PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
July 1, 2014

Mary E. O'Dowd, M.P.H.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

Christie Administration Announces $612,000 in Grants To Better Manage Chronic Disease

Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd today announced that the Department has awarded $612,000 in grants to community based agencies to improve treatment and empower patients to better manage diabetes and high blood pressure.

The Department has awarded $415,000 to the Trenton Health Team (THT) to create a system to better use health information technology to manage patients with diabetes and high blood pressure. The Clinical Decision Support (CDS) system is a process for ensuring that health-related decisions and actions are informed by pertinent patient information and clinical knowledge.

"This initiative aims to combine the power of data, clinical intervention and the coordination of community providers to improve patient health," said Commissioner O'Dowd. "Through this effort, all members of the Trenton Health Team-hospitals, federally qualified health centers, local public health agencies and others-have the information they need to make sound decisions and take appropriate action that leads to improved health outcomes."

The CDS system enhances decision-making in patient care and management of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension. It will provide information that will help providers better manage patients' diabetes and hypertension through agreed upon alerts, treatment plans, order sets-standardized lists of orders for a specific diagnosis-and actions regardless of where the patient presents for treatment.

Through the CDS system, the Trenton Health Team aims to increase the proportion of patients with hypertension who achieve blood pressure control, decrease the proportion of patients with diabetes who have high blood sugar, and reduce hospitalization rates due to diabetes.

"We're initially focusing on two chronic diseases that occur at alarmingly high rates within our geography - diabetes and hypertension. Beyond that important goal, in the long run we should end up with a blueprint for expanding the Clinical Decision Support system to include other diseases, which will strengthen our ability to improve the overall health of people in Trenton," said Dr. Ruth Perry, executive director of Trenton Health Team.

The Department is also providing $100,000 to the Center for Human Services, a non-profit community organization in Bridgeton and $97,000 to Zufall Health Center, a Federal Qualified Health Center based in Dover to serve as Diabetes Resources Coordination Centers. These centers will promote diabetes self-management education for those diagnosed with diabetes, as well as connect individuals at risk for type 2 diabetes with lifestyle change programs.

"The Center for Human Services (CHS) is pleased to be a part of, what we believe to be, one of the most important efforts of our decade-promoting self-management of diabetes can have a lifetime of benefits," said Robert Moran, CHS Center Director, Bridgeton. "To expand the reach of promotional messages to healthcare providers, people with diabetes, and the general public, CHS will use a myriad of strategies ranging from face-to-face meetings, webinars, and media to enlisting the support of County leaders and area Coalitions. We will be everywhere from appearances at County fairs to hosting Town Hall Meetings throughout the County."

The Center for Human Services will serve Cumberland County residents and Zufall Health Center will serve residents of Hunterdon County.

"The staff of Zufall Health Center is eager to work with health educators and medical providers in Hunterdon County toward improving the clinical outcomes of diabetic individuals or those at risk of diabetes," said Eva Turbiner, President and CEO, Zufall Health Center. In particular, we hope to connect low-income residents and senior citizens in the county with affordable resources that they may not be aware of."

These organizations will work with health care providers to implement systems for referring patients to existing classes, work with organizations that offer the classes to increase participant recruitment and retention, and create health communication to increase awareness of the classes among providers and residents.

Diabetes self-management education helps participants make more informed decisions and support self-care, problem-solving and active collaboration with the patients' health care team to improve their health outcomes and quality of life. The lifestyle change programs help participants learn and adopt healthy eating and physical activity habits proven to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

The goals of these grants are to increase residents' access to, and participation in, programs that focus on prevention, self-management and control of diabetes, with the long-term goal of reducing the impact of diabetes on New Jerseyans.