Retina Vue device will help uninsured diabetes patients

Anndreia Hartzog Moran, a nurse at Care Point, demonstrates how the Retina Vue device works.
Photo by St. Clair Murraine

By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook Staff Writer

With diabetes being a major health challenge for people living in underserved community without health insurance, cost shouldn’t be a reason that they don’t monitor their condition.

Especially for those living on Tallahassee’s Southside.

Care Point Health and Wellness Center announced last Monday that it has added a Retina Vue optical device to its toolbox. The machine comes courtesy of a grant from the Florida Blue Foundation.

The primary function of the machine is to detect diabetes retinopathy in its early stage.

“Early detection is going to be one of the main keys to us being able to treat our diabetic patients who are having beginning of diabetic retinopathy to prevent it from getting worse,” said Stanley Kahn II, president of the Big Bend Cares board of directors, during a media briefing.

Care Point, which is run by Big Bend Cares, is located on the Southside of Tallahassee, not far from where many of its clients live in the 32304 zip code. That area has a median income of $16,521 and 33 percent of Care Point’s patients don’t have health insurance.

With the Retina Vue, patients can monitor their conditions with annual check-ups.

“Your vision is something so precious that we want to save it,” said Ashley Rousseau, manager of Florida Blue’s Tallahassee office. “We don’t want you to lose it.”

Having the Retina Vue means Care Point’s clients don’t have to go somewhere else for help, Kahn said, adding that many of them live with the risk of not knowing because they don’t have transportation to travel to a specialist.

“This is just one more tool in our pocket here at Care Point Health and Wellness,” he said.

In addition to offering transportation, Care Point has labs, a pharmacy and offers dental care.

Daniel Vermette, a marketing specialist with Florida Blue, said similar grants are given to other health facilities in Florida, although he didn’t say what the hand-held device cost.

“We are looking to close care gaps in health conditions, zip code by zip code and what’s going to make the biggest impact,” Vermette said.

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