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Collins, Shaheen Introduce Legislation to Lower Treatment Costs, Expand Access to Diabetes Self-Management Training

Bipartisan Bill Would Expand Access to Services That Improve Wellness & Reduce Risk of Diabetes-Related Death or Heart Attack for Diabetic Patients

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, introduced the Expanding Access to Diabetes Self-Management Training Act. This bipartisan legislation would expand Medicare coverage for diabetes self-management training (DSMT) sessions, where diabetes educators help train Medicare patients on how to manage their glucose, maintain a healthy weight, eat healthy foods, manage their insulin levels, and improve general care for their diabetes. DSMT is associated with a reduction in risk for diabetes-related death and heart attack and is also associated with improved self-care behavior and wellness, which greatly reduces hospital care costs. Companion legislation in the House is being led by Congresswoman Kim Schrier, M.D. (WA-08).

Collins and Shaheen led action in the U.S. Senate in support of measures to invest in diabetes treatment and research, and spearheaded the bipartisan bill to comprehensively lower insulin costs for more Americans.

“Diabetes self-management training provides Americans living with diabetes with important tools to help them to successfully manage their disease,” said Senator Collins. “Through education and patient engagement, our bipartisan legislation would improve health outcomes, increase quality of life, and lower the cost of health care by preventing health complications and avoiding hospitalizations.”

“Diabetes self-management training provides patients and caregivers the tools to become more self-sufficient and enhance their ability to manage the disease and improve their overall health,” said Senator Shaheen. “This education and training have been shown to reduce diabetic-related health risks. This bipartisan legislation would lift financial barriers to access training, reduce health care costs and improve outcomes, keeping patients out of the hospital. Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects millions of Americans, and I have been proud to work across the aisle to support diabetes treatment, research and education. I urge my fellow lawmakers to join Senator Collins and me in this critical effort.”

"As someone who has managed my own Type-1 Diabetes for almost 40 years, I understand the importance of education in managing this disease. Without proper understanding of the roles of insulin, food, exercise, and illness on blood sugar, people with diabetes can quickly end up in the hospital," said Rep. Schrier. "We know that self-management training helps people with diabetes live healthy lives and stay out of the hospital, and I am proud to work with my Democratic and Republican colleagues to introduce this important bill and remove barriers to self-management training.” 

“The Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (ADCES) applauds the sponsors of the Expanding Access to DSMT Act for introducing legislation that would improve access to diabetes care and education for Medicare beneficiaries,” said ADCES President Lucille Hughes, DNP, CDCES, BC-ADM. “DSMT services help individuals with diabetes improve their health and reduce complications which in turn can decrease health care costs. Improving access to and utilization of this evidence-based benefit is critical for addressing health equity.”

“The American Diabetes Association (ADA) appreciates the introduction of the Expanding Access to Diabetes Self-Management Training Act of 2023. The ADA’s Standards of Care includes information on how positive health behaviors and the maintenance of psychological well-being are foundational for achieving diabetes treatment goals and maximizing quality of life,” said Dr. Robert Gabbay, ADA’s Chief Scientific and Medical Officer. “Essential to achieving these goals is facilitating behavior change to improve health outcomes through diabetes self-management education and support. It is critical for Medicare beneficiaries to have access to high quality DSMES through the DSMT benefit, in order to achieve better patient self-management, satisfaction, and glucose results.”  

Nearly 26 million Americans are afflicted with diabetes and another 79 million have pre-diabetes, a condition that is known to progress to diabetes without early intervention, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC estimates that if current trends continue, one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and can lead to many other chronic diseases and conditions, such as blindness and kidney failure. As one of the most expensive chronic diseases, diabetes costs the American health care system billions of dollars each year. Overall, one in every ten health care dollars is spent on diabetes and its complications, and one in every three Medicare dollars is spent on the condition.

As co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, Collins and Shaheen have worked together to increase awareness of the threats posed by diabetes, invest in research, and improve access to treatment options. Earlier this year, Collins and Shaheen introduced the Improving Safeguards for Users of Lifesaving Insulin Now Act of 2023, which would comprehensively address the skyrocketing costs of insulin and remove barriers to care making it more accessible to millions of Americans.  Collins and Shaheen have consistently pressed to hold insulin manufacturers, insurers and pharmacy managers accountable for the skyrocketing cost of life-saving insulin. Collins and Shaheen also pushed to reauthorize the Special Diabetes Program last month, leading a bipartisan group of 60 Senators on a letter to Senate leadership emphasizing the importance of the program.