Louisiana success stories

LA Success Stories
Quality improvement endeavors can often feel overwhelming, but chances are, you can learn from the experiences that another physician, hospital or nursing home has had in a similar situation. Coupled with support from Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network, learning what has worked for others — and what didn't — is a valuable strategic planning component. 

We encourage you to read the success stories, contact us for more information, and also let us know if you have a Quality Insights' success story to share.

EDC in Opelousas: A Growing Community Partnership

EDC Logo Picture 5Opelousas is Louisiana’s third oldest city. The region, settled by the French Creoles, Spanish and Acadians, is renowned for its rich food and is often referred to as the “Spice Capitol” of the world. Unfortunately, the region is also exhibiting a growing prevalence of pre-diabetes and diabetes.

“The necessary lifestyle changes related to the diagnosis of diabetes are particularly difficult for this population – especially dietary changes,” Karen Ziecker, Quality Improvement Specialist with Quality Insights, said. “The French Louisiana region – also known as Acadiana – is noted for its rich food.” 

With the growing prevalence of pre-diabetes and diabetes, several local health care leaders recognized an opportunity for change through the Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) initiative. EDC is a national initiative of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and is coordinated by Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network, which is supported locally by EQ Health Solutions. 
EDC in Louisiana uses the Diabetes Empowerment Education Program (DEEP) curriculum created by the University of Illinois at Chicago. DEEP teaches people with diabetes and/or their caregivers the skills they need to be in control of their health. Consisting of six weekly classes, participants learn about diabetes risks, nutrition, weight management, how to properly manage medications and much more. Based on group interaction and working together, the classes empower and inspire the participants to feel confident about their health and themselves.
The Beginning of a Relationship
Kent Stoneking, Director of Healthcare Solutions at Fred’s Pharmacies and Andrew Brickley, Opelousas General Health System’s Vice President, both recognized a need for diabetes self-management education to help patients manage their disease and prevent serious complications such as premature death. 
Stoneking saw the potential of the EDC program as an effective way to assist the community and population. He initiated contact with Sue Fleck at CMS to discuss options for the region and she referred him to Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network. Stoneking helped coordinate an impromptu meeting with several regional pharmacists and clinical field educators from Fred’s Pharmacies as well as Brickley with Opelousas General Health System. That initial meeting sparked a flurry of discussion and action that has now grown into the strong partnership that exists today. 
EDC Begins in Opelousas
Quality Insights worked closely with Opelousas General Health System to prepare a host site for EDC classes. Quality Insights staff provided tips on how to be successful with the class. This included class marketing materials and data on diabetes incidence/prevalence and lower extremity amputations in the state.  
Stoneking set a goal for Fred’s regional pharmacists and hospital pharmacists to work collaboratively with the EDC program to provide the community with a substantial Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) program. He traveled from Memphis to Opelousas to train a team of pharmacists on the American Diabetes Association (ADA) standards of care for diabetes and highlights of the DEEP medication management module. This enabled them to have meaningful discussions with patients regarding their diabetes and offer individual medication review. 
In addition to class instruction and supporting materials, Quality Insights provides medication bags filled with literature for attendees. They are encouraged to read the material and use the bag to bring all medications to their appointments with health care providers.
The Partnership Grows
As the first EDC class was being scheduled, interest for community collaboration grew. Moreau’s Physical Therapy wanted to attend classes, assist with module presentation and be included on class marketing strategies.  They even provided a physical therapist to participate in the Physical Activity module presentation. The local hospital marketing department worked closely with Quality Insights to customize class marketing flyers. Staff encouraged outreach to organizations and helped those newly interested individuals become involved. Soon after, the United Way saw the positive community efforts and partnered to help advertise the classes.  
More than thirty people registered for the first class. Community efforts appeared to be fruitful! 
Class attendees have included people with pre-diabetes and diabetes, as well as those who just want to know more because they have friends or family with the disease.
As the second series of classes was scheduled, a local cardiologist, Dr. David Homan, also joined the collaborative effort to speak to the class. This was an important addition to the partnership because people with diabetes are twice as likely to suffer a cardiac event or stroke than those without diabetes and two-thirds of those with diabetes also have high blood pressure. Attendees were able to ask questions, learn more about monitoring their blood pressure, ways to prevent cardiac complications, and how to expand their knowledge around heart-healthy behaviors. Since the reduction of sodium intake can lower blood pressure, class attendees are taught about “salt-free” versions of their favorite spice blends. Attendees also receive a blood pressure tracker form in their medication bag.
Most recently, the partnership’s outreach efforts expanded to the Port Barre area where a third series of classes was scheduled. 
Opportunities to Learn about Other Topics
The success of the community partnership has provided an opportunity for cross-task collaboration of Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network projects focused on not only diabetes self-management education, but also medication safety and immunization awareness.  Flu season has been deemed one of the largest outbreaks across the country this year and Louisiana has been hit particularly hard.  Project staff encourage people with Medicare to discuss with their physicians whether they should get the flu and pneumonia vaccines. 
Learn More and Get Involved 
Quality Insights facilitates free diabetes education classes throughout Louisiana as part of the EDC program. View a list of available workshops. If you are interested in learning more or getting involved, please contact Karen Ziecker, Quality Improvement Specialist, at (225) 926-6353 or kziecker@eqhs.org
About Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network
Quality Insights is the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) for Delaware, Louisiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Quality Insights collaborates with health care providers, patients and allied organizations across the network to bring about widespread, significant improvements in the quality of care they deliver. Our goal is better care, smarter spending and healthier people. Learn more about the network.