Governor Rendell Unveils Pennsylvania's Diabetes Action Plan

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Governor Edward G. Rendell signed two executive orders to improve how Pennsylvanians with chronic diabetes receive health care in the future.

Both initiatives are part of the Governor's Prescription for Pennsylvania health care reform plan.

"I am establishing a Chronic Care Management Commission today that will be responsible for developing the process to effectively manage chronic disease across the state," Governor Rendell said. "About 78 percent of all health care costs can be traced to 20 percent of all patients -- those with chronic diseases. We cannot reduce the occurrence and cost of chronic diseases without aggressively addressing prevention, detection and treatment in a comprehensive, pro-active way, and setting that up will be the job of this commission.

"The second order establishes the Office of Health Equity in the Department of Health. The Office of Health Equity and its advisory committee will be charged with eliminating disparities in health care access and quality based on factors such as race, gender, geographic location and income, especially as these factors relate to incidence andmortality rates for chronic diseases."

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The Governor was joined at the news conference by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Diabetes Action Partnership to release the first Pennsylvania Diabetes Action Plan to help improve diabetes education, early diagnosis and care. He said the report underscored the need for the chronic care and health disparities initiatives that he initiated by today's executive orders.

"Diabetes is a major public health problem that is taking a serious human and economic toll on all Pennsylvanians," said Governor Rendell. "The Diabetes Action Plan is the state's first blueprint for coordinating the efforts of health officials and health care providers to prevent and control diabetes, not only for the sake of the nearly 800,000 Pennsylvanians currently affected by this disease, but for future generations."

The Governor recognized the work of the co-chairs of the Pennsylvania Diabetes Action Partnership: University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Institute Executive Director Linda Siminerio, R.N., Ph.D; and Robert A. Gabbay, M.D., Ph.D, executive director of the Penn State Diabetes Center at the Penn State College of Medicine.

"The Diabetes Action Plan is in concert with Governor Rendell's plan to address chronic disease management in Pennsylvania," Dr. Siminerio said. "We hope that it will serve as a resource and a catalyst for positive change in our health care delivery systems."

"We all recognize that we cannot take a 'business-as-usual approach' in the midst of an epidemic, and that's why we are committed to improving the lives of those with diabetes through this important, organized approach," said Dr. Gabbay. "This is a big step forward toward achieving that goal."

Also standing in support of the Governor's chronic care initiative during the signing of the executive orders were representatives from a host of organizations who will be involved in the chronic care commission,

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