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Domenici seeks $6.5M to expand diabetes program
Thursday, April 1, 2004

Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) is asking colleagues to provide $6.5 million to expand a Department of Defense diabetes project that benefits a number eight tribal and Native communities.

The $6.5 million request is being made by a bipartisan group of senators that includes Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Domenici and others. Domenici serves on the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee that will craft the FY2005 Defense Appropriations Bill that funds this diabetes control outreach program.

"This disease is not becoming any less prevalent, and we must dedicate ourselves to working together, not only on research, but in getting the word out now to people who can benefit from knowing how to control and treat the symptoms of this disease," Domenici said yesterday.

The DoD Medical Vanguard Diabetes Management Project is a health initiative targeting at risk groups for diabetes. Congress began funding the program two years ago to demonstrate the usefulness of a computer-based diabetes management program.

The Internet-based health project allows patients to actively participate in the management of their diabetes by electronically submitting their blood sugar readings to a secured database that is accessible to their health care providers. An automated analysis is completed, allowing the patient and health care provider to make better-informed decisions about modifications in diet, exercise, or medication.

The project serves patients at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda as well as in eight native populations in New Mexico, Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota and South Dakota. "I strongly believe that this Defense Department project offers real hope to improve health outcomes and reduce medical costs," Domenici said.

A study by the University of Washington concluded that effective monitoring and control of diabetes could result in annual per patient savings of between $685 and $950.

American Indian, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians confront diabetes at rates three times that of Caucasians, according to government statistics.

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