Highmark Foundation Grants Support Diabetes Care in Pennsylvania

November 16, 2009

The Highmark Foundation released a report detailing the impact of more than $1.6 million in grants that it issued on diabetes care and services for Pennsylvanians.

To coincide with National Diabetes Awareness Month, the Highmark Foundation released a report, "Improving Access to Diabetes Care and Services in Pennsylvania through Coordinated Strategies," which details the impact of the more than $1.6 million that the foundation has provided to help increase access to diabetes care and services for Pennsylvanians. Diabetes affects 760,000 individuals, or 6.1 percent of the population, in Pennsylvania.

"Our grant making has supported programs that reduce the effects of diabetes and improve the quality of life for people living with the disease," said Yvonne Cook, president of the Highmark Foundation. "Diabetes can lead to serious health complications, including heart disease and stroke, hypertension, visual impairment, amputations, dental disease, pregnancy-related complications or even premature death."

Four hospitals, a Federally Qualified Health Center, a spiritual and health-based wellness project and a university received funding for programs that have shown promising and measurable outcomes. The programs have reduced the prevalence of diabetes and illustrated the effectiveness of early intervention and preventive health programs:

  1. Centers for Healthy Hearts and Souls (Allegheny County) received $246,000 for the expansion of the Healthy Individual, Family Community Program. Approximately 25 people have enrolled in the diabetes support program and have been taught how to live with diabetes through education, fitness and self-assessment.
  2. Hamilton Health Center (Dauphin County) received $250,000 in support of the Healthy Outcomes Program for Uninsured Diabetics. With the grant, the program provided more than 200 uninsured diabetes patients with coordinated care services.
  3. Meyersdale Medical Center (Somerset County) received $250,000 for the development of the Healthy Education for Life Pre-Diabetes Program, which has supported 17 participants by encouraging prevention, early detection and management of chronic disease.
  4. Miners Medical Center (Cambria, Indiana and Clearfield counties) received $250,000 for the development of the Plan for Improving Health Status of Diabetic Populations, which provided 23 participants with access to education, medically necessary services, medical supplies and care management programs.
  5. PinnacleHealth System (Dauphin County) received $252,570 to improve ambulatory diabetes care among minority populations. The program provided education services to create long-term behavior change and improve the health status of patients through diabetes self-management classes.
  6. Uniontown Hospital (Fayette County) received $158,260 to establish a diabetes clinic. More than 1,000 new patients have received coordinated services in a region where services were not previously available.
  7. University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health - Center for Minority Health (Allegheny County) received $200,000 for the Healthy Black Family Project. More than 7,100 patients enrolled in the program, which provides resources for minorities and families to help reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes by offering access to health promotion and disease prevention resources.

For more information on the Highmark Foundation's approach to addressing diabetes and outcomes of the grants, read the complete report.