Adherence to American Diabetes Association Standards of Care by Rural Health Care Providers

Patricia Coon, MD and Karen Zulkowski, DNS 

From the Deaconess Billings Clinic, Center on Aging, Billings, Montana 

OBJECTIVE-To determine whether rural health care providers are compliant with American Diabetes Association (ADA) clinical practice guidelines for glycemic, blood pressure, lipid management, and preventative services.  

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS-This study was performed using a retrospective chart review of 399 patients 45 years of age and older, with a definitive diagnosis of diabetes seen for primary diabetes care at four rural health facilities in Montana between 1 January 1999 and 1 August 2000.  

RESULTS-Glycemic testing was adequate (85%), and glycemic control (HbA1c 7.43 &plusmn; 1.7%) was above the national average. Comorbid conditions of hypertension and dyslipidemia were not as well managed. Mean systolic blood pressure (SBP) was 139 &plusmn; 18.8 mmHg and LDL was 119 &plusmn; 33 mg/dl. Of 399 patients, 11 were considered as needing no additional treatment based on ADA guidelines of an HbA1C level <7%, a BP <130/85 mmHg, and a LDL level <100 mg/dl. Monofilament testing and dilated eye examinations were poorly documented, as were immunizations. There were few referrals for diabetic education.  

CONCLUSIONS-Rural health care practitioners are not adequately following the ADA standards for comprehensive management of their patients with diabetes. Glycemic testing is being ordered, but HbA1C values indicate that patients do not have their diabetes under optimal control. The comorbid conditions of hypertension and dyslipidemia are not optimally managed according to the ADA guidelines.

Coon P, Zulkowski K. Adherence to American Diabetes Association Standards of Care by Rural Health Care Providers. Diabetes Care. 2002;25:2224-2229. 

Last Modified: 12/12/2012