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Kansas City health experts encourage early screening, prevention on World Diabetes Day

Optum KC Wellness Van
Posted at 8:24 AM, Nov 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-14 09:24:39-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tuesday is World Diabetes Day, a day to remind us all to know our risks and focus on prevention of Type 2 diabetes.

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According to the International Diabetes Federation, one in every 10 adults worldwide has diabetes, and more than one million children and young adults have Type 1 diabetes.

Healthcare professionals are using this day to encourage screenings and wellness checks, and Optum Care Network of Kansas City is making its approach mobile by bringing this care to the front doors of Optum members.

Optum staffs 'wellness vans' with nurse practitioners or physicians assistants to bring these appointments to members on wheels. Most members are on Medicare Advantage Programs.

Patients using the wellness vans said it makes a difference.

"Because we live so far out, and it’s so far away from doctors and what not," said Katherine Pierron, an East Jackson County resident. "It's very helpful to have (this option instead of), the doctor’s office to sit and wait and get shuffled around from place to place to get testing done when this is all in one place.”

Pierron got her blood pressure, eyes checked, various screenings and more, all inside the van in her driveway.

“We work with their primary care providers to make sure they get the best care possible to keep them healthy, keep them at home, make sure they have their medications, transportation," Optum KC senior medical director Dr. David Nill said.

He said these early and frequent checks are especially important for early detection of diseases like diabetes.

“Especially with diabetes, this being a primary thing this month we’re doing, there’s certain things diabetic patients need to get. They need to get their kidneys checked, they need to make sure their eyes are checked, their feet, circulation, all of these things," he said. “Diabetes is a disease that once people have it, they have to live with it the rest of your life. But you can control it.”

Pierron said having access to this care is a must for her age and state of health.

“It’s not optional at this stage to get prescriptions refilled and things like that," she said.

You can take this quick test right now to know your risk of Type 2 diabetes.