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. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, led a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing the Expanding Access to Diabetes Self-Management Training Act. Senator Angus King (I-ME) is a co-sponsor of the legislation.
This bipartisan bill 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 associated with improved self-care behavior and wellness, which can greatly reduce hospital care costs.
“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 lower the cost of health care by preventing health complications and avoiding hospitalizations. I urge my colleagues to join Senator Shaheen and me in supporting this commonsense bill.”
“Diabetes is a long-term, and sometimes lifelong, disease, so it’s critical that patients and caregivers have the tools they need to manage their health or the health of their loved ones,” said Senator Shaheen. “Diabetes self-management training can reduce diabetic-related emergencies, empower patients and families with the knowledge they need to be independent, and lower health care costs and improve outcomes. Millions of Americans live with diabetes and millions more are at risk for developing this life-threatening disease, which is why I’m glad to partner with Senator Collins on bipartisan legislation to increase resources for affected Medicare beneficiaries. I’ll continue to work across the aisle to bolster federal efforts that invest in diabetes research and treatment, and ultimately a cure.”
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, Senators Collins and Shaheen have worked together to increase awareness of the threats posed by diabetes, invest in research and improve access to treatment options. The Senators have consistently held insulin manufacturers, insurers, and pharmacy benefit managers accountable for the skyrocketing cost of life-saving insulin.
In response to the Senators’ bipartisan effort, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) first approved the use of continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) in January 2017 and allowed Medicare beneficiaries to use smartphone apps in conjunction with CGMs in June 2018. Earlier this month, the Senators introduced legislation to expand seniors’ access to groundbreaking diabetes technologies, such as the artificial pancreas and implantable continuous glucose monitoring systems.
In addition to Senator King, the legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Tina Smith (D-MN), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Gary Peters (D-MI).
Click HERE to read the bill text.