Thursday, June 19, 2008

Call To Arms!

Over at TuDiabetes, Gina Capone has dubbed July 1 CGMS Denial Day. So many of us are being turned down for this coverage that we need to raise our voices. If you have been denied or know someone who has been denied, join us on this day. We should make our voices heard.

We did it during Type 1 Diabetes Day. Here's the next call to arms.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

CGMS Coverage

Yesterday Kerri posted about being denied for CGM coverage by her insurance company. She also posted her letter. Denials seem to be going around lately. Things are still iffy with my continual coverage. I wrote my letter and sent it. I am going to post mine also. Voices are being raised as more and more people are being denied for this new technology. Yes, it's new. No, it's not perfect. But it's helping countless people. Sadly, others are being denied the help by insurance and are not financially able to pay for the device and sensors out of pocket. This is the category that I fit in. TuDiabetes has a whole section dedicated to this.
Manny also posted a video about it, which I am going to put at the bottom of this post.
I am still waiting to hear what the outcome of the policy decision was from my insurance company. And waiting. And waiting.

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Cara Richardson. I am 27 years old. Twenty-three years ago this month, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. It was 1985; I was four years old. Home glucose testing was relatively new. Still in it’s baby stages. It took 90 seconds to get a glucose reading.
Over the years technology has greatly improved, as most of the world knows. I have gone from two shots per day to 4, to more. And then to an insulin pump. It helped me get greater control over my diabetes. I could talk for hours about how the insulin pump changed my life. But I won’t.
Instead I will tell you about my life since I was able to receive the MiniMed Constant Glucose Monitoring System. I live alone. Prior to CGMS, my best friend would call me every morning at 7:00 to see if I was awake. And alive. Most nights, I would wake myself at midnight and 3 am to test my blood sugar. Some nights it was high. Very high. And I would correct. There were nights it was so low that I wonder how it was even possible that I woke up to test.
My mother spent countless hours wondering and worrying about me. Over the years of having diabetes I have lost nearly all of my ability to detect my lows on my own. Most of the time the people around me would notice the signs before I did. All my family and friends, and even some of my co-workers were trained to use a glucagon pen in the event I should pass out.
I would have to test up to 14 times per day. Before meals, after meals, on breaks, before driving, any time someone suggested that I might need to check my blood sugar.
I work a full time job and am lucky to have any insurance at all. I am truly grateful for all that Blue Cross has allowed me to do. My health is the most important thing to me. And CGMS has drastically improved my life and overall well-being.
Now that I have CGMS, I no longer have to wake myself to test in the middle of the night. My best friend doesn’t feel the need to call me every morning. My co-workers don’t panic if I am five minutes late to work. My A1c, in just two months, dropped from 6.7 to 6.3. When I go back to the doctor in August, I expect it to have dropped even more. I am hoping to get an A1c to a non-diabetic level of below 6.0. Scientifically we all know that a non-diabetic level is much healthier, long term, than any higher A1c.
Long term complications are not in my plan. I want to ward them off in any way possible. However, the out-of-pocket costs is more than I can spend. The monthly cost for sensors is more than my rent. As a single person, living alone, surviving on one income, I cannot afford to pay for these out of pocket.
Without this coverage, I would have to go back to being afraid that I might not wake up one morning. I must wake up nightly to be sure that this doesn’t happen. My friends and family will have to be afraid for me, and constantly call to check on me. I will go back to checking my blood sugar 10 to 14 times per day. My A1c will sneak back up on me.
I understand the astronomical cost of CGMS, but the long term cost of complications would add up to so much more. I would like to keep myself healthy, and complication free, because I feel that the scientific community is on the edge of a breakthrough. I want to be healthy, so that when there is a cure, I can live the rest of my life happy, and healthy.
Thank you for your time. I hope you understand how important it is that I continue to receive help for this coverage.


Cara Richardson
Type 1 Diabetic

Find more videos like this on Tu Diabetes - A Community for People Touched by Diabetes

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

MiniMed Rep & the Insurance Company

As I had mentioned in a previous post, my insurance company may stop paying for my CGMS. And for everyone's CGMS. This has been a concern of mine for the past few weeks. I ordered another supply of sensors, and so far they are paying for them. I ordered a 3 month supply at the time, hoping that I could stretch them out for a while.

