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Diabetes Care at UPMC in Central Pa.

At UPMC Endocrinology Associates, we understand that having the right diabetes care is critical to maintaining your health. That’s why we were the first hospital in Pennsylvania to receive The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for being a Center of Excellence for inpatient diabetes care.

From diagnosis to management, you can trust that our skilled professionals will provide the top-notch diabetes care and ongoing support you need. Our endocrinologists use the latest technology to manage diabetes including continuous monitoring techniques and pump therapy for complex cases.

We treat both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. While they are similar in regard to the buildup of blood glucose, there are differences in cause and treatment.

  • Type 1 diabetes. Also known as "juvenile diabetes" because it can develop early in life, Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. This results in a low amount of insulin or none at all. People with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin daily.
  • Type 2 diabetes. This type of diabetes is a result of the body's inability to produce enough insulin and/or to properly use it. Some cases of Type 2 diabetes can be controlled with diet, exercise and weight loss, but many cases also require insulin or medication.

Signs And Symptoms of Diabetes

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through diet, exercise and weight management can help to lower your risk for Type 2 diabetes. There are several symptoms that can suggest Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, including:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Delayed healing of wounds
  • Skin infections
  • Impotence
  • A change in weight
  • Tingling, pain or numbness in the hands or feet

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important that you contact your physician. Early detection and proper management of diabetes can prevent or slow the development of complications.

Our Diabetes Programs

Inpatient Diabetes Program

UPMC in South Central Pa. is known for its successful inpatient and outpatient diabetes programs. Our inpatient program is certified by the Joint Commission as a Center for Excellence, a distinguished recognition that makes UPMC Pinnacle a premiere leader in diabetic management and care. We were the first one in state to receive this recognition

Our nurse practitioners run a growing program by independently managing endocrinology/ diabetes in our hospitals. Patients continue to remain in good glycemic control with this diabetes supervision.

Outpatient Diabetes Program

The outpatient program was implemented in our primary care offices in February of 2015. The primary goal of the program was to improve patients with A1c > 9 from 25 percent to 20 percent in one year. The secondary goal was to increase the patients with A1c < 8 from 63 percent to 70 percent.

There are many critical elements of the outpatient diabetes management program that are helping us achieve those goals.

Our endocrinologists provide education in our primary care offices so that they are able to efficiently coordinate diabetes care at the primary care level rather than referring to endocrinology. Along with the endocrinologists there are also diabetic educators and nutritionists in the offices to provide effective education about Hypoglycemia insulin management and nutrition information for patients whose diabetes is not under control, and frequent visits to a primary care provider are required. Having multiple experts on site within the primary care offices means providers have access to endocrinologists for frequent and timely discussions about the best plan of care for the patient.

Since the program inception in 2015 the overall “A1c > “9” rate improved from 25 % to 20.9 % across all sites. After 3 years, that number was further reduced to 14 %. For non-Medicaid patients the data showed further decrease from 25 % to 12.5 %.

A1C  Primary Region Graph

In 2017 the program was extended to 20 additional sites with 70 additional providers. Within a short duration of 1 year the data showed a steady reduction of A1c> 9 rates in all secondary sites (Region 1 39% -19.5% and Region 2 42-23% ).

A1C New Region Graph

A1C New Region 2 Graph

Physician testimonials

"I wanted to show you the improvement in percent of diabetic patients with hemoglobin A1c of <8. As you can see, since you first talked to us about how to improve management of our DM patients in March, our percent has improved from 76.8 percent to 85.5 percent! The fact that the curve clearly starts to go up in March indicates to me that your education has been a major benefit. I am optimistic that this percentage will continue to improve since it has only been 3 months since you first talked with us.... many of those patients for whom we have changed management have not had a follow-up HbA1c yet. Thanks for your help"

"We all like having a nurse practitioner and the program very much. This program is working well for us, and our patients also like it a lot"

"We benefited the most from your monthly diabetes meetings in 2016. By preparing for the meetings, we were able to identify poorly controlled diabetics who had fallen off the band wagon"

"The program is very beneficial. It has helped guide my patient plans and strengthened my knowledge for diabetes treatment. Please keep it going. I look forward to the meetings and am grateful that you are there to answer my questions"

Learn more about our quality of care.

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