American Diabetes Assoc. Recognizes BHS Program

PITTSFIELD — The Diabetes Self-Management Education Program at Berkshire Medical Center and Fairview Hospital has been awarded continued recognition from the American Diabetes Assoc. The program was first recognized in 2002 and has continually achieved recognition since that time. The latest certification is for four years.

The BHS program, with three locations in Berkshire County, provides high-quality education services to the patients it serves. Berkshire Medical Center has two sites for diabetes education — at 510 North St. and at Family Practice Associates, 20 Elm St., both in Pittsfield. Fairview provides services on the hospital campus at 29 Lewis Ave. in Great Barrington.

The ADA education recognition effort, begun in the fall of 1986, is a voluntary process which assures that approved education programs, like those at Berkshire Health Systems, have met the national standards for diabetes self-management education programs. Programs that achieve recognition have a staff of knowledgeable health professionals who can provide state-of-the-art information about diabetes management for participants.

Berkshire Health Systems has five diabetes professionals providing care for patients: Candace Lusa, RN, CDE (certified diabetes educator), program director; Hope Burgess, RN, CDE; Debora Coons, RN, CDE; Jan Salzer-Ogden, registered dietitian, CDE; and Erika Tilley, registered dietitian.

Self-management education is an essential component of diabetes care. One outcome of compliance with national standards is greater consistency in the quality and quantity of education offered to diabetes patients. Assuring high-quality education for patient self-care is one of the primary goals of the education-recognition program. Through the support of the health care team and increased knowledge and awareness of diabetes, the patient can assume a major part of the responsibility for his or her diabetes management. Unnecessary hospital admissions and some of the acute and chronic complications of diabetes can be prevented through self-management education provided by the BHS program.