TMA Testimony on HB 123 Diabetes Education Program

Testimony: House Bill 123 by Rep. Marc Veasey and Sen. Jane Nelson

Senate Health and Human Services Committee   

By: Dana Sprute, MD, MPH
May 12, 2011      

Chair Nelson and members of the committee, it is a privilege for me to speak with you today on behalf of the Texas Medical Association (TMA), which represents more than 45,000 physicians and medical students. My name is Dana Sprute, MD, MPH. I am an assistant professor of family and community medicine at The University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical School, and the director of the UT Southwestern Family Medicine Residency program here in Austin.    

I am here today to express our support for House Bill 123 by Representative Veasey and Senator Nelson. We believe this legislation helps support local efforts to provide quality diabetes education. I treat patients every day who are in desperate need of this kind of service.   

Diabetes is a growing problem here in Texas. It’s a complex disease. Texas physicians and the state’s large hospital districts and local hospital systems face the complex problems of diabetes and prediabetes care. Almost 2 million adult Texans have been diagnosed with diabetes. Another half-million Texans have diabetes but are not yet diagnosed, according to 2009 national surveys. In addition, when a patient is diagnosed with prediabetes, it’s very likely he or she will develop diabetes. The data indicate that at least one-third of adults over age 20 have prediabetes. And, we know that diabetic patients are at great risk of developing other dangerous and severe chronic conditions, like stroke and heart disease.  

A cornerstone of diabetes management is diabetes education. Our patients must learn what diabetes is and also how to manage their disease. The patients who know how to manage their diabetes encounter fewer health problems. Diabetes education for patients must be accessible, personalized, and continuous over the course of a patient’s disease. Unfortunately, many patients don’t have access to important educational programs.    

The Texas Diabetes Council at the Department of State Health Services has decades of experience in developing diabetes education guidelines and materials for people with diabetes. The state also has developed valuable diabetes resources for physicians and others providing care. HB 123 helps by promoting collaboration between state programs and local hospital districts and local health systems. This will not only help lower cost. It also will help educators design and promote programs unique to each community. We think this makes good sense, especially in a time when limited public and private preventive care resources are available to support Texas’ growing patient demand.   

We appreciate your attention and welcome any questions you may have. Our physicians are committed to helping our patients learn how they can better manage their diabetes. You have shown your concern for diabetes in our state and the need for diabetes leadership and planning through the Texas Diabetes Council and its programs. With your support, this legislation will help more hospital districts establish strong diabetes education programs. We encourage your support for HB 123, and we welcome the opportunity to work with you in your consideration of this legislation.  

82nd Texas Legislature Testimonies