On November 4, in conjunction with Diabetes Awareness Month, the Society held a Congressional briefing to highlight what policymakers can do to improve diabetes care in the U.S. The briefing featured Ann Albright, PhD, RD, director of
the Division of Diabetes Translation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who detailed the scope of the diabetes problem, including its cost burden and future trends. Linda Siminerio, PhD, RN, chair of the National Diabetes Education Program, a joint initiative of the National Institutes of Health and CDC, discussed clinical barriers including access to diabetes self-management training, physician shortages, and the need for improved reimbursement and resources to improve care. Following these talks, Edward Damiano, PhD, principal investigator of the bionic pancreas discussed his research and the first commercial prototype of the fully integrated device known as iLet. Nicole Johnson, PhD, MPH, MA, diabetes patient advocate and Miss America 1999, also spoke at the briefing to provide policymakers with the patient’s perspective and to detail what they can do to help affect change.
Society members met with their congressional delegations during a Clinician Hill Day prior to the briefing to garner additional support for the Medicare CGM Access Act of 2015 and the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Act. The Medicare CGM Access Act of 2015 would provide Medicare coverage of continuous glucose
monitors for insulin-dependent patients with diabetes. Currently, the devices are covered by nearly 95% of all private payers. The Medicare Diabetes Prevention Act would provide coverage for the National Diabetes Prevention Program for those beneficiaries at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Society members also cited the need to hold a diabetes hearing to highlight legislative activities that could help improve diabetes care.