DIABETES: Conference Highlights Advances
Dr. Steven Edelman, professor of medicine at University of California-San Diego, says "many patients in HMOs aren't being told about improvements in insulin drugs and blood sugar monitoring devices." He said, "For primary care doctors in the setting of managed care, it's basically impossible to keep up with all the changes. This is a chronic condition, and you can't do it all in two minutes." In order to advance patient education about diabetes and "motivate people to take an active role in keeping their blood sugar levels down," Edelman has organized a series of conferences called "Taking Control of Your Diabetes." Diabetes is a chronic, progressive condition that affects approximately 18 million Americans and "often results in blindness, heart disease, obesity and high blood pressure." A 1997 report in Diabetes Care totalled the cost of treating the illness at $24.6 billion per year. But, by monitoring and treating blood sugar levels, diabetics can live longer, better-quality lives "with greatly reduced medical expenses," the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. And Edelman adds that "four new classes of drugs" as well as improved "insulin pumps and monitors" could further these gains. However, while California Association of Health Plans spokesperson Maureen O'Haren praised Edelman's conference, she countered his implicit critique of managed care by saying, "[I]t is unreasonable to expect physicians to discuss every preventive health measure and option." For more information on the San Diego Conference Saturday, call (619) 755-5683 (Clark, 9/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.