Diabetes Education Program Mission Statement:
The mission of the Diabetes Education Program (DEP) at Bay Pines VA Healthcare System (BPVAHCS) is to provide quality comprehensive diabetes self-management education and support for ALL Veterans with diabetes. Education and support are the KEYS to empowering Veterans with diabetes to improve management of their disease, avoid complications, and achieve optimum health status.
Type 1 Diabetes (T1DM)
Type 1 DM results from the body's failure to produce insulin, and currently requires the person to inject insulin or wear an insulin pump. This form was previously referred to as "insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus" (IDDM) or "juvenile diabetes".
Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM)
Type 2 DM results from insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to use insulin properly, sometimes combined with an absolute insulin deficiency. This form was previously referred to as non insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or "adult-onset diabetes".
Gestational Diabetes (GDM)
Gestational Diabetes (GDM) occurs when pregnant women without a previous diagnosis of diabetes develop a high blood glucose level. It may precede development of type 2 DM.
Pre-diabetes (Pre-DM) is when a person's blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be type 2 diabetes. People with pre-diabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and may have some problems from diabetes already.
Diabetes Education Program Overview
BPVAHCS has a dynamic diabetes education program accredited by the American Diabetes Association *. The program office is located on the fourth floor of the hospital in Bay Pines, FL. The program offers a wide variety of educational services for Veterans with diabetes. Whether you are a Veteran new to diabetes or you are interested in a refresher course to help you improve your diabetes management, please contact your primary care provider, pharmacist, or nurse practitioner for a consult to our program.
The diabetes education program consult has classes for Veterans with pre-diabetes and with diabetes.
The pre-diabetes class focuses on diabetes prevention. When your blood glucose (sugar) levels show higher than normal results, your healthcare provider may send a consult for you to attend the pre-diabetes class. This class is a one-time class that looks at lifestyle behavior changes for healthy eating, weight loss (if needed), and exercise to prevent the development of diabetes. We may encourage further individual visits after the class as needed or refer you to the MOVE program which aids in ongoing weight reduction and overall health promotion.
The diabetes education program consists of 3 basic visits (not just one class). These visits include:
Your initial visit is a one-on-one appointment with both the diabetes dietitian and the diabetes nurse educator to talk with you about your personal concerns and questions about your care.
The second visit is a diabetes group class that can be either one day long or broken up into 2 half day sessions. The diabetes classes are held on Thursdays. Classes start at 8:15 a.m. and end at 4:00 p.m. Complimentary lunch is provided for Veterans participating in the class. Family and significant others are welcome and encouraged to attend the class for support. Support persons coming to the class will need to bring or buy their own lunch.
The third visit is a Diabetes Recall Class which is held on scheduled Monday afternoons from 1:00-2:30 p.m. The recall class is a follow-up group class where Veterans can ask the diabetes nurse and dietitian questions that may have arisen since the diabetes class. It is also an opportunity to assess your progress with lifestyle behavior changes and identify any barriers found.
**Individual appointments can be made at the end of the recall class to return to see the diabetes nurse or dietitian as needed until you feel comfortable with your diabetes self-management.
Other Diabetes Education Opportunities
Classes to learn how to use the glucose meter to self-test your blood glucose at home are conducted by your primary care provider. If you have questions about your meter, please consult your doctor.
If you are having technical problems with your glucose meter, please call the toll-free number 1-(888)-522-5226 found on the back of your meter. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to receive assistance at your convenience.
If the battery needs to be replaced, the battery is a 3V round battery CR 2032 that can be purchased at local pharmacies, discount department stores, and supermarkets. The Bay Pines Pharmacy does not supply these batteries. The batteries should last for a minimum of one year.
Diabetes Meter Class for Visually Impaired Veterans with Diabetes
Referral from health care providers to have legally blind Veterans with diabetes receive individual education on the use of a talking voice meter to test their blood glucose is available. This class is an individual scheduled appointment held at the medical center. Veterans who wish to participate in this class must have a consult from their primary care doctor.
Amputee Resources (including prevention of amputation)
PAVE – Prevention of Amputation in Veterans Everywhere
Your health care provider may refer you to the PAVE program with the intent to take care of patients with amputations, as well as those at risk for limb loss. For questions about PAVE, please speak with your primary care doctor.
Amputee Support Group meets every third Tuesday of the month from 1:00pm to 2:00pm in Building 100, Room 3A-104 at the main medical center. For more information, please contact Sara Dodrill, DPT, at 727-398-6661 or 888-820-0230, extension 4624.
Caregiver Support Services
- Caregiver Support Group:
First Tuesday of each month, 2:00-3:00pm in building 101 Room B5
Contact: Caregiver Support Coordinator at 727-398-6661 or 888-820-0230 extension 10166.
- Caregiver Support Services
Other Helpful Resources
- PERC (Patient Education Resource Center)
Visit the PERC to get health information on diabetes. The PERC is in building 100, Room 1E – 236.
The PERC is open Monday-Thursday 8:00am-4:00pm, and on Friday from 9:30am-1:30pm.
- Technical information and supplies for insulin pump 24 hour hotline:
* Links will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs Website. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked websites. The link will open in a new window.