Sussex County Hospitals Announce Health Collaboration

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Beebe Medical Center, Nanticoke Health Services and Bayhealth Medical Center today unveiled a collaborative initiative called Healthier Sussex County. Through this collaboration, the three hospitals will join with local community and health resources to focus on one mission – to make Sussex County one of the healthiest in the nation.

Healthier Sussex County will focus on addressing important health issues impacting residents of Sussex County by identifying and addressing health disparities; identifying and addressing health education; and making a positive impact on health behaviors. To launch this initiative, two major health concerns impacting Sussex County residents have been identified – Diabetes and Mammography.

Diabetes Initiative
The Diabetes Initiative will begin with a pilot project involving ten primary care practices, including La Red, in Sussex County. This project was selected because according to Delaware Health Tracker, the number of people in Sussex County with diabetes rose from 9.9% to 11.6% between 2008 and 2012. A contributing factor to the growing diabetes population is the percentage of overweight or obese adults in Sussex County. This number has grown to 69.8% of the population. Being overweight increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

This one year pilot program has two goals. The first is to increase the percentage of patients with diabetes in Sussex County who have completed HgbA1C testing in the last year. This test is important because the result reflects an individual’s average blood sugar over the previous 3 months, providing imperative information regarding the quality of blood sugar control, severity of diabetes and impact of treatment. Currently, the number of Medicare patients receiving this test is 89% and the goal is 92%. The percentage of Medicaid patients receiving this test is 70% with a goal of 75%.
The second goal is to increase attendance and completion of existing diabetes education and self management programs. The baseline is 50% and the goal is 55% participation in these programs.

Mammography Initiative
The Healthier Sussex County Mammography Initiative will focus on education and awareness efforts for minority women age 40 and older, especially those with Medicare insurance. Screening mammography is important because Sussex County has an incidence of breast cancer higher than the national average with 128.3 cases per 100,000 women. Breast health education seminars at local community organizations as well as strategic alignment with other organizations such as the Komen Foundation, Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Delaware Public Health and the American Cancer Society are part of the plan. This initiative will be launched this fall.

Healthier Sussex County Resources
The Diabetes and Mammography Initiatives are part of a larger plan to provide resources for improving the health of Sussex County residents. In the future, additional resources will be dedicated to addressing other community health needs.

In order to communicate new projects, educational opportunities and initiative results, a Healthier Sussex County website has been launched. This portal will also link to the many health resources available to help Sussex county residents improve their health. Healthier Sussex County news can be found on the site as well as details about health information on future screenings, health fairs and classes. The web address is: www.healthiersussexcounty.com.

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