The IPRO-led Atlantic Quality Innovation Network (AQIN), the Medicare-funded healthcare quality improvement organization for New York, is scoring major gains in enrolling Hispanic and Latino Medicare beneficiaries in free Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) workshops in and around New York City.

EDC workshops are led by certified community health workers and emphasize peer learning – classes are open to all seniors and cover everything from symptom management, exercise and healthy eating, to strategies for working more effectively with healthcare providers. With support from the New York City Department for the Aging’s network of 300 senior centers, AQIN graduated over 3,000 Medicare beneficiaries from the program in 2014 — with a total of 6,500 graduates in New York since IPRO began offering the program in 2008.

Studies find the prevalence of total diabetes (both diagnosed and undiagnosed) among all Hispanic/Latino groups is roughly 16.9 percent for both men and women, compared to 10.2 percent for non-Hispanic whites. Prevalence rises dramatically with age, reaching more than 50 percent for Hispanic/Latino women (overall) by the time they reach age 70 and 44.3 percent for men aged 70-74.

Overall, nearly one-third of adults 65 years and older in the U.S. have diabetes, according to the National Institutes of Health. Diabetes is the most common cause of blindness, kidney failure, and amputations in adults and a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. AQIN is using November’s American Diabetes Month to promote the availability of the free six-week workshops.                       

“The program empowers Medicare beneficiaries living with diabetes to take an active role in their health,” according to Janice Hidalgo, IPRO’s Director of Patient and Family Engagement Programs. “When you see beneficiaries transform and adopt a new attitude towards life, you can’t help but feel that we are the lucky ones for being part of their journey to a healthier life,” Hidalgo concluded.

AQIN is a Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO), part of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ QIO Program. QIN-QIOs bring Medicare beneficiaries, providers, and communities together in data-driven initiatives that increase patient safety, make communities healthier, better coordinate post-hospital care, and improve clinical quality.


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