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Important News For Seniors With Diabetes

El Centro, California (NAPSI) - Recently, the approximately 10.9 million American seniors on  Medicare1 who live with diabetes were alerted to new changes that could  impact access to their blood glucose testing supplies.

Many people with diabetes use these supplies—including blood glucose  meters and testing strips—to monitor their blood glucose (also known as “blood  sugar”). Learning to use and maintain a blood glucose meter usually requires  practice, and, over time, patients often become very comfortable with a  particular meter. This is important, because consistent blood glucose  monitoring is critical to help people with diabetes track blood glucose  levels, identify the best approach to control their diabetes, and avoid the  potentially serious complications of the disease.2

Medicare Changes

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently instituted a  new program that reduces Medicare reimbursement for certain diabetes testing  sup- plies, including blood glucose test strips, for people with diabetes.3

These changes could limit seniors’ access to their preferred diabetes  testing supplies—those they’re comfortable using and that their doctors  recommend. CMS may suggest that patients switch to unfamiliar products,  causing confusion or frustration. Or worse, according to a survey by the  American Association of Diabetes Educators,4 patients who can no longer  access the products they’re comfortable using may test their blood glucose  levels less frequently or stop testing altogether. This could potentially  result in poor blood glucose control.

Finding Support

A number of resources are available to help seniors with diabetes  understand and manage the Medicare changes and make it easier for them to  access their familiar supplies or, alternatively, find new products that are  both appropriate for them and affordable. The American Diabetes Association (www.diabetes.org) provides comprehensive  information and guidance regarding the changes. Many blood glucose testing  suppliers provide free training and support services for seniors who either  decide to switch products or want to continue using their familiar supplies.

To help seniors navigate through these changes, the global health care  company Abbott has enhanced its FreeStyle Promise®   diabetes support program to provide new resources and support services to  Medicare patients. Seniors with diabetes, their doctors and caregivers can  learn more about Abbott’s FreeStyle Promise program  at http://www.freestylecoveredbymedicare.com  and 1-855-578-2660.

1http://www.diabetes.org/advocate/our-priorities/health-care/medicaid-and-medicare.html     2http://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/Living-with-Diabetes/Type-1-Diabetes/Managing-Type-1-Diabetes/Blood-Glucose-Monitoring/.  Accessed July 26, 2013

3http://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Outreach/Partnerships/Downloads/DMEPOSBeneFactSheetNatMailOrderProgApril201311634.pdf

4http://www.diabeteseducator.org/export/sites/aade/_resources/Advocacy/AADE_DME_SURVEY.pdf