Tri-Lakes Diabetes Prevention Efforts Celebrating Success

Posted on: June 5th, 2017 by Glenn

Standing (L-R): Linda and Gary Ceisner, Andrea Goff (MFT Lifestyle Coach), Barbara Tebo, Kelly Metzgar. Seated (L-R): Sarah Doyle (Adirondack Health) and Lindsay Speicher (Excellus BlueCross BlueShield)

The Heart Networks newest Diabetes prevention program, Moving Forward Together, works!

Moving Forward Together to Prevent Diabetes in Franklin County (MFT) is a program developed by North Country Healthy Heart Network with funding from With funding from Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield to encourage and support health provider efforts to identify and address pre-diabetes.

The Heart Network partnered with Adirondack Health to plan the program, and in January 2016 Adirondack Health providers began referring patients with pre-diabetes to the Moving Forward Together (MFT) lifestyle coach. Since that time, more than 125 Tri-Lakes residents have participated in the program – and the majority are making great progress toward reducing their risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

More than 65 percent of people completing the program have lost weight and/or reversed their pre-diabetes diagnosis.  “This is a very exciting finding,” says Lindsay Speicher, Community and Regional Affairs Manager at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.  Excellus BCBS awarded a grant to North Country Healthy Heart Network to help start the program almost two years ago.

Several program participants recently met with Ms. Speicher to share their experiences and thank Excellus BlueCross BlueShield for helping to make the program possible. “When my doctor told me I had prediabetes and offered a referral [to the MFT coach], I didn’t think it would help,” explained Barbara Tebo of Tupper Lake.  “I went anyway, and [the coach] helped me to make small changes that, over time, are making a big difference.  I’ve now lost more than 80 pounds and recently started running again. For the first time, I’m feeling like I can really do this.”

Gary and Linda Ceisner of Saranac Lake were referred to the program more recently.  “I was referred first,” said Gary.  “Then my wife found out that she also has pre-diabetes, so we’re doing it together.”  “We’ve always been pretty good about what we eat, but were just eating too much,” added Linda.  The coach helped us understand how to read food labels and plan for healthier snacks.  We’re so thankful for the support.”

Providers are also pleased with the program.   Dona Kilgore, a physician assistant at Tupper Lake Health Center, said “this program is a great opportunity to identify and teach patients about life changes that they can make to prevent diabetes  … I think this program is excellent, and I thank Excellus BCBS for making this possible.”

In addition to Moving Forward Together, the Heart Network and Adirondack Health have partnered with Eastern Adirondack Health Care Network and the Infant Jesus of Prague Foundation to offer the National Diabetes Prevention Program (now called Prevent T2) in Tupper Lake and Lake Placid.

Prevent T2 is a yearlong, evidence-based group program that supports individuals wanting to make and maintain lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes.  The Prevent T2 groups are comprised of MFT participants, without whom the program would not be possible. “We’ve tried to offer Prevent T2 before,” explained Sarah Doyle, Care Coordinator at Adirondack Health. “But people weren’t signing up.  Moving Forward Together helps get people motivated and interested in joining.  It’s a great feeder program!”

Kelly Metzgar of Saranac Lake attends the Lake Placid Prevent T2 group.  She was referred by the MFT coach and says it helps her to be more accountable.  “It’s really a great compliment to the work I do [with the MFT coach],” said Metzgar.  “It’s good to have other people to talk to about what’s working for them, and it keeps me focused on doing what I need to do to keep myself healthy.”

To find out if you or someone you love is at risk for pre-diabetes, visit https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/pdf/prediabetestest.pdf to take a pre-diabetes risk test, and then talk to your doctor about the results.  They may suggest a blood test to find out if you have prediabetes.  If you do, ask for a referral to Moving Forward Together, or contact the Heart Network at (518) 891-5855 for more information.