Ontario Launches Diabetes Strategy

    $741 Million Plan Will Make Patients Partners In Care

    TORONTO, July 22 /CNW/ -


    Ontario is investing $741 million in new funding on a comprehensive
diabetes strategy over four years to prevent, manage and treat diabetes.
    The strategy includes an online registry that will enable better
self-care by giving patients access to information and educational tools that
empower them to manage their disease. The registry will also give health care
providers the ability to easily check patient records, access diagnostic
information and send patient alerts. The registry is set to come online
starting Spring 2009.

    Other key elements of the strategy include:
    -  Improving access to insulin pumps and supplies for more than 1300
       adults with type 1 diabetes by funding these services for people over
       the age of 18.
    -  Expanding chronic kidney disease services, including greater access to
       dialysis services.
    -  Implementing a strategy to expand access to bariatric surgery.
    -  Educational campaigns to prevent diabetes by raising awareness of
       diabetes risk factors in high risk populations, such as the Aboriginal
       and South Asian communities.
    -  Increasing access to team-based care closer to home by mapping the
       prevalence of diabetes across the province and the location of current
       diabetes programs in order to align services and address service gaps.

    Ontario's diabetes strategy will help tackle a growing - and expensive -
health care challenge. The number of Ontarians with diabetes has increased by
69 per cent over the last 10 years - and is projected to grow from 900,000 to
1.2 million by 2010. Treatment for diabetes and related conditions such as
heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease currently cost Ontario over
$5 billion each year.
    The strategy will support Ontario's two top health-care priorities of
improving access to care and reducing emergency wait times.


    "Our plan will help Ontarians living with diabetes get better access to
the care they need, when and where they need it," said David Caplan, Minister
of Health and Long-Term Care. "By improving the way we prevent, treat and
manage diabetes, thousands of Ontarians will benefit from a better quality of
life. The diabetes registry will change the way this disease is managed,
ultimately saving more lives and easing hospital wait times."
    "We will provide better access to information, programs and services to
prevent people from getting diabetes in the first place," said Margarett Best,
Minister of Health Promotion. "There is solid evidence that tells us that many
cases of diabetes can be prevented by increasing daily physical activity and
making healthy food choices."
    "The Canadian Diabetes Association applauds the Government of Ontario's
continued commitment to investing in a diabetes strategy for Ontarians," said
Cynthia Lees, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Diabetes
Association. "This new strategy will provide an estimated 900,000 Ontarians
with diabetes the tools they require to effectively manage their disease."
    "Doctors are working with their patients to help prevent the
complications from chronic conditions such as diabetes," said Dr. Ken Arnold,
President, Ontario Medical Association. "It is essential that patients who are
living with diabetes are able to access the necessary treatment and resources
to ensure they are able to manage their disease and stay healthy."
    "The diabetes strategy takes the most up-to-date research and best
practices from around the world and matches them with the needs of diabetes
patients in Ontario," said Dr. Catherine Zahn, chair of the Diabetes Expert
Panel. "This will mean better care for diabetes patients across the province."
    "Dietitians of Canada is pleased that the Ontario government is investing
in a diabetes strategy," said Helen Haresign, Vice President Development,
Dietitians of Canada. "Healthy eating is a key factor for prevention and
management of diabetes and improved access to registered dietitians gives
Ontarians better support to manage their own care."


    -  Diabetes puts people at risk for other serious health complications
       such as heart disease and stroke, kidney and eye disease and limb

    -  A diabetes patient costs Ontario's health care system over $3,000 in
       the first year of treatment. If the patient has complications this
       cost goes up to over $5,000.

    -  For each patient that requires in-hospital dialysis, the cost to the
       Ontario health care system over the course of a year is more than


    Learn more about Ontario's new diabetes strategy.
    Read more about existing diabetes programs in Ontario.
    Read more on health promotion and chronic disease prevention at
HealthyOntario.com (http://www.healthyontario.com/).
    Get access to reliable advice and information on healthy eating,
nutrition and chronic disease prevention through EatRight Ontario
    Learn more about Ontario's e-Health strategy.
    Visit the Canadian Diabetes Association

                                                      Disponible en français


                              DIABETES STRATEGY

    Today, about 900,000 Ontarians live with diabetes (8.8 per cent of the
province's population) and this number is expected to grow to 1.2 million by
2010. Diabetes and its complications, including heart disease, stroke, kidney
disease and blindness cost the health-care system over $5 billion annually.
    Ontario is launching a new, $741 million diabetes strategy that aims to
prevent, manage and treat diabetes care across the province. This strategy
builds on internationally accepted best practices and the recommendations of
the Diabetes Management Expert Panel. This panel was established by the
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in 2006 to provide advice on improving
diabetes care in Ontario.


