My last blog was about my trip to Washington, D.C. with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) where I, along with a group of other volunteers from ADA, asked for support of funding for diabetes through the National Institute of the Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation and the National Diabetes Prevention Program. The budget for fiscal year 2018 passed that day with increases in funding for diabetes!
Now, I am so excited to see that legislation has been introduced to directly support diabetes education for people with diabetes! Diabetes self-management education and support (known as diabetes self-management training [DSMT] for billing purposes), is a covered service for those with Medicare and most of the other insurers follow this. But, there are barriers that get in the way of referral and utilization of our services. This bill was introduced by Representatives Tom Reed (NY) and Diana DeGette (CO), co-chairs of Congress’ Diabetes Caucus.
Keep your eyes out for information from AADE for our next steps. If you are a constituent of Mr. Reed or Ms. DeGette, please contact them and thank them for their support of people with diabetes and diabetes educators through HR 5768, the Expanding Access to Diabetes Self-Management Training Act. If you are in any other district, contact your representatives to ask them to support the bill.
You can tweet, email, call, or visit them in Washington or at home. Your representatives are there for you so let them know how important this is. We see, and have the evidence to show, that those who go through DSMT have improved outcomes. But, the barriers get in the way of more people receiving services. The negative outcomes of diabetes cost millions each year. This may be the message that Congress needs to hear. Do it for diabetes educators, people with diabetes, or the country’s economy.
Next steps: Watch for direction from AADE, spread the word to those around you, and let’s get this legislation passed so that more people can benefit from DSMT!
About the Author
Karen Kemmis is a physical therapist and certified diabetes educator, and also holds certifications in Pilates for rehabilitation and exercise for aging adults. She is based out of SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY and splits her time between a Joslin Diabetes Center affiliate, an outpatient rehabilitation department, and a PT program where she is an adjunct professor.
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