Guest Post: Chris Clement on Why #DiabetesAccessMatters

We will be sharing stories about access and the issues patients have encountered in getting the diabetes supplies, medications, and services they need. Chris Clement of Diabetic Ink,  gives his thoughts and comments about access and technology by sharing his story.

ChrisClementLiving with type 1 diabetes for 19 years (this week) I have seen a lot of diabetes technology innovation. I’ve used numerous glucose meters, a few different insulin pumps, various types of insulin, and now a CGM for the past year. Each time I am able to choose new tech to manage diabetes I see a significant improvement in my health. On the other hand, there are times when I have no choice, and I am left to figure out how to navigate around the speed bumps, attempting to adjust my medications or tools with the least amount of disruption. It’s discouraging and affects every aspect of the already-difficult journey.

Diabetes technology works best when it can reduce worry, human error, and blood sugar fluctuations. Innovators have found ways to combine technologies like glucose meters or constant glucose monitors that can talk to an insulin pump. Some pumps have settings that protect users and help individuals get the best possible results. Innovators find gaps in blood sugar management and fill them with solutions. The results can make a world of difference for our daily life and our health outcomes.

Choice in Technology

The problem is that people can be so different from one another. We don’t all have the same needs, we don’t all have the same gaps, we don’t all have the same lifestyle. It is so important to have a choice in technology that will best support our individual lives and needs.

The reality is that doctors, pharmacists, tech innovators, and insurance companies do not manage our diabetes. We do.

It’s Up To Us

It’s up to us to stay alive and to live well. It’s up to us to feed this complicated beast every single day. And yet it seems that the more great tools become available, the more red tape and restrictions are raised.

When I received my CGM a year ago my life changed quickly. My A1c dropped from 8.5 to 6.8 in three months. Improvements like this are common. But so is restriction to this technology. The battle to obtain coverage or even continued coverage of what is working best adds so much strain it nearly cancels the desire to fight for it. And yet, we fight because we have seen the results, we have found our individual paths, we know what we need in order to live well.

But, now we are seeing a new dilemma emerging. Alliances between insurers and providers, I believe, are the beginning of a dangerous new normal that further limits access to the treatments that we have grown to rely on for our health. These agreements can cause distress for the individuals that rely on these treatments and threaten to erode much of the progress that has been made for people with chronic conditions. It is very important to take a stand now. Share your story and strengthen the collective.

As has been stated by many diabetes advocates: We didn’t choose diabetes, but we should be able to choose how we manage our diabetes.

access_™ 612x300If you would like to share your story about access and why #diabetesaccessmatters to you and your family, please do so here. Our voices and our stories are powerful. Share yours.

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