By Lt. Marshall Denning, PIO/AA

Kern Valley State Prison

Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) has developed a program which allows certain diabetic inmates to carry their own Glucometer and test their blood sugars.

Because patients with poorly controlled diabetes have a high likelihood of developing other medical problems such as: kidney failure, blindness, and foot ulcers leading to amputations.

In addition to helping the inmates’ health, the program can save money for California taxpayers in lower inmate health-care costs.

Inmates with poor blood sugar control are offered help focused on their specific needs. They receive education by the nurse case managers, mental health support, dietician and medical provider and nurse follow up in an effort to improve their knowledge about their disease and how to better manage it.

To date, these patients are succeeding in bringing their blood sugars down. Last year, one single diabetic inmate had health care related costs of more than $250,000 in a two-month period. By a program such as the one at KVSP the diabetes-associated medical problems costing taxpayers so much money may be significantly reduced or even avoided.

Kelly Ranson is the Chief Nurse Executive (CNE) at KVSP, and is also a student at California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH). She submitted KVSP’s diabetic program to CSUDH’s Student Odyssey, a student research competition.

More than 300 people presented innovative ideas. KVSP’s diabetic program won 1st place in the Health Sciences Division and we just learned that Kelly has been chosen to present our process at State competition in May 2014.