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Governor Perdue Hosts Speaker Gingrich to Launch Diabetes and Obesity Project in Georgia

Thursday, September 8, 2005  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


ATLANTA This morning at the Governor's Mansion, Governor Sonny Perdue hosted a breakfast launching the Healthy Georgia Diabetes and Obesity Project. The event was coordinated by the Center for Health Transformation , an organization founded by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Employers, health plans and physicians in Georgia who are working with the Center to launch the nation's largest Bridges to Excellence program were invited to the breakfast.  Bridges to Excellence is a program designed to improve the quality of diabetes care by providing financial incentives to physicians and chronically ill patients who engage in proven practices that improve their health. Bridges to Excellence has been introduced on a smaller scale in Cincinnati , Ohio and Louisville , Kentucky .  The Georgia Project will include a special focus on minority populations, who are disproportionately impacted by diabetes.

“The Bridges to Excellence program brings together physicians and patients,” said Governor Sonny Perdue.  “The focus is on keeping patients healthy by using proven practices, and then constantly monitoring to determine if the patient is living a healthier lifestyle.  Encouraging healthier living while generating savings at the same time is good health care policy.” 

"The diabetes crisis is having a tragic impact on the lives of Americans, particularly among minorities, who are at increased risk for diabetes and its complications, including blindness, amputation and early death,” said Speaker Newt Gingrich.  “The impressive list of business, medical and government leaders in Georgia who have joined together to address this devastating and costly epidemic is unparalleled.  I am confident that this unique collaboration of leaders will have a dramatic impact on the lives and health of the people in Georgia and will serve as a model of excellence for the rest of the country."

In addition to Governor Perdue and Speaker Gingrich, speakers at the breakfast included Dr. David Satcher, interim president at Morehouse Medical School and former U.S. Surgeon General; Mike Eskew, UPS CEO;  Dick Anderson, BellSouth vice chairman; and Charlie Harman, senior vice president of public affairs for Georgia BlueCross BlueShield.  Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and CEOs of many of Georgia 's largest employers and health plans attended the breakfast.