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New York State Podiatric Medical Association Study Shows Podiatry Decreases Diabetic Hospitalizations and Healthcare Costs
Podiatry Helps Diabetic Patients Improve Their Quality of Life by Allowing them to Effectively Manage Diabetic Foot Ulcers
NEW YORK (November 1, 2018) – A research-based study by the New York State Podiatric Medical Association (NYSPMA) shows that podiatrists provide critical services to individuals with diabetes that decrease hospitalizations and healthcare costs. The NYSPMA announces the findings in conjunction with Diabetes Awareness Month to educate the public about diabetes and its complications in the feet, as well as the value of a podiatrist in preventing and managing those complications.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), two million New Yorkers have diabetes. Additionally, foot ulcers occur in up to 25 percent of patients with diabetes and precede more than 8-in-10 non-traumatic amputations. Patients with diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) miss more days of work due to medical-related issues and disability, reducing workforce productivity. Approximately 50-79 percent of patients with DFUs are unemployed, have retired early, or are unable to work. Podiatric services for diabetic patients with foot ulcers prevent infection and amputation while improving function and quality of life.
“People with diabetes are at a greater risk of injuring their feet due to loss of sensation caused by nerve damage,” said NYSPMA President and Brooklyn-based Podiatrist Paul J. Liswood, DPM. “Podiatrists are a critical component within the diabetes care team and regular and vigilant foot care can help catch problems before they develop into a health crisis.”
In 2017, the NYSPMA contracted with Navigant Consulting to quantify the value of podiatric services in helping reach New York’s healthcare goals. The analysis demonstrates a decrease in hospitalizations and lower healthcare costs for individuals with a diabetic foot ulcer who see a podiatrist compared to those who do not receive podiatric intervention. The results were published in the NYSPMA white paper Podiatric Services Deliver Value and Improved Health Outcomes.
Key findings from the analysis:
While ulcers—open sores on the foot—are the most common diabetes-related foot problem, several others are also serious and prevalent, including neuropathy, skin changes, calluses, poor circulation, and infection. The nerve damage that diabetes causes may mean a person with an ulcer or injury may be unaware of it until it becomes infected. Infection can lead to partial or full amputation of the foot or lower leg.
“Because many people who develop foot ulcers have lost the ability to feel pain, pain is not a common symptom,” said Dr. Liswood. “People with diabetes need to inspect their feet daily and contact their podiatrist if they see any warning signs of ulcers, including irritation, redness, cracked or dry skin (especially around the heels), or drainage on their socks,” urges Dr. Liswood.
The NYSPMA white paper Podiatric Services Deliver Value and Improve Health Outcomes to New York Residents, focuses on four chronic conditions, including diabetes, obesity, substance abuse/back pain, and fall prevention. The NYSPMA complete white paper is available upon request.
Established in 1895, the New York State Podiatric Medical Association (NYSPMA) is the first organization of its kind in America. NYSPMA is the largest statewide component of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) and its affiliated national network of certifying boards and professional colleges. The NYSPMA and its more than 1,100 doctors of podiatric medicine adhere to a code of strict ethical standards and participate in numerous programs to benefit patients, the podiatric profession and the general public. For more information, visit www.nyspma.org.