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Study: Medicare Competitive Bidding Program Could Impede Seniors' Access to Diabetes Testing Supplies
Date:6/18/2008

ed. Therefore, CMS appears to have made no effort to obtain necessary data about how this program could affect the health of diabetes patients, but instead used the demonstration program to conduct a price comparison.

In response to concerns from patients, the Diabetes Access to Care Coalition has been actively educating policymakers about the importance of diabetes self-management in the face of a diabetes epidemic. About 20 percent of Medicare's 43 million beneficiaries have diabetes, with an estimated 200,000 in the 10 areas where this program will be implemented.

DACC members believe that an education program is critical to ensure that Seniors are not confused by the new program and led to believe that they must change how they manage their diabetes. The education program will make it clear that mail order is not their only option; they may choose to continue to receive their supplies from their community pharmacist.

Some of the Coalition's members plan a toll-free call center to offer advice to Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes. Trained representatives will assist callers to locate the product they want and need, and also collect information from beneficiaries about their experiences in the competitive bidding program and share them with policymakers so they can promptly address any concerns with the implementation of the program.

The hotline is one part of the coalition effort to help seniors with diabetes understand all their options under the new program, including purchasing directly from their local pharmacist, who provides personal care and consultation to ensure that beneficiaries have the right supplies for their needs.

The DACC, comprised of patient advocates, caregivers, suppliers, and manufacturers of diabetes testing supplies, was formed in 2005 to address diabetes access issues relating to the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) and the competitive bidding program.


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SOURCE Diabetes Access to Care Coalition
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