Essential Tips To Start A Successful Diabetes Wellness Center
by Sarah Koszyk, RD
Over 25.8 million children and adults (8.3% of the entire United States population), have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Each year, more than 1.9 million people are newly diagnosed with diabetes, according to the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet. With these drastically increasing numbers, establishing more educational resources and prevention and/or wellness centers is an important task that dietitians are extremely qualified to handle. This article will discuss key tips to implementing a successful diabetes wellness center so you make a difference.
5 Initial Steps To Take To Start A Diabetes Wellness Center:
#1. Set The Foundation For Your Business. Business-saavy Elizabeth T. Leong, RD, CDE, owner/founder of Bay Area Diabetes & Wellness Center, LLC, has a business background so that her company stays on top of the basic office paperwork including scheduling appointments, filing insurance claims, and managing other contracted dietitians who work for her. Registered Dietitians are qualified to provide medical nutrition therapy for diabetes and get reimbursed. Private insurance companies do not require additional credentialing, but one must be business savvy to develop a program curriculum to market to other health plans.
#2. Establish A Program + Committee + CQI. Nita Durham, RD, CDE, Program Coordinator of the Diabetes Wellness Program at St. Joseph, Queen of the Valley Medical Center, informs that establishing a program and collecting data from patients is highly important when wanting to get recognized. Start with at least 10 patients to collect data from. A program also needs to have a Community Advisory Committee and Continual Quality Improvement (CQI) project. Click here to get the details on the committee and CQI.
#3. Get Recognized. Both Durham and Leong stress the importance of having the program be a Recognized Education Program by either the American Diabetes Association (ADA) or the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE). By following the 10 National Standards for Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support, you can apply for recognition and have the necessary guidelines to succeed.
#4. Work With Third Parties & Referral Sources. Insurance companies take a long time to sign-up with. So start the application process early so that you can build your clientele, start your database collection (which will be necessary when applying to be a recognized program), and start to get extra income besides just private pay. Third party payers can help to add additional clients who are referred by doctors. Also establish a multi-disciplinary team including (but not exclusive of) a medical doctor, therapist, and others in order to give referrals and get referrals.
#5. Get Experience. Leong emphasizes to get experience with diabetes education and get certified as a diabetes educator. Review the AADE & ADA Core Competencies for DSME/T and MNT providers, too, explains Leong. With the extra experience and certification, you’ll be well-versed on how to deal with all different clients and teaching/counseling methods. Leong has over 40 years experience!
“Making a difference with several of my clients is what drives me to love what I do. We see them back for a 3-month follow-up class and so many of them have lost weight, or are no longer on medication/insulin, or their dosage is reduced,” explains Durham. Leong also benefits highly from being an advocate of translating medical knowledge and information between the doctor and the patient and helping the patients understand how they can succeed in controlling their diabetes. Leong is “living her dream job after 20 years of finding it.”
Now it’s your turn to start your own diabetes wellness center and help the millions of Americans live a longer, healthier life. What are you waiting for? Click here to get the guidelines to establish your recognized program.