Archive for Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Grants give boost to McLouth clinic

March 30, 2005

When the Kansas Depart-ment of Health and Environ-ment sent Ce Ce Noll an e-mail about funding for diabetes care, she jumped at the chance to secure one of the grants.

Noll, a certified family practitioner and mental health nurse practitioner at the McLouth Medical Clinic, sent paperwork in the mail and eventually was awarded two $10,000 grants.

One grant went to McLouth, while another went to the Atchison Family Medical Clinic, where Noll also is employed.

Just 33 diabetes grants were awarded to Kansas health-care providers.

Noll's sister, Renie Stephan, an advanced registered nurse practitioner and certified family nurse practitioner, works with Noll at the McLouth clinic.

"We're very excited, Stephan said. "We're such a small clinic. We don't have some hospital backing us."

The clinic's staff consists of Noll, Stephan and medical assistant Tracey Durkes.

Noll and Stephan will use the grant toward DEMS, the Diabetes Electronic Management System. Grant money will help update the clinic's computers and supplement employees' salaries for time spent on the upgrade.

"It's a database designed to manage and track diabetes patients," Stephan said.

That allows the clinic to have diabetic patients' histories logged in a computer and available at the click of a mouse.

"When we're tracking diabetes patients, we're talking about multiple symptoms, multiple diseases all in one," Stephan.

Diabetic patients also have to monitor other likely symptoms that stem from diabetes, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which leads to coronary heart disease. The system can monitor all of that and will record other appointments, such as foot and eye exams.

Overall, the grant, which kicked in Jan. 1, is a good shot in the arm for McLouth, Noll said.

"Primarily, the county has limited resources," Noll said of Jefferson County. "For patients in general, but especially patients with little or no insurance or limited funds."

Noll noted that about 25 percent of the clinic's patients have diabetes. That actually is slightly below the national average for diabetic percentage.

In Atchison, the number runs about 30 to 35 percent, which is more in tune with the national average.

The key to receiving the grant, Stephan said, was keeping up with the grant paperwork, meetings and monthly meetings that are required once the grant is awarded.

"The grant money is out there, you just have to know it's there and be able to jump through the hoops they want you to do," Stephan said.

And ultimately, the requirements are worth it, Stephan said.

"But they've made it very simple for us," Stephan said. "The information can be pulled off the database."

Stephan also stressed that the grant will reduce some costs for patients.

"It makes us take care of our patients better, and if we can do that through grants rather than put costs on the patients, then we're doing a good job," Stephan said.

The grant should provide a domino effect, according to Stephan. Enhanced patient care will help patients manage their diabetes better.

"It's a team approach to diabetes management," Stephan said. "The team includes the medical assistant, the health-care provider, the patient. It's a team approach."

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