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Disease Management Programs

Gundersen Health Plan has disease management programs available to offer support and education to members who have ongoing health conditions. A registered nurse works with each program. We send information in the mail and are available to members by phone. To learn more, scroll down to view information about asthma, diabetes and ​​heart failure.

If you would like to enroll in the asthma, diabetes or heart failure disease management program, you can contact us or login to our Member Login to submit an enrollment request online.


Asthma

The Gundersen Health Plan Asthma Disease Management program is designed to provide our members who have asthma with information and resources to assist them in managing their asthma. Through this program members receive from us some or all of the following information or services to assist in better controlling their asthma.

  • Educational materials and resources to assist in the self-management of asthma
  • Recommendations for appropriate lifestyle changes to better control asthma
  • Nurse Case Management services (based on severity and risk factors) if needed

I have Asthma. What can I do?
The best thing you can do is learn as much as you can about asthma and the steps you can take to help reduce flare-ups (“asthma attacks”) and help reduce your risk of developing complications. Other things you can do:

Monitor and Manage Asthma Symptoms
It is important to monitor how you are doing. You can determine how well your asthma is being controlled by taking the Asthma Control Test. This simple tool has been designed to help people assess their asthma control, and it is fast to complete and easily scored.

Avoid Asthma Triggers
An asthma trigger is something which causes asthma symptoms to appear. Although specific triggers may vary from person to person, the following are some of the things that may make your asthma worse, and they should be avoided whenever possible.

  • Tobacco smoke – quit if you smoke and avoid second hand smoke
  • Dust mites
  • Animal dander
  • Cockroaches
  • Vacuum cleaning – use a dust mask or ask someone else to vacuum
  • Indoor mold
  • Pollen and outdoor mold
  • Smoke strong odors, and sprays
  • Exercise or sports – consult with healthcare provider to learn how to safely participate
  • Other things such as:
  • Sulfites in food (check labels)
  • Cold air (cover nose/mouth)
  • Other medications (consult provider)

Use Asthma Medications Correctly
It is important that you learn all about your medications you are taking. You should take the right medicine in the right way, correctly use and care for your inhaler and any other devices you use, and contact your healthcare provider if your medicine is not working like it used to. In general, there are two main kinds of asthma medications:

  1. Quick Relief: These medications quickly open your airways but last just a few hours. If you are using your quick-relief medication more than several times a week, you may need to also use or have an adjustment made in your “Controller” medication (see below).
  2. Controller: These medications are used to control asthma over the long term. They prevent, reduce, and reverse swelling in airways. They are taken daily even when you feel well.

Have an Asthma Action Plan
Develop an Asthma Action Plan with your healthcare provider specific to your needs. A written asthma action plan is particularly recommended for people who have moderate or severe persistent asthma, a history of severe flare ups, or poorly controlled asthma of any degree of severity. An asthma action plan should include instructions for daily management of your asthma as well as actions to take to manage asthma symptoms that are worsening, particularly if immediate medical care might be required.

Learn more about Asthma


Diabetes

The Gundersen Health Plan Diabetes Disease Management program is designed to provide information and resources to members with diabetes. Members in this program receive the following:

  • Educational materials and other resources to assist in the self-management of diabetes
  • Recommendations for appropriate lifestyle changes to better control diabetes
  • Letters to remind you when important exams or lab tests are due
  • Nurse Case Management services (based on severity and risk factors) if needed

If you or someone you care about have diabetes, the best thing you can do is to learn as much as you. The following recommendations play an important role in monitoring diabetes and preventing complications. 

Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C)
This blood test measures your blood sugar control over the past 3 months. The suggested target for your HbA1C is below 7.0. As HbA1C values get higher, there is an increasing chance that you will develop complications from your diabetes. Current recommendations indicate you should have this test done every 3-6 months.

Blood Glucose Tests (with a meter)
How often you check your blood sugar depends on your treatment plan, which is set up based on your individual needs. Your health care provider will determine how often you should test your blood and will tell you what levels you should have. The following are the American Diabetes Association guidelines:

Fasting: Normal: less than 100 mg/dl
Goal: 80-120 mg/dl

Bedtime: Normal: less than 110mg/dl
Goal: 100-140 mg/dl

Cholesterol
Fats in your blood, called cholesterol and triglycerides, should be tested. You want your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol to be less than 100 mg/dl, and your HDL (“good”) cholesterol to be over 50mg/dl. Triglyceride levels should be less than 150 mg/dl. Your health care provider will determine how often you should be tested.


