New effort to fight diabetes in Sonoma County


Sonoma County medical providers are taking aggressive steps to deal with the high rate of patients with diabetes admitted to local hospitals, a trend that is said to be driving up hospital costs.

In Sonoma County, patients with diabetes account for almost 26 percent of all local hospital admissions, according to a recent UCLA analysis of 2011 hospital patient discharge data. That’s a total of 7,459 hospital admissions.

The added cost of hospital care is estimated at $16.4 million, according to the study, which was conducted by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research with support from the California Center for Public Health Advocacy.

“We are very concerned about the epidemic of diabetes and the toll that it takes on individuals and the system that cares for them,” said Karen Holbrook, the county’s deputy public health officer.

Holbrook said diabetic patients who are admitted to local hospitals pose more medical complications than those who are not diabetic and often require more tests and treatments. Severe diabetes often results in serious medical conditions such as liver disease and kidney failure, she said.

According to the UCLA study, 31 percent of the state’s hospitalized patients 35 years or older, the age group that accounts for most hospitalizations, had diabetes. The study estimated that the added cost to hospitals in California was $1.6 billion. Hospital stays for diabetic patients in the state cost an average of $2,200 more than for non-diabetic patients, according to the study.

The study’s authors pointed out that 75 percent of this care is covered by Medicare and Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program. Medi-Cal alone pays $254 million in added costs for diabetic patients.

February 28, 2012 ~ Dr. Joseph M. Kiernan, Cardiologist

Joseph M. Kiernan MD, FACC, FSCAI

Dr. Joseph Kiernan has a private practice with the Cardiovascular Group in Northern Virginia and is the co-director for the Coronary Care Unit at Inova Fairfax Hospital.  Fairfax Hospital has 11 catheterization  labs and one of the largest cath volumes on the east coast. Dr. Kiernan is Board Certified in Cardiology & Interventional Cardiology. His cardiovascular Group’s mission is to make a difference in the community by providing extraordinary cardiovascular care.

A physician-patient relationship is based on  mutual trust is Dr. Kiernan’s belief.

Dr. Kiernan is a graduate of the  Medical College  of Virginia. He completed his internal medicine and cardiology training at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.  He is a  FELLOW, American College of Cardiology and Fellow of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions. He is a member and the American Medical Association.

Dr.Joseph Kiernan is married to Dr. Sharon Kiernan who is the Chief of Neonatal Medicine and Medical Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Holy Cross Hospital in Siver Spring,  Maryland.

Dr. Sharon Kiernan believes in neonatal survivorship, but not germs.  Drs. Sharon and Joe live with two Shelties.

Listen to Diabetes Living Today®

February 28, 2012 ~ Dr. Joseph M. Kiernan, Cardiologist

January 24, 2012 ~ Diabetes and Heart Disease with Cardiologist Dr. Howard M. Weinberg

Dr. Howard M. Weinberg, DO, FACC

Dr.  Howard Weinberg is a private practice cardiologist with South Jersey Heart Group, P.C. (SJHG).  South Jersey Heart Group, P.C. includes fifteen cardiologist serving Glouster, Camden and Burlington County.  Dr. Weinberg completed his residency at Albert Einstein Medical Center and his fellowship in Cardiology at Seton Hall University. He is board certified in cardiology and nuclear cardiology and has been treating patients with cardiovascular disease for fifteen years. Dr. Weinberg has served as a board member for American Heart Association of Glouster County and is a board member of The Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund for the State of New Jersey. Dr. Weinberg has been married for eighteen years and has three boys ages 16, 14 and 11. Dr. Weinberg enjoys spending time with his family and coaching his son’s ice hockey teams.

Listen to Diabetes Living Today®

January 24, 2012 ~ Diabetes and Heart Disease with Cardiologist Dr. Howard M. Weinberg

JDRF-Funded Study Seeks to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk in Adults with Type 1 Diabetes






Contact: Joana Casas, 212-479-7560;

–REMOVAL, a multi-site, international trial will test whether metformin helps prevent the development of a common complication associated with type 1 diabetes–

New York, NY, December  13, 2011—JDRF-funded researchers have begun enrolling adult patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in the REMOVAL study, to test whether metformin—a drug commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes—could help prevent or reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications in people with T1D.