    $290 million is being invested in expanding current programs, aligning
care and funding new programs. Ontario is increasing access to team-based care
closer to home by mapping the prevalence of diabetes across the province and
the location of current diabetes programs in order to align services and
address service gaps. Depending on patients' needs, the health care team could
include a family physician, registered nurse, registered dietitian and/or an


    The diabetes strategy will invest $6 million in prevention programs,
including education campaigns to raise awareness of risk factors that
contribute to the onset of type 2 diabetes, such as physical inactivity, poor
nutrition and obesity. The campaigns will focus on high-risk populations,
including Aboriginals, Hispanics, South Asians, Asians, African-Canadians,
lower-income families and people aged 50 and older.


    A $150 million investment over the next four years, in a diabetes
registry, is set to begin in Spring 2009. All Ontarians living with diabetes
will be entered into an electronic registry that will provide people with
diabetes instant access to electronic information and educational tools to
help them manage their care. Physicians will be able to use the registry to
check patient records, access diagnostic information and send patient alerts.
The registry will result in faster diagnoses, treatment and improved
management for Ontarians living with diabetes.
    The diabetes registry is the first step in Ontario's e-Health Strategy
that will provide all Ontarians with an electronic health record by 2015.


    In December 2006, the Ontario government began a program that provides
funding for insulin pump therapy to children and youth aged 18 and under who
met the clinical criteria. Funding was then extended for those patients in the
program turning 19 (while the Insulin Pump and Supplies for Adults Expert
Panel, chaired by Dr. Bruce Perkins, assessed the clinical needs of adults
with type 1 diabetes) for insulin pump therapy. As of September 2008, this
$62 million investment will allow funding for insulin pumps and supplies to be
extended to all adults with type 1 diabetes who meet the clinical criteria for
funding under the Assistive Devices Program
(http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/public/program/adp/adp_mn.html). Today,
about 1700 children and youth benefit from the Ministry-funded insulin pump
therapy and in September 2008, over 1300 adults will receive funded insulin
pumps every year.
    Approximately 30 per cent of patients living with type 2 diabetes rely on
insulin. In the next 18-24 months, the Insulin Pump and Supplies for Adults
Expert Panel will review medical literature and consider expanding the pump
program to adults living with type 2 adult diabetes.


    Kidney disease is one of the complications of diabetes that affects
roughly 40 per cent of Ontarians living with diabetes. Diabetes is the most
common risk factor associated with kidney disease. As a result, Ontario will
also be investing $220 million to expand its Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
Program. This will improve access to all the services available under the CKD
program which strive to identify kidney disease as early as possible;
prevent/delay kidney function deterioration as long as possible and manage
end-stage kidney disease through renal replacement treatments. This will
include increasing dialysis service capacity at CKD regional centres, dialysis
satellites, long-term care homes and independent health facilities. Ontario
will also work to increase the availability of home renal replacement
therapies (hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis), both which can be done day
or nighttime, so that patients who currently rely on dialysis treatment in
hospitals and other health care facilities can experience less interruption in
their daily lifestyle and receive treatment in the comfort of their own home.


    Obesity is one of the main risk factors associated with diabetes. More
than 50 per cent of type 2 diabetes cases in Ontario are associated with
obesity. The government is improving access to bariatric surgery - a procedure
that modifies the gastrointestinal tract to reduce food intake. This
$75 million initiative will increase Ontario's capacity for bariatric surgery
several-fold within two years and it will continue to increase thereafter. In
2006/07 169 procedures were performed in Ontario and 485 patients were funded
for surgery out of country.

    Ontario will enhance capacity for bariatric surgery in the province by:
    -  Providing bariatric education and training to health care providers
    -  Expanding bariatric surgical capacity
    -  Establishing pre and post bariatric surgery programs that will be
       linked to surgical programs.

                                                      Disponible en français

For further information:

For further information: Alan Findlay, Minister's Office, (416)
327-4320; Mark Nesbitt, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, (416) 314-6197;
Andrew Campbell, Minister's Office, (416) 326-8500; Gary Wheeler, Ministry of
Health Promotion, (416) 326-4806

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