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J Rural Health. 2005 Fall;21(4):317-21.

Confronting disparities in diabetes care: the clinical effectiveness of redesigning care management for minority patients in rural primary care practices.

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Bertie Memorial Hospital, University Health Systems, Windsor, NC 27983, USA.



Diabetes mellitus and its complications disproportionately affect minority citizens in rural communities, many of whom have limited access to comprehensive diabetes management services.


To explore the efficacy of combining care management and interdisciplinary group visits for rural African American patients with diabetes mellitus.


In the intervention practice, an advanced practice nurse visited the practice weekly for 12 months and facilitated diabetes education, patient flow, and management. Patients participated in a 4-session group visit education/support program led by a nurse, a physician, a pharmacist, and a nutritionist. The control patients in a separate practice received usual care.


Median hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) was not significantly different at baseline in the intervention and control groups but was significantly different at the end of the 12-month follow-up period (P < .05). In the intervention group, median HbA1c at baseline was 8.2 +/- 2.6%, and median HbA1c at an average follow-up of 11.3 months was 7.1 +/- 2.3%, (P < .0001). In the control group, median HbA1c increased from 8.3 +/- 2.0% to 8.6 +/- 2.4% (P < .05) over the same time period. In the intervention group, 61% of patients had a reduction in HbA1c, and the percentage of patients with a HbA1c of less than 7% improved from 32% to 45% (P < 05).


These findings suggest that a redesigned care management model that combines nurse-led case management with structured group education visits can be successfully incorporated into rural primary care practices and can significantly improve glycemic control.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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