DENTON — CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield presented a $400,000 check to Choptank Community Health System Wednesday, Oct. 2, to support Choptank’s Diabetes Education Program.
The funding support is part of a larger regional initiative launched by CareFirst to support the expansion of patient-centered medical home initiatives to safety net providers. Over the three years of the funding support, CareFirst will provide $8.5 million in support to health care providers in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and northern Virginia.
Choptank is receiving $400,000 to support its diabetes initiative, which includes continuing education, training and tools used to provide care for the community.
“I just want to say a big thank you to CareFirst BlueCross for what they have done to help Choptank,” said Choptank Health CEO Joe Sheehan. “We’ve had ideas to do these things but never had the money. To have CareFirst provide us with a $400,000 grant so that we could address some of the hopes and dreams of our two diabetes educators, including their certification is such a great gesture.
“This is a great thing for our patients,” he said. “We have about 200 diabetic patients at Choptank. It’s a chronic disease right up at the top of our list. It’s something we will be working on for a long time. We are very grateful to CareFirst.”
Del. Addie Eckardt, R-37B-Dorchester, said diabetes is a very important disease to treat on the Mid-Shore.
“It leads to other heart disease issues,” she said. “In our shifting paradigm of health care delivery from hospital base to community care, I think there is going to be an increase in the role for our private insurance providers to step up to the plate. Community care is now on the front lines of health care.”
Eckardt said for years, diabetes education funding has been decreasing.
“For anyone who has battled smoking, alcoholism, you just can’t see a doctor then comeback for a check up three months later,” she said. “You need a coach. That is why I think it is really important that diabetes educators are given the tools necessary to help the community.”
Maria Harris Tildon, CareFirst senior vice president of public policy and community affairs, joined Choptank Health for the presentation.
She said CareFirst is always trying to identify better ways to improve quality, cost and outcome.
“We are focused on multiple chronic conditions,” she said. “Finding a way we can focus on them and provide primary care physicians with the tools that they need to better take care of those folks who are sicker. We appreciate the support from the health officers and the legislators here in the community.”
Follow Dorchester Editor Dustin Holt on Twitter @Dustin_StarDem.