Diabetes provider recognized for work with visually impaired

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

ATLANTA – Provider Jordan Benis, a former dialysis nurse, knows firsthand the challenges diabetes patients face checking their blood glucose as their sight falters.

"When you are sighted you have a technique that you use to check your blood sugar," said Benis, COO of Advanced Diabetic Solutions. "When you become blind, no one teaches you how to change that technique—where does your finger go, how do you get the blood onto the strip? That's a real challenge."

In October, the mail order provider received the "2009 Business & Aging Award" from the Metropolitan Partnership in Aging for its efforts to improve the lives of Georgia seniors.

The provider was nominated by one of the low-vision centers it works with. Diabetes causes 12,000 to 24,000 new cases of blindness each year, according to the American Diabetes Association.

"We are huge advocates (for the blind)," said Benis, who also partners with the National Federation of the Blind on equal rights issues. "We spend a lot of our profits to develop programs to support patients and help with their unmet medical needs."

The three-and-a-half-year-old Advanced Diabetic Solutions serves 20,000 patients and about 3,000 are visually impaired. That has meant tailoring their entire service model so that it meets the needs of all its patients.

"Our customer service reps are taught how to talk to blind people when they call," he said. "It's very different from talking to someone who is sighted. Everything has to be with regard to space and time and direction. If you are talking about a meter, make sure it is in the correct position when you are talking to them."