PPCC science upgrades

Filed under: Daily News,Health Care |

Pike’s Peak Community College is planning an extensive renovation of its science labs — which include biology, chemistry and nursing.

The college received permission from the Capital Development Committee of the General Assembly to start a $4.2 million renovation and retrofitting project this spring, said President Tony Kinkel.

The college is not borrowing any money or issuing bonds for the project. It is using reserve money, he said. The college also received stimulus money from the federal government, which paid for salaries and benefits this year, freeing up funds for the project.

“Our science labs on that campus are 31 years old,” Kinkel said. “And we identified this as a need in 2002. We just had to get the money to do it.”

Colorado state law is strict about allowing governments to issue bonds. Community colleges can only issue bonds if they have an identified revenue source to repay the money, he said.

“We’re fortunate that we’ve been growing so fast; we’re able to build some reserves,” Kinkel said. “Some of the community colleges in rural parts of the state cannot do that.”

Bids for the project — which include retrofitting labs with safety measures, as well as updating the interior of the labs — will be issued this spring.

“Our planning indicates that by 2012, enrollments in programs using these labs will increase by 28 percent leaving us with a deficit of 1,841 assignable square feet,” Kinkel said. “So this approval was essential in getting started with this retrofitting project.”

Regular doctor visits

Half of all the people with diabetes still test above the target goal set by the American Diabetes Association — but those who see their doctors regularly are doing a better job of managing the disease.

That’s the word from a report by Quest Diagnostics, which was based on 14.3 million blood-sugar test results performed from 2001 to 2005. The proportion of the test results deemed to represent good diabetes control increased from 36 percent during early 2001 to a high of 56 percent during late 2005.

Quest Diagnostics’ health trend reports track disease and wellness benchmarks, and are made available as a way to keep patients, health professionals and policy makers up to date about the current state of the nation’s health. The 2009 report is the second in a series of health trend reports.

The test for hemoglobin A1c is a key indicator of diabetes control, and measures the amount of sugar attached to hemoglobin, the primary protein in red blood cells. The American Diabetes Association recommends people with the disease keep their hemoglobin A1c levels below 7 percent of the total hemoglobin in red blood cells.

“What makes these data so interesting is that they suggest that over time, glucose control is getting better,” said Nathaniel G. Clark, national vice president of the American Diabetes Association. “This is in direct contrast to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data which suggests that diabetes control in the United States population declined through the period of the late 1990s.”

The number of test results included in the diabetes report is more than 100 times that of other published reports about diabetes health.

“This is a huge data set with enormous statistical power that helps us understand the state of control of diabetes in the United States,” said David E. Goldstein, professor emeritus of the University of Missouri Health Sciences Center. “This is valuable information for health care professionals, policy makers and payers.”

On average, patients were tested 1.9 times per calendar year. The ADA recommends that patients with stable diabetes control have their HbA 1c measured twice a year. The majority of these tests were ordered by physicians in an office setting.

Diabetes is a growing health concern in the United States. More than 14 million Americans have diabetes and an additional 6 million might have diabetes and not know it, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin to convert sugar into energy. If poorly managed or undiagnosed, diabetes can lead to serious complications, including heart attack, stroke, blindness, amputation and kidney failure.

Amy Gillentine covers health care for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.