Senators Collins, Shaheen Introduce Legislation to 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 Cacaus, introduced the Expanding Access to Diabetes Self-Management Training Act of 2018. This bipartisan legislation would expand Medicaid 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.

 

“Diabetes self-management training provides Americans with diabetes with important tools to help them to successfully manage the disease,” said Senator Collins.  “By educating and engaging patients, our bipartisan bill would lower the cost of health care by preventing health complications and avoiding hospitalizations.  I am pleased to introduce the Expanding Access to Diabetes Self-Management Training Act of 2018 with Senator Shaheen and I urge my colleagues to support this commonsense legislation.”

 

“Expanding coverage for diabetes self-management training will help diabetic patients and caregivers become more self-sufficient and improve overall health and wellbeing,” said Senator Shaheen. “This training has been shown to reduce diabetic-related health risks. This bipartisan legislation would lift financial barriers to training access, reduce health care costs and improve health care outcomes. Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects millions of Americans, and I will continue to work across the aisle to prioritize efforts that support diabetes treatment, research and education on behalf of patients and families across the country.”

 

“The American Diabetes Association applauds Senator Shaheen and Senator Collins for introducing this important bill to remove the barriers that Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes currently face in accessing DSMT services,” said ADA’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Advocacy and Community Integrated Health LaShawn McIver, MD, MPH. “Roughly one of every four American seniors is living with diabetes. Removing these barriers will improve health outcomes and help reduce health care costs. We look forward to working closely with Senator Shaheen and Senator Collins to advance this critical legislation.”

 

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 Expanding Access to Diabetes Self-Management Training Act of 2018 is supported by the Diabetes Advocacy Alliance. Companion bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives by House Diabetes Caucus Co-Chairs Tom Reed (R-NY) and Diana DeGette (D-CO).