Four UT Health Science Center physicians again nationally recognized for providing quality diabetes care

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Four physicians at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler have been recognized by two national medical associations for providing quality care to their patients with diabetes.

The physicians are: Dr. David Shafer, director of UTHSCT’s Center for Diabetes Care; Dr. Thomas Belt, Jr., chief of staff and medical director for clinical affairs; Dr. Kent Davis, director of the Center for Healthy Aging; and Dr. Wayne Karaki, an internal medicine specialist.

All four are professors of medicine in UTHSCT’s Department of Medicine.

They have been named to the Diabetes Physician Recognition Program, a joint initiative of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

This is the third time that Drs. Belt, Shafer, and Davis have achieved this distinction, and it is the second time that Dr. Karaki has achieved it.

There are only seven doctors in East Texas and just 48 physicians in Texas who currently have this recognition.

The program was established to improve the quality of care that patients with diabetes receive by recognizing physicians who deliver quality diabetes care.

It also was designed to motivate other physicians to document and improve their delivery of diabetes care.

“People whose diabetes is well managed have fewer complications from their diabetes and are more likely to lead productive lives. In addition, quality diabetes care enables a patient to enjoy a better sense of well-being as a result of better blood sugar control,” Dr. Shafer said.

To receive recognition, the four UTHSCT physicians submitted data that showed they met the program’s key diabetes care measures for their patients. These included eye exams, blood pressure tests, nutrition therapy, and patient satisfaction.

When people with diabetes receive the care outlined in these measures, they are less likely to suffer complications such as heart attacks, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and amputations.

“Physicians who earn recognition through the Diabetes Physician Recognition Program have an established track record of providing excellent diabetes care,” said John Buse, MD, president, medicine and science, of the ADA.

Diabetes is a serious disease that affects the body’s ability to produce or respond properly to insulin, a hormone that allows blood sugar to enter the cells of the body and be used for energy.

About 23.6 million people in the United States, or 8 percent of the population, have diabetes, according to the ADA.

It is the sixth leading cause of death by disease in the United States, causing more than 224,000 deaths in 2002, the ADA says.

More than 5,000 Texans died of diabetes in 2004, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. No cure for diabetes has yet been found.

The NCQA is a nonprofit watchdog organization that is a leader in the effort to assess, measure, and report the quality of care provided by the nation’s managed health-care organizations.

The ADA is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization supporting diabetes research, information, and advocacy.

NOTICE: Protected health information is subject to electronic disclosure.