The REMOVAL study (Reducing with MetfOrmin Vascular Adverse Lesions in T1D) is a multi-center, international trial that will study 500 patients with T1D aged 40 or older, a patient group known to be at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, one of the leading causes of death associated with diabetes. A study from the United Kingdom has shown that people with T1D aged over 40 are at much higher risk for cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. [1]

The REMOVAL study will follow patients for five years. In the study, metformin or a placebo will be added to regular insulin therapy. The study will also test the drug’s effects on the control of diabetes and treatment satisfaction, as well as its effects on other complications, such as diabetic eye disease. Metformin has a proven safety record based on over 50 years of use in people with type 2 diabetes to help control blood glucose levels.


The study is being led by Professor John Petrie from the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom (primary investigator) and Professor Helen Colhoun from the University of Dundee, United Kingdom, and is recruiting participants in five countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Denmark, and the Netherlands. The REMOVAL study will be supported in Canada and Australia by the Canadian and Australian governments through the JDRF Canadian Clinical Trial Network (CCTN) and the JDRF Australian Clinical Trial Network (CTN), respectively.

“Given what we know about metformin, we are eager to learn whether its benefits, when added to insulin therapy, could have a positive impact on the health and lives of people with type 1 diabetes who are at risk for cardiovascular problems,” said Dr. Petrie. “As we follow the participants in the REMOVAL trial, we will be able to gather key information that could help physicians understand whether this patient population might benefit from this combined therapy.”

JDRF, the leading charitable funder of T1D research worldwide, is supporting the REMOVAL study as part of its efforts to discover and develop treatments for the devastating complications that can arise from T1D—an autoimmune disease that affects as many as 3 million Americans and has no known cause or cure. It is one of the largest trials ever funded by JDRF targeted at reducing the complications of T1D.

“JDRF is dedicated to people with type 1 diabetes, and an important part of that commitment involves the discovery and development of therapies for diabetes complications,” said Aaron Kowalski, assistant vice president of treatment therapies for JDRF. “Cardiovascular complications are very real dangers for many people with this disease, which is why research like the REMOVAL study is urgently needed. Better therapies could not only improve the health of people living with type 1, but could save lives.”

To learn more about the REMOVAL trial, please visit:

About metformin

Metformin is an oral, widely-prescribed first-line drug for type 2 diabetes, and is available in generic forms in several countries. It has been on the market in some European countries for more than 50 years. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for type 2 diabetes in 1994. Metformin works by preventing high blood sugar, but evidence also exists that it can improve blood vessel function, reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and improve the action of insulin on the liver, even for people without diabetes. These potentially beneficial properties could also reduce risk in T1D. In fact, metformin has already been approved for use in T1D in France and Portugal. Approval in the United States would require evidence that metformin not only reduces cardiovascular risk, but could prevent heart attacks and/or strokes. REMOVAL is a necessary gateway trial into this more extensive research.


About T1D

In T1D, a person’s pancreas stops producing enough insulin to survive. People with T1D must currently monitor their blood sugar levels and administer insulin via shots or an insulin pump, multiple times every day. Even vigilant management does not ward against T1D complications such as heart attack, stroke, blindness, and amputation.

About JDRF
JDRF is the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Driven by passionate, grassroots volunteers connected to children, adolescents, and adults with this disease, JDRF is the largest charitable supporter of T1D research. The goal of JDRF is to improve the lives of every person affected by T1D by accelerating progress on the most promising opportunities for curing, better treating, and preventing T1D. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners who share this goal.  Since its founding in 1970, JDRF has awarded more than $1.6 billion to T1D research. More than 80 percent of JDRF’s expenditures directly support research and research-related education. Past JDRF research efforts have helped to significantly improve the care of people with this disease, and have expanded the critical scientific understanding of T1D. JDRF will not rest until T1D is fully conquered.   For more information, please visit