HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital – Community Diabetes Programs

Effingham, IL
December 2017

After HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital conducted the 2015 community health needs assessment, one of the top priorities identified was addressing the chronic disease of diabetes. The data indicated that Jasper County diabetes prevalence exceeded the state average consistently between 2007 and 2011, while the Effingham County prevalence was similar to the state rate. Among Medicare enrollees, the prevalence of diabetes in Jasper County and Effingham County in 2011 was 30.2 percent and 26.9 percent, respectively, compared with the Illinois prevalence of 27.7 percent.

Lisa Gradle meets with program participant John ArtherFor more than a decade, St. Anthony’s has offered a free monthly diabetes support group and educational presentation – led by a certified diabetes educator – to help people cope with their disease. By providing those living with diabetes with support, skills and knowledge through this group, St. Anthony’s is empowering community members to make informed choices to control their disease rather than letting it control them.

To further address the chronic disease of diabetes in the community, St. Anthony’s developed the Community Diabetes Program in 2015. This program provides additional resources for those with diabetes, especially the underinsured and uninsured. What originally began as a partnership with Effingham Catholic Charities has expanded to four locations throughout the hospital’s service area.

Clients meet with a registered dietitian who assists them with lifestyle changes and obtaining the necessary resources to manage their disease. Through this free program, people can get help with healthy food options, medication costs and free blood sugar testing supplies. As part of the program, St. Anthony’s also works with Catholic Charities to provide “diabetic-friendly” healthy foods for their food pantry and fill any gaps as needed to support the overall program.

In 2016, the diabetes support group meetings reached 100 individuals. The Community Diabetes Program served more than 200 clients in the past two years. Currently, there are 126 active clients. Program clients have achieved a decrease in body weight, A1C, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as an increase in healthy HDL cholesterol.

Health Parameter

Average Change Per Client

Body Weight

↓   .4 pounds


↓   .6 percent

Total Cholesterol

↓  2.5 mg/dl


↓  4.45 mg/dl


↓ 27.6 mg/dl

HDL (Healthy)

↑   .8 mg/dl


Lessons Learned
St. Anthony’s recognized that the program needed to grow to reach more individuals where they receive their health care. The program has now expanded to four locations including several local physician offices and the Jasper County Health Department.

Future Goals
The goal of the program is to increase program participation in all locations, especially in the outlying communities of Newton and Altamont.

Bonnie Kruse, RD, Clinical Nutrition Services, shared why St. Anthony’s initially offered this program to the community in partnership with Catholic Charities. “Catholic Charities already provided services for many low-income individuals needing help with food and medicine. Many of their clients requesting assistance are diabetic and need help managing their disease, as well as needing financial assistance to get their needed medicines and testing supplies,” she said. “Our Mission to reveal Christ’s healing love for all people through our high-quality Franciscan health care ministry extends well beyond the doors of our hospital. With the expansion of the program to additional locations, we are able to meet people where they are to help them manage their disease so that they don’t need further advanced medical care.”

Contact: Lisa Hoelscher
Community Benefit Specialist
Telephone: 217-347-1219
Email: lisa.hoelscher@hshs.org

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