My Letter to President Obama

I saw on another forum that Medicare is proposing to change their test strip allowance to no more than 6 strips per day. Although it is set at 3 right now, you are able to have a doctor sign a medical necessity and test more than those 6 times per day. As you also probably no, many insurance companies follow Medicare guidelines so this can put everyone in danger of losing their testing privileges. I don’t need to tell you that I think this is insane. I sent a letter to President Obama via the Whitehouse.gov website. I had a longer letter with more detailed prepared, but when I went to submit it, the site said to limit to 2500 characters so I had to cut it way back. I did have more than 2500 but a lot less than my original letter.

.

I wanted to edit this post to add the link that includes the proposed changes. Scroll down to page 7 to read this section. The way this is written, it won’t seem to matter what your doctor feels you should get in the way of test strips, it will be denied as not reasonable and medically necessary.

.

http://www.medicarenhic.com/dme/medical_review/mr_lcds/mr_lcd_draft/Glucose_Draft_LCD_092310.pdf

.

For beneficiaries who are being treated with insulin injections more than once per day or on insulin pump therapy:

.

If basic coverage criteria (1)-(4) are met, test strips and lancets in excess of 400 strips and 400 lancets every 3 months will be denied as not reasonable and necessary unless criteria (a) and (b) are met.

.

If the beneficiary is using more than 400 strips and 400 lancets every 3 months and criteria (a) and (b) are met, test strips and lancets in excess of 600 every 3 months will be denied as not reasonable and necessary.

.

Here is the letter that I submitted.

.

Dear President Obama,

.

I became aware of a proposed change to Medicare regarding the number of test strips diabetics are allowed to use per day. Cutting the number of test strips that I or my fellow diabetics are allowed to use is like having death squads go after us. In this case it would not be grandma but every diabetic that takes insulin and anyone on the streets near a car being driving by a diabetic. Private insurance companies follow Medicare guidelines so fear is that this will happen to every diabetic.

.

I am on disability because of complications from diabetes. I have been fighting very hard to not allow those complications to get worse. I have is gastroparesis. Gastroparesis is nerve damage to the stomach which causes delayed stomach emptying. Even though I follow a gastroparesis diet of very easy to digest foods, I don’t know when my food will decide to digest. If I take too much insulin before my food digests, my blood sugar crashes low. If my food decides to digest without enough insulin in my body, then my blood sugar goes high. Neither of those situations are healthy, so therefore, I test frequently to try to prevent either from happening.

.

I am hypounaware, which means that I do not know when my blood sugar is low. This is fairly common in diabetics that use insulin. It is important to test blood sugar frequently to know if you are low or not so you don’t end up unconscious because of low blood sugar. Passing out is dangerous.

.

I no longer drive because of neuropathy. However for those diabetics taking insulin that do drive, it is important for them to test their blood sugar each time they get behind the wheel. There have been many instances of a diabetic’s blood sugar dropping low while they were driving and causing an accident. That will endanger anyone on the road.

.

The proposed change to Medicare is to allow for 6 strips per day. We should check before and after we eat so that is 6 strips right there. Testing before getting behind the wheel is at last 2 more tests. That totals 8 times a day.

.

Those 8 tests do not include any extras for when blood sugar drops low. Standard protocol for a low is to test and treat. You also need to test again in 15 minutes and continue to repeat that process until your blood sugar comes up to a normal number.

.

I am sure that you are aware of all the amputations caused by diabetes. Maintaining good control helps limit those problems. The only way to maintain control is to test frequently. The proposed change to Medicare does not allow even the minimum amount of testing one should be doing per day. This change will guarantee that amputation rates rise.

.

I went thru a very bad foot wound and I would not wish that on anyone. Here is the link to those pictures on my blog:

.

http://kellywpa.wordpress.com/diabetic-foot-wound-picture

.

I would be more than willing to sign a release so you could get both medical and billing records to see what the cost of my foot wound was. It took 2 years from start to finish. I spent several weeks in the hospital. I had several surgeries. I was on IV antibiotics for over 17 weeks. I had home nurses coming in. I saw at least 1 doctor ever 1-2 weeks for 20 months and then monthly the next 4 months.

.

This change to Medicare will endanger every diabetic that takes insulin and they are guaranteed poor health. I beg of you to not allow this to happen.

Kelly WPA I throughly agree with you on this matter.

Thanks Chele!