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Health center sees potential with day devoted to diabetes

by Western News
| April 30, 2009 12:00 AM

A physician’s assistant at Lincoln County Community Health Center reserved a day last week to treat and educate his patients about diabetes, an event that he hopes to expand center-wide.

Joe Chopyak believes the test run of his first Diabetes Day on Wednesday was a success.

“It went very well,” he said. “ What’s enjoyable is we gave ourselves enough time with our patients to talk about the significant issues surrounding diabetes.”

Chopyak pointed out that he usually only spends about 15 minutes with each patient, but last week he allowed himself more time in order to discuss self-management goals, such as taking medication, testing blood sugar, exercising regularly and eating healthy.

“The type II (diabetes) epidemic is largely lifestyle,” Chopyak said. “We tend to not eat well and not exercise. The best things to prevent the disease, let alone manage it, is if we can get people exercising and managing their (eating habits).”

A major goal of Diabetes Day was to care for patients regardless of their inability to pay for the services. They received discounted eye and dental exams, as well as discounted labs to test their cholesterol and blood sugar. The eye exams were made possible through a partnership with Dr. Terry Patrick through the clinic’s specialty care voucher program.

Chopyak hopes Diabetes Day will become an annual event with participation from all of the providers at the health center.