Diabetes Technology Survey: Captain’s Log 12/4

Our grassroots survey/petition in support of diabetes technology is going strong! At last count, there were close to 1,900 respondents, with more coming in daily. Close Concerns reports that they’re even working directly with the JDRF to send the link out to all their constituents, which is extremely good news. Because no one’s life has been affected more by new diabetes treatment technology than diagnosed children and their families — with us LADA types taking a close second, of course.


Not surprisingly, respondents have been quite loquacious in the comments section — about why diabetes technology is so critical to their well-being, and therefore why insurance companies should open their eyes to its value. A few excerpts:

“I support better reimbursement for blood glucose monitoring because…”

  • People
    shouldn’t have to stop and think about how much a test strip costs before
    they do a test. Frequent testing is the only way to stay in control of
    your glucose levels, and thus is necessary in order to prevent long-term complications.
  • A diabetic without monitoring is flying “blind.”
  • Currently insurance companies cover 6 blood glucose tests per day, but most children with type I diabetes need to test far more frequently especially when battling lows or highs, or participating in physical activities.
  • Continuous glucose monitoring is the next step to better control, especially for people who have hypo or hyperglycemia unawareness. It is also important for young adults, such as myself, who live alone because the alarm on the monitor can wake you out of a nocturnal hypo episode.

“I support better reimbursement for insulin pumps because…”

  • The insulin pump has changed my life. I control the diabetes, it no longer controls me. I was lucky enough to have 100% insurance coverage, but being able to use pump therapy should not depend on the luck of the insurance coverage draw.
  • While my son has used an insulin pump for the past three years and we have been
    able to pay for upgrades out of pocket, many children must do without this
    technology, and/or wait for long periods of time before they are eligible
    for upgrades due to insurance issues!
  • Studies have proven that those who have good control have
    better quality of life, and even if medical journals haven’t proven it,
    those of us fortunate enough to have access to technology can attest to
    the fact that it has increased our control. However, there still exists
    a “diabetes elite,” if you will. The elite consists of those with
    good medical care, those who can afford to pay multiple co-pays a
    month. Unfortunately, not everybody falls into this category, and thus
    people who are not insured, who are underinsured, or who cannot afford $50+
    in co-pays a month do not receive the tools necessary to keep their
    diabetes under control.

“I support better
reimbursement for Continuous Glucose Monitoring because…”

  • It will aid in keeping better glucose control.
  • My son used a continuous glucose monitor for one month last year. We returned it because we found the equipment to be unreliable at times and because the out of pocket expense would have been $4,200 per year to cover the cost of the sensors. We might have stuck with it had it been covered by insurance. With insurance reimbursement, more people would be able to
    afford to use this equipment. If companies could sell more monitors and
    sensors there would be greater incentives to create better technology.
  • While the technology is new, it has tremendous potential for people with
    diabetes. The more it is available for use, the more improvements can be
    made in the technology, so that it may one day significantly improve the lives of many.
  • It is next to impossible for growing children with Type 1 diabetes to maintain “good control.” Accurate Continuous Glucose Monitoring
    would greatly increase their chances.
  • Without reimbursement, few can afford to pay the high costs associated with devices such as continuous glucose monitoring. Without wide use, further development of this technology will be slow.
  • So many uninsured and underinsured people are unable to afford the fantastic technology available to them. And the technology is only useful if quality, affordable education is available on its use.

On a somewhat related note, I wanted to share the video of our San Francisco World Diabetes Day event:

Why bother lighting up the world in support of diabetes if treatment is moving “backwards” in one of the wealthiest countries on Earth? Diabetes technology can and does save lives.

[If you still haven't done so, please take a moment to fill out the survey HERE]


4 Responses

  1. Cesar
    Cesar December 5, 2007 at 11:21 am | | Reply

    Thanks Amy, we all care about things like this. Technology should keep on going forward. :) Thanks

  2. David Parker
    David Parker December 5, 2007 at 7:38 pm | | Reply

    I don’t really want to throw cold water on this effort, but maybe folks could come up with some hard evidence on how much technology benefits us diabetics. The comments I’ve seen are mostly arm waving, wishful thinking and anecdotes. I’d like to see something like the following: a study named xyz shows that cgms reduces A1c levels by xxx% or people that test their bg 4 or more times a day have reduced their frequency and severity of hyoglycemic episodes by yyy %. We need to keep puting the hard numbers forward to really prove the necessity of improving the technolgy. (disclosure: I’m a T1 pumper since 1980.)

  3. Lauren
    Lauren December 5, 2007 at 8:43 pm | | Reply

    Technology impacts the lives of ALL people with diabetes, adult and child. We all need it. No age group should be considered more important than another.

  4. kelly
    kelly December 6, 2007 at 9:36 pm | | Reply

    hi David – oh this survey is definitely about more than just CGM .. CGM hasn’t been out long enough to have long term trials ! That said, there are two very important trials in motion now (one funded by the JDRF, the other by Medtronic) to test the value of continuous monitoring. Stanford University, the Joslin Clinic, and a number of other renowned centers are taking part. Early results should be out by the end of 2008. I wish “hard evidence” were already available, but it isn’t. That said… while the trials are one thing, we also think it is important to amass opinions about technology. As one of the earliest pumpers, you may not have had early access to reimbursement – do you have it now?

    If you can believe it, there are some places that are trying to take away access to reimbursement for blood glucose monitoring – that I really can’t believe. So… if you feel strongly about reimbursement for pumps and strips, we’d love you to weigh in if you would… click the end of Amy’s post if you would. “Arm-waving” is the last thing anyone has time for, especially Amy. As for me, honestly, I just want to feel normal and not spend a fortune in the process…

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