General Internal Medicine honored for high-quality diabetes patient care
By Remekca Owens
UT Southwestern Medical Center’s William T. and Gay F. Solomon Division of General Internal Medicine has been recognized for its excellence in diabetes care by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas and Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute’s Bridges to Excellence program.
The program honors physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants who provide exemplary diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care to patients.
UT Southwestern is the only academic medical center in North Texas to receive this divisional honor. In addition, 25 UT Southwestern General Internal Medicine physicians received individual recognition for providing outstanding diabetes care.
“This is a wonderful example of our faculty’s dedication to the delivery of outstanding, cost-conscious care. Their patients, and UT Southwestern as well, are the beneficiaries of this commitment to excellence,” said Dr. David Johnson, Chair of Internal Medicine.
In 2011, the Division’s outpatient practice was given the highest designation, Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home, by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. NCQA is a national accreditation organization aimed at improving overall primary care and relationships between patients and their caregivers.
Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States, affecting about 26 million Americans, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Many of the efforts being honored by Bridges to Excellence – such as increasing thorough testing measures and doing more post-visit follow-ups – are proven ways to lower morbidity and mortality in diabetes patients. These efforts also lower patients’ risk of developing other diabetes-related conditions such as eye disease, and nerve and kidney damage.
“This is such a great honor for General Internal Medicine and, more importantly, for the patients receiving their care at UT Southwestern,” said Dr. Jason Fish, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and head of outpatient quality and safety for the Division. “Through our vision and efforts to provide excellent patient-centered care, we have overwhelmingly exceeded national benchmarks shown to lead to improved health and health outcomes for our patients with diabetes.”
Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, Chief Medical Officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas and a 1998 UT Southwestern Medical School graduate, presented the diabetes-care awards at a ceremony in November.
The Division also was recognized for excellent cardiovascular care focused on prevention and treatment of heart disease, heart failure, and hypertension. Twenty-five UT Southwestern General Internal Medicine physicians were individually recognized by Bridges to Excellence for outstanding cardiovascular patient care. Accepting this award on behalf of the Division was Dr. Ethan Halm, Chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine.
Dr. Halm holds the Walter Family Distinguished Chair in Internal Medicine in Honor of Albert D. Roberts, M.D.
Dr. Johnson holds the Donald W. Seldin Distinguished Chair in Internal Medicine.