Mostly because I cannot afford to pay for them out of pocket. The cost of the sensors, out of pocket, are more than my rent. (Yes, I have cheap rent. I live in a very, very small town.) I refuse to put myself in anymore debt than I currently have (school loans, car, etc.) and having to pay for sensors would seriously increase my debt.

Lately, I have just being doing a lot of praying about it and taking a day or 2 off between sensors (to try to stretch out their use). The off days are not good days for me.

I took my sensor out on Monday morning. I have not replaced it yet. The past two days have not been easy ones for me. I had a low yesterday that I didn't catch until I checked my blood sugar at lunch time. I had a high last night that I didn't know until I took my customary, pre-sleep, blood sugar result. I plan on putting a new sensor in first thing tomorrow morning.

Today, I received a call from the MiniMed rep that I dealt with when I was getting the CGMS. He was calling to tell me that my insurance company was talking about cutting out all CGMS payments to all patients. They had been saying they were not hearing from patients on how the CGMS has improved their lives and helped them, so they didn't see the reason to keep on paying. In return, the insurance company had offered and e-mail address for those who are doctors, CDE's, and patients to seen their stories to until the end of the week.

I think that this is my chance to tell them about my life. About how every morning for two years my best friend would call me to be sure I was up. About the morning I accidentally overslept, my co-workers called me in a panic to be sure I was okay. About the multiple nighttime lows that the CGMS has caught for me. And how I no longer have to wake myself at midnight and 3 am to check my blood sugar. How my A1c dropped from 6.7 to 6.3 in two months. (I expect it to be lower at my next appointment).

There are so many things that I could write in this letter. But mostly, I just want to say thanks to the MiniMed rep who is going to give me the chance to be heard by these people at the insurance company who don't live with my diabetes Every Day, Every Hour, Every Minute.

I can't quote science (I've said that before), but I can speak as to the amazing changes in my life since CGMS was introduced.

They may not listen, but they won't be able to say that I didn't speak. I want them to hear my voice. Because I know that there are others, just like me, for whom this technology may truly be a lifesaver.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Diabetes and Other People's Problems.

I was talking with my mother the other day. She and my step-father run their own business and have been having some trouble with a client. While I was talking with her, I kept saying, "I just hate to see you have to deal with this!"
And she said this to me, "There are people all over the world who have problems that I don't want. They deal with earthquakes and tornadoes and floods and sickness and many other horrible things. Even you; you live every day dealing with diabetes. I am just glad to have my problems. I don't want to deal with the problems of other people. I'll keep mine, thanks."
When she said that, I thought to myself how right that was. I have diabetes. I've had it most of my life. I live with it every day, every hour, every minute. But I am so very lucky. I have so many things that I am thankful for. And I certainly don't want anyone else's problems.
It was a reality check for me. My mom tends to be good at that.
It's a reminder that, even with diabetes, we have much to be thankful for.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Taking a Break!

I am officially taking the day off tomorrow! No work! Woo-hoo!!! It was originally planned that I was going out of town for the weekend, but after some changes in plans, I am staying home. I could have gone into work tomorrow, since I'll be in town, but I decided, after a very emotionally draining week and a half (long story dealing with my personal know, the one I don't talk about.), I decided I needed the day off anyway.

Right now I am planning on sleeping in (till at least 7:00, lol) and then getting up and basically finding things to do around my apartment. I am probably going to clean a little bit and maybe go have lunch with a friend of mine. And then I am getting my hair done at 3:00. I am ready for a summer 'do. My long hair is hot and in my way, so it's time for something new.

This week has been all about making myself happy and tomorrow is going to be a part of that. Just a day to relax and refresh myself. Time to put me first and not worry about other stuff.

As a side note: I passed on the Jonas Brother's magazine to the daughter of my supervisor at work. She was diagnosed just 2 years ago with Type 1 diabetes and I thought she might like it. II felt like I needed to pass it on. Let a diabetic child know that there are others like her in the world.