Guest editorial: People’s Health Clinic can help fight diabetes epidemic
May 1, 2018
Many people think because we live in Park City, everyone is healthy and fit, no one goes without healthcare or doctor visits, and national epidemics like diabetes aren't an issue. They are wrong. People's Health Clinic, a nonprofit organization in Park City that provides no-cost medical care to our uninsured neighbors in Summit and Wasatch Counties, diagnosed 250 people with diabetes (158 with diabetes, 92 with pre-diabetes) last year. This is a dramatic increase from 2016. Right now 1 in 10 (over 200,000) Utahns have diabetes (Summit County Health Department) and according to the CDC, if current rates continue, 1 in 3 Americans will have type 2 diabetes by the year 2050. Diabetes is a relentless disease that is seeping its way into our town and into the lives of the people who live and work here.
Ninety-five percent of the people we serve at our Clinic work at least one job, many two and three. Much of the success of our hotels, restaurants and ski resorts is because of the wonderful people who keep our beautiful resort town alive. Our mission is to provide healthcare for all of our community members, regardless of ability to pay. Diabetes is an expensive disease. Between doctor visits, prescriptions for pills or insulin, labs and strips to test blood sugars, it's no wonder Utah spends one billion dollars each year on direct and indirect diabetes costs. Monthly expenses can soar to more than $450 a month.
Our Clinic is a safety net for individuals who don't have a health home. Sometimes we all need a little help. Our volunteer health providers and staff make it a priority to screen individuals at-risk for pre-diabetes, provide diabetes education in English and Spanish, follow up with patients to make sure they are being seen every three months, conduct foot exams, A1c tests, retinopathy exams and supply patients with glucose meters, test strips and insulin, all free of charge.
So please remember, if you can afford health insurance, consider yourself lucky. Why not help someone who can't by donating to People's Health Clinic. Even the ugly face of diabetes rears its ugly head in our small town. So whether you're between jobs, no longer on your parent's health plan, not offered benefits or simply can't afford coverage, we all need a little help sometimes.
For more information about People's Health Clinic or to make a donation visit http://www.peopleshealthclinic.org. To make an appointment, please call 435-333-1850.
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