As 2013 comes to a close, I can’t help but think about all the ways that I’ve grown this year.
At the start of the year, I was waiting to hear from the Administrative Law Judge’s office to find out when my husband was going to get a date for his Medicare appeal for his CGMS. Before we actually got the date, I saw a Letter to the Editor in Diabetes Forecast Magazine from Janice Allen in Foresthill, California asking why Medicare would not cover her CGMS. That prompted me to Google her name and attempt to find her address. Fortunately Google is an amazing tool and there is almost nothing that you can’t find on it. I wrote Janice a letter and was pleasantly shocked when she called me within a few days of mailing it. That was the start of my advocacy. After I spoke to her, I decided that something needed to be done to change the Medicare CGM guidelines and if not me, who else? I was really tired of sitting on my hands and taking chances day-by-day with my husband’s life because he didn’t have a working CGMS.
I started surfing around the internet and came upon the American Diabetes Association Forums. I found a post there from a woman in New York with a reference to CGMS. So I put a comment on the post and that started a wonderful friendship with Sue from New York. We quickly became fast e-mail friends and that translated a short time later into phone friends. Through her, I met Laddie who graciously offered me the opportunity to guest blog on her site. Laddie is one terrific person. Aside from the fact that she’s a gifted writer, she’s a good friend as well. She’s my go-to person for education about diabetes since I am not a diabetic and there is so much that I don’t know about it. She has also helped me tremendously as I navigate the blog world as a regular contributor to Test Guess and Go.
After my first blogpost I started hearing from others who were experiencing the same problem as my husband. They also were denied coverage of the CGMS. All are on Medicare; some are paying for their CGMS out of pocket and others, like my husband are going without. All are suffering in some shape and form because of Medicare’s decision not to pay for the CGMS.
Recently I was fortunate to connect with a Massachusetts woman, Carol Lewis, who shared the information that on December 11, 2013, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire introduced a bill into Congress addressing the problem of CGM coverage by Medicare: H.R. 3710: Medicare CGM Coverage Act – to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for coverage of continuous glucose monitoring systems (CGMS) as durable medical equipment under Medicare, and for other purposes. In this bill, CGMS coverage will include a transmitter, receiver, sensors, and test strips required for use. This is the first time, to my knowledge, that anyone in either Congress or the Senate has attempted to do anything about CGMS coverage. In early 2014 I will be posting more information about this bill and asking everyone to contact their Congressperson to request that they support this bill.
I have always shied away from calling attention to myself, but over the past year I have found that this is no longer possible. I have a husband who has a specific need and that need is a CGMS which for him is lifesaving. I can’t sit around and watch while he goes day in and day out without one. I also can’t sit around and watch anyone in the future who might need a CGMS go through the same process that we have been going through. It’s long and arduous and there have been many times when I’ve felt like throwing up my hands and packing it in. But each time I’ve felt this way, someone has been there to encourage me to continue.
I say that it’s my year of growth simply because along the way, I have learned so much about diabetes. I know that I have much more to learn. Along the way, I have met many people who have now become a part of my life. I have blogged. I have developed a relationship with Jim Bock of Diabetes Forecast. He has been a great source of help in having our story told in the magazine in the December 2013 issue. And recently I have developed a relationship with Congresswoman Shea-Porter’s legal assistant as well as Amy Wotring of the American Diabetes Association.
I thank each and everyone who has read my blogs and responded with a comment. I thank Sue and Laddie who have been an integral part of my journey. Most of all I thank my husband Marc who has been my life partner for the past 44 years and who is the reason why this is so important to me. I hope someday in the near future that Marc will open our front door to find a box containing a brand new CGMS that has been paid for by Medicare.
To everyone, I wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year. You will be hearing more from me in 2014.
THIS POST IS MY DECEMBER ENTRY IN THE DSMA BLOG CARNIVAL. IF YOU’D LIKE TO PARTICIPATE TOO, YOU CAN GET ALL OF THE INFORMATION AT HTTP://DIABETESCAF.ORG/2013/12/DECEMBER-DSMA-BLOG-CARNIVAL-3/