fetter decided to hire a full-time Pharm-D/CDE. This new staff member now provides care for patients at Fetter’s busiest health center in downtown Charleston, while the partnering MUSC team sees patients at all other locations. Fetter’s team also uses Telehealth technology to accommodate the large number of patients who are referred to the program at its satellite sites.
In addition to hiring clinical pharmacists who are also diabetes educators, Fetter recruited a registered dietician to its team. This team member works alongside patients with diabetes, obesity, hypertension and chronic kidney disease to educate them on health and wellness while also forming specific dietary plans to meet their needs.
In the summer of 2019, Fetter formed a partnership with Lowcountry Street Grocery (LSG) to provide a mobile farmers market to its patients and facilitate a 6-week educational course. LSG sets up its mobile farmers market at Fetter’s Charleston Family Health Center every Wednesday, providing healthy food options for patients at an affordable cost. LSG also gives $10 in produce for every $5 a patient spends on their EBT card. Patients in Fetter’s 6-week course also receive a $20 food voucher for each class they attend.
Fetter truly understands the importance of an interprofessional approach to chronic conditions and has made efforts to employ a variety of medical specialists as well as form partnerships with other community agencies to address conditions such as obesity and diabetes. As a result of these initiatives, Fetter has improved its diabetes-related UDS measure (standardized reporting used by community health centers) from having 35% of diabetics uncontrolled in 2018 to only having 30% of patients uncontrolled as of August 2019. If this trend continues, Fetter anticipates that less than 30% of diabetic patients will be uncontrolled by the end of 2019, a number that is significantly better than the state average of 35%.
To find out if you could qualify for Fetter’s educational programs offered to diabetic patients, schedule an appointment today.