Impact 100 Baldwin County

Spotlight on Alabama Free Clinic

Impact 100 awarded Alabama Free Clinic a 2021 grant in the health and wellness category to implement a two-year comprehensive diabetes management project. Now, at only one quarter of the way through, the nonprofit is already seeing a difference in the lives of area diabetics without insurance.

About 15 % of adults in Alabama have diabetes, a chronic disease that can carry with it a number of complications. Developments in the industry have made monitoring blood glucose levels at home easier and more painless, but for adults without insurance, pricking fingers the old fashion way is often the only option.

The Alabama Free Clinic offers free medical care and health education programs from local health care provider volunteers. Impact funds are being used for the comprehensive diabetes management project; specifically, to purchase supplies for blood glucose monitoring and to bolster education. The goal is to help patients better manage their diabetes to improve overall life expectancy and quality of life.

According to Alabama Free Clinic Executive Director and Clinic Coordinator, Amelia Stephens, RN, fourteen people have already started wearing the continuous glucose monitors.  Amelia reports:

We are seeing good results from patients who are really appreciative of not having to continuously prick their fingers.  One patient has low vision, and this has really afforded him so much more independence. Improvement of diabetes management in the long run is going to help these patients’ blood pressure, cholesterol and help prevent complications like kidney disease and amputations.

With the continuous glucose monitor, data from the patients is accessible from the clinic’s computer so they can monitor their data in real time. Amelia can confer with endocrinologist Judson Menefee, MD, to make medication adjustments. Before, it was incumbent upon patients to record their own results and to remember to bring them in.

The education portion of the grant is in collaboration with the Thomas Hospital Internal Medicine residency program. Thomas Hospital Internal Medicine Clinic’s Holly Pursley, MD MSPH sums it up:

From a medical perspective, this grant is helping the community by improving care of the uninsured diabetic population in Baldwin county with a focus on education promoting and reinforcing the 7 Self-care behaviors of healthy eating, being active, monitoring, taking medication, problem solving, healthy coping, and reducing risks via tele-education visits.  

From an additional education perspective, medical residents (physicians in training) are improving their knowledge of the challenges that patients with diabetes face, which in turn gives them tools to better serve their diabetic patient population. The most recent Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) indicated that diabetes was listed as one of the top six health conditions in Baldwin County.

With much gratitude to Impact 100, this grant is impacting the uninsured diabetic population in Baldwin County and impacting the education of doctors in training in this community. Thank you Impact 100!

The hope is to ultimately have 50 patients enrolled by time the program concludes at the end of 2023.