The American Association of Diabetes Educators today presented US Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) with its 2014 AADE Legislative Champion Award, in recognition of her efforts to increase access to diabetes education.
The presentation was made today on Capitol Hill by Chris Irish, a diabetes educator and AADE member from Maine, in conjunction with a series of visits to legislators urging passage of legislation that would adjust Medicare billing procedures so that more people with diabetes have access to diabetes education.
“One out of every three Medicare dollars is spent on people with diabetes,” Senator Collins said. She noted that diabetes has become a healthcare problem of epidemic proportions that could eventually bankrupt Medicare and Medicaid.
“It’s imperative that patients have access to a full array of services and providers that help them manage their condition,” Senator Collins said. “We know the huge difference that [diabetes educators]’ efforts can make in preventing life threatening complications.”
Sen. Collins is a co-sponsor of “The Access to Quality Diabetes Education Act.” Though Medicare already covers diabetes education, the benefit is significantly underutilized because Medicare does not recognize many credentialed diabetes educators as providers. AADE has been urging Congress pass to this legislative fix, so that more patients can receive diabetes education.
Studies have shown that diabetes education reduces the occurrence of many of the serious complications that often result from diabetes, including vascular issues, amputations, heart disease and stroke.
“To me this bill is just a matter of common sense,” Senator Collins said.
About the AADE:
AADE is a multi-disciplinary professional membership organization dedicated to improving diabetes care through education. With more than 14,000 professional members including nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, and others, AADE has a vast network of practitioners involved in the daily treatment of diabetes patients.