November is Diabetes Awareness Month
Physicians Urged to Focus on Kidney Health by
Screening Patients with Diabetes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Austin, Texas – Nov. 20, 2008 – Last year, 1.6 million people found out they had diabetes. As these 1.6 million people learn to manage their disease, they also need to be made aware of other diabetes-related illnesses, particularly kidney disease. During Diabetes Awareness Month, TMF Health Quality Institute, the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for Texas, is highlighting the role diabetes plays in chronic kidney disease (CKD) and is seeking practices treating patients with diabetes to join a three-year CKD initiative promoting timely screenings and care management strategies.
The incidence of CKD is climbing due to increased prevalence of diabetes and hypertension, the leading risk factors for the disease. Currently, Texas has more than 130,000 Medicare patients with CKD, ranking the Lone Star State second only to California.
“Physicians have an opportunity to educate their patients on the need for early screening,” said Earl Smith, MD, medical director for TMF. “While kidney damage is irreversible, slowing the disease and building awareness of the illness can help patients preserve their kidneys.”
According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, in 2007, only 38% of Texas Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes received an annual urine microalbumin test. The National Kidney Foundation and the American Diabetes Association have issued joint recommendations that all patients with diabetes receive the annual urine screening to test for kidney function.
Over the next three years, TMF is administering a collaborative statewide project focused on the early detection of chronic kidney disease and strategies for care management. Primary care practices, nephrologists and other specialty physicians who treat patients with diabetes are encouraged to join the project.
For more information on how to join this initiative and help protect patients’ kidney health call 1-866-439-8863 or e-mail KidneyHealth@tmf.org.
About TMF Health Quality Institute
TMF Health Quality Institute is an Austin, Texas-based nonprofit consulting company focused on promoting quality health and health care through contracts with federal, state and local governments, as well as private organizations. TMF partners with health care providers in a variety of settings to ensure that every person receives the appropriate care, every time.