Thursday, November 22, 2001
Delaware physicians launch first statewide guidelines for diabetes

Physicians treating patients with diabetes will no longer be asked to adhere to multiple treatment protocols issued by the state’s many insurance companies thanks to an initiative of the Medical Society of Delaware. After a series of working meetings by a committee of Delaware physicians, doctors now have statewide uniform guidelines for the medical care of patients with diabetes. Created to ease an administrative burden on doctors and afford them the freedom to provide care they believe appropriate for the patient, the guidelines set a national example by becoming the first approved statewide treatment plan of its kind in the country. Once written, the guidelines were presented to the medical directors of Delaware’s largest insurers: Aetna/U.S. Health Care; Amerihealth HMO, Inc.; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware; Christiana Care Health Plan; and Coventry Healthcare of Delaware, Inc. Though each carrier maintains individual treatment protocols, all have agreed to adopt these statewide guidelines. “In Delaware, the mortality rate for diabetes is among the top ten in the nation, a fact that is often under recognized,” according to M. James Lenhard, M.D. an endocrinologist in New Castle County. “The clinical guideline for diabetes care developed by the physicians in Delaware reflects the national standards recommended for best practice and should assist physicians in their routine care of patients.”

The diabetes guidelines are the first of four created by the Medical Society of Delaware. By year’s end, every Delaware physician will have guidelines for congestive heart failure, asthma and coronary artery disease as well. “The development process targeted specific health conditions for improving health care and emphasized collaboration, consensus, continual improvement and evidence-based knowledge,” says Project Director Marie DiPrinzio. “The uniform clinical guidelines should provide an opportunity for physicians to keep up to date and to assess their own clinical performance with the recommendations of local physicians and agreed upon standards of care.” DiPrinzio added, “An additional benefit of the program has been the ongoing collaboration and participation from various organizations throughout the state including the Delaware Diabetes Coalition, Quality Insights of Delaware, Christiana Care Health Systems as well as physicians representing multiple specialties in New Castle, Kent and Sussex Counties” The project was funded in part by Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb, Co., the Delaware Foundation for Medical Services, Inc., the Medical Society of Delaware and the Delaware Health Care Commission.