Southeast Michigan Emergency Departments "Fighting D in the D"

Nov 27, 2012, 10:57 ET from Southeast Michigan Beacon Community

DETROIT, Nov. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the prevalence and impact of diabetes continues to grow in Southeast Michigan, local hospital emergency departments are doing their part to "Fight Diabetes in Detroit" with an innovative program that is identifying previously undiagnosed diabetics and pre-diabetics who receive care at their facilities.


Using a program that was originally piloted at DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital, the Southeast Michigan Beacon Community (SEMBC) has helped expand the scope and impact of the initiative in Southeast Michigan through collaborative efforts of its clinical partners in this effort – DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital, Henry Ford Hospital, and St. John Hospital.  In addition, DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital has recently agreed to support this intervention, and is in the process of starting-up similar operations in its emergency department.

At Detroit Receiving and Henry Ford Hospitals, non-acute emergency department patients are offered a simple test that screens them for diabetes; the process at St. John Hospital identifies known diabetics shortly after a visit to the emergency department.  The results have been staggering.  Of the 10,000 patients that have been tested since it was launched, 549 previously-undiagnosed diabetics have been identified; in addition, another 2,425 individuals have been identified as pre-diabetic.  Combined, over 29 percent of those screened have been identified as either diabetic or pre-diabetic.

According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, an estimated 700,000 Michigan adults have been diagnosed with diabetes, and another 365,000 have undiagnosed diabetes.  This means more than 1 million adults in Michigan – over 10 percent of the adult population – are directly affected by this ever-growing condition. The results of the diabetic screenings in the emergency department suggest an increased likelihood due to any number of social factors that can influence health.

"The collective efforts of DMC Detroit Receiving, Henry Ford, St. John, and DMC Sinai-Grace Hospitals are having an extraordinary impact in our community," said Terrisca Des Jardins, Director of the Southeast Michigan Beacon Community. "Through this initiative, we are getting previously unidentified or non-engaged diabetic patients into an appropriate care setting sooner, rather than later.  These people need help."

"When we originally launched this process at DMC Detroit Receiving, some were skeptical about what we might find, but once we started the testing and started identifying diabetics and pre-diabetics at these alarming rates, we knew we were on to something," said Padraic Sweeny, M.D.,  Chief of Emergency Medicine at DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital, "now, with the involvement of Henry Ford, St. John, and DMC Sinai-Grace Hospitals, the process is getting serious traction and can help make a real difference for the citizens in Southeast Michigan."

"We know that especially in an underserved population, often times, the emergency department becomes the de facto source of care for many patients who are either uninsured or under-insured, and this may be the only time these patients see a doctor and therefore our only opportunity to diagnose this severely debilitating disease," said Seth Krupp, M.D., Senior Staff Physician in Emergency Medicine at Henry Ford Hospital.  "Now, we can work with these patients, educate them on diabetes, and help direct them to an appropriate care setting that will get them better equipped to manage their condition."

"Our approach to this initiative is based on the identification of known diabetics that have made a recent visit to our emergency department and lack the resources or ability for appropriate follow-up with a primary care physician," said Robert Takla, M.D., M.B.A., Chief of Emergency Medicine, St. John Hospital and Medical Center.  "Equipped with this information, we align them with appropriate primary care follow-up, as well as outreach efforts, to get the patient appropriate access to care and information for their diabetic condition."

To help get patients on the right path, the Southeast Michigan Beacon Community also assists participating emergency departments by providing Patient Health Navigators who help previously-undiagnosed diabetics and pre-diabetics identified in this initiative get access to primary care, patient education classes, and community resources to help promote patient self-management and engagement.  In addition, all patients that are tested are given access to txt4health, an all-new mobile health information service that is being piloted in Metro Detroit through the Southeast Michigan Beacon Community that is designed to help people understand their risk for type 2 diabetes and become more informed about the steps they can take to lead healthy lives. 

About the Southeast Michigan Beacon Community
The Southeast Michigan Beacon Community (SEMBC) is one of 17 Beacon Communities established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and administered by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). As part of a larger healthcare revolution, the Southeast Michigan Beacon Community is committed to building and strengthening local health IT infrastructure and testing innovative approaches to make measureable improvements in health, care and cost.  For more information, visit

About DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital
DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital, Michigan's first Level I Trauma Center, is an adult specialty hospital offering expertise in emergency medicine, complex trauma, critical care, neuroscience, orthopedics, urology and geriatrics.  As the region's leader in emergency medicine, Receiving's emergency department treats more than 100,000 patients annually.  For more information, visit

About Henry Ford Hospital
Henry Ford Hospital, the flagship facility for Henry Ford Health System, is an 802-bed tertiary care hospital, education and research complex. The hospital is staffed by the Henry Ford Medical Group, one of the nation's largest and oldest group practices with 1,200 physicians in more than 40 specialties. The hospital, which opened in 1915, is a Level 1 trauma center, recognized for clinical excellence and innovations in the fields of cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, sports medicine, organ transplants, and treatment for prostate, breast and lung cancers. To learn more, visit

About St. John Providence Health System
St. John Providence Health System, the largest provider of inpatient care in southeast Michigan and one of the largest employers in metro Detroit. SJPHS provides comprehensive prevention, primary care and advanced treatment programs with more than 125 medical centers, and five hospitals spanning five counties.  To learn more about St. John Providence Health System, visit

Contact: Scott Turske, (o) 313-638-2885, (m) 248-892-3241,

SOURCE Southeast Michigan Beacon Community