August 24, 2016

The Loss of CDEs as Care Coordinators

There has to be a reason for some of what I reading about coming out of the 2016 AADE convention of educators. This seems to point to more reasons for the shortage of CDEs teaching diabetes education. Don't get me wrong, I believe in people being able to improve their lives and earning a better living while doing something they enjoy.

Now if the AADE would do things correctly and be honest with their membership list, they should state the number of CDEs actually doing full-time education, those doing part-time education, those not doing any education, and those that are retired. Presently they just list dues-paying members and let us speculate why so many people with type 2 diabetes receive no diabetes education.

Then we have CDE members with dual and triple titles that must work in their primary occupation to earn a living. Those with the titles of registered dietitians spend most of their time teaching poor nutrition and go almost no diabetes education.

Now we learn that CDEs are taking on another job as care coordinators. During her presentation at the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) 2016 Annual Meeting, Mary Ellen Wolf, BSN, RN, CDE, helped answer some of these questions in her presentation titled “Diabetes Educators as Care Coordinators.” Wolf described how she was able to parlay her skills as a CDE into her role as care coordinator to help the most vulnerable patients stay out of the hospital. Wolf is employed by Healthways, a population heath management company.

Wolf explained that care coordinators help identify chronically ill patients and facilitate the delivery of health care in the right order at the right time in the right setting. Her presentation defined care coordination as patient-focused, comprehensive, and accessible. The value of care coordination is proven in its ability to provide higher-quality outcomes at a lower cost.

I am sure that her RN title also helped her in her chosen field of work and made care coordination all that much easier. So count another CDE out of the diabetes education field. And those of us with type 2 diabetes continue to receive little to no diabetes education.

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