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SEATTLE, Wash. - (Oct. 15, 2007) - In November, the Virginia Mason Winslow clinic will offer free blood sugar screening tests every Wednesday from 8 to 11 a.m. in recognition of American Diabetes Month. This effort is part of the clinic's ongoing work to better manage chronic conditions like diabetes through an approach called "planned care." Planned care is a proactive way for providers to work together with patients to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

"We don't leave quality care for our patients up to chance," said Sundance Rogers, MD, Virginia Mason Winslow clinic. "In the past, chronic care has been treated the same way as acute care, based on a patient calling for an appointment. There is national recognition that this system has failed to help patients manage their diabetes, hypertension and heart disease well. With all of the medications, tools and lifestyle changes available, patients with chronic diseases can live much healthier and longer lives through proactive planned care."

As part of its planned care work, VM Winslow has set up several processes and electronic systems to help patients and care providers manage chronic medical conditions more effectively. Patients get to know their nurse as well as their doctor, and some patients work closely with a pharmacist. Regular appointments are scheduled in advance, patients are reminded of their appointments beforehand and nurses can go to a registry to see which patients have fallen out of care guidelines or are due to come in for a visit.

One of the biggest concerns for patients with chronic conditions is that they get off track and don't understand how they can manage their condition at home in their daily lives.

"All of this work is a matter of patient safety," said Dr. Rogers. "Managing chronic care conditions is ongoing. It can become tedious and tiresome for patients. We're here to make it as easy as possible for our patients while helping them stay on top of their own care. Together with patient input, we're approaching care management in different ways."

The planned care work at VM Winslow also includes extensive patient education. Nurses are responsible for making sure each patient knows how to manage his or her care. In addition to one-on-one sessions between nurses and patients, the care team is available for follow up questions by phone and e-mail. A team member pharmacist also can help patients taking multiple medications to adjust doses and get blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol targets on track.

Virginia Mason Winslow offers a full range of services, including family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, travel medicine and sports medicine. The clinic, located at 380 Winslow Way E., operates Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a non-profit comprehensive regional health care system that combines a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 400 physicians with a 336-bed acute care hospital in Seattle. In addition, Virginia Mason has a network of clinics located throughout the Puget Sound area, and manages Bailey-Boushay House, a nursing residence and adult day health program for people living with HIV and AIDS. Virginia Mason also has an internationally recognized research center, Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason.

Alisha Mark 
Media Relations
(206) 341-1509

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