Microalbuminuria
This urine test measures the amount of protein in your urine and can detect kidney problems early. If problems are found early, they can be treated more easily. It is recommended that this test be done yearly.

Eye Exams
People with diabetes are at risk of developing diabetic eye disease, a major cause of vision loss. Eye disease detected early is more successfully treated. The exam should be done with your eyes dilated. This means eye drops are used to enlarge your pupils. This allows eye care professionals to see more of the inside of your eyes to check for signs of the disease. It is recommended that this exam be done yearly.

Foot Exams
Diabetes can cause problems with the feet and legs. Proper foot care and regular foot exams can help prevent foot complications. You should exam your feet daily for cuts, blisters, sores, swelling, redness, or sore toenails. Your health care provider will also check your feet on a regular basis and instruct you in the proper care of your feet. On a yearly basis, your provider will use a special tool called a monofilament to test your feet.
Immunizations

  • Influenza : People with chronic illnesses such as diabetes are at high risk for complications of the flu. The best way to protect yourself from getting the flu and possible complications is by getting an annual flu shot
  • Pneumonia : People with diabetes are at risk for pneumonia. Getting vaccinated against pneumonia is good protection. One dose provides life-long protection for most people.

Check Into Additional Educational Resources

 

 


Heart Failure

The Gundersen Health Plan Heart Failure Disease Management program is designed to provide information and resources to members with heart failure. Through this program members receive some or all of the following information or services:

I have Heart Failure. What Can I Do?
The best thing you can do is learn as much as you can about heart failure and the steps you can take to help reduce your risk of developing complications.

Other things you can do:

  • Weigh yourself daily
  • Take your medications as prescribed
  • Limit your Sodium (salt) intake
  • Limit your fluid intake
  • Stop Smoking
  • Exercise
  • Get Immunized
  • Have recommended tests/procedures

Weigh Yourself Daily
Weigh yourself every day at the same time, and write it down. Call your health care provider if your weight increases by 2 pounds overnight or 5 pounds in one week. Monitor for and call your health care provider if you have increased swelling of feet, ankles, legs, and/or abdomen.

Take Your Medications As Prescribed
Taking medications as prescribed is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Your healthcare provider may treat you with one or more medications; call your provider if you have any concerns about taking your medications.

Limit Sodium Intake As Recommended By Your Healthcare Provider
You will be asked to limit your sodium to no more than 2000 mg. of sodium (salt) daily. Limiting sodium is an important way to decrease symptoms of heart failure. Eating sodium can make your body retain too much water, which in turn makes your heart work harder..

Limit Fluid Intake As Recommended By Your Healthcare Provider
You will be asked to limit your fluids to a maximum of 2 quarts per day. Fluids include not only all liquid intake, but also items that melt or are soft at room temperature. Too much fluid may force your heart to work harder.

Stop Smoking
If you smoke, quit. Smoking narrows blood vessels, making it harder to breathe. It increases your blood pressure, and also your heart rate. It puts you at greater risk for developing other heart and health problems. If you are interested in quitting, go to For You, our protected member portal to learn more about Breathe, our web based tobacco cessation program. Or, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to access your local tobacco quit line and talk with someone who is trained to help people quit.

Exercise
Discuss the possibilities of exercise with your healthcare provider. Physical exercise has been shown to have many benefits for people with heart failure. It can help your heart pump more efficiently and improve the flow of blood through your body. Your healthcare provider can help you develop an exercise plan based on your fitness level.

Get Immunized

  • Influenza: People with chronic illnesses such as heart failure are at high risk for complications of the flu. The best way to protect yourself from getting the flu and possible complications is by getting an annual flu shot
  • Pneumonia: People with heart failure are at risk for pneumonia. Getting vaccinated against pneumonia is good protection. One dose provides life-long protection for most people.

Have Recommended Tests/Procedures
Your health care provider may order some of the following tests:

  • Echocardiogram (Echo): An Echo is a painless, safe ultrasound test for your heart. This test shows how well your heart muscle and valves are working, and it shows us how large your heart is
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG): An ECGis a non-invasive, painless test to record the heart’s electrical activity. This test may be done while you are resting, or while walking on a moving treadmill.
  • Chest X-ray: A chest x-ray may be done to help in diagnosing heart failure.

Learn More about Heart Failure
You can find great information about Heart Failure on these websites: