Replay – Ask an Expert: Coordinating Federal Policy

DPAC is proud to present distinguished endocrinologist and passionate advocate for coordinated diabetes policy: Dr. George Grunberger, MD, FACP, FACE. Dr. Grunberger will talk about how Coordinating Federal Policy

About Dr. Grunberger

Dr. Grunberger is a medical school professor, serves on FDA committees, chaired the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) 2014 Consensus Conference on Glucose Monitoring, serves as current AACE president, and perhaps most significantly, still sees patients in clinical practice. That description only scratches the surface of his experience. You can read his full bio here.

He understands the patient experience with fractured diabetes agencies. It is an understatement to say that Dr. Grunberger is an expert.

Coordinating Federal Policy

We proudly present Dr. Grunberger sharing his unique perspective on how to improve the role of the many federal agencies that impact diabetes. Recorded as part of the Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition’s Ask An Expert series on February 23, 2016. Click here to play the webinar with Dr Grunberger.

Why Should You Be a DPAC Insider

Being a DPAC Insider gives you all of the tools and information you need to be the best diabetes policy advocate you can be. DPAC makes it easy to keep policy makers’ attention on people with diabetes by giving you the diabetes advocacy “easy button!”

As a DPAC Insider you will have access to the following items:

Tips for Holding Policymakers Accountable

Setting up a meeting or speaking with your elected officials may seem overwhelming. We have put together tools and tips that will make it easier for you to communicate with them. This line of communication will help keep them accountable for diabetes related legislation. As a DPAC Insider, you will receive these tips directly to your inbox to help make you the best diabetes advocate you can be.

Legislation to Help People with Diabetes In One Place

Unless you stay up to date with everything that happens on Capitol Hill, then you may not be aware of new legislation that is being discussed. Let us do that for you! You will receive notifications about any new legislation or updates to current legislation that will help benefit people with diabetes. With this information, you will be able to send letters, emails, tweets, etc. to your elected officials.


You will receive invitations to our monthly Ask An Expert Series directly into your email. With DPAC’s Ask An Expert, you’ll get the inside scoop about a particular issue that is important in diabetes and ways to help influence policy makers. As a DPAC Insider, you will be one of the first to know of any upcoming guests and topics.

DPAC Scorecard

The best way to make things easy and simple for you is to provide you the best tools available. As a DPAC Insider, you will receive access to our full advocacy toolset. The DPAC Scorecard shows you where Members of the US Congress stand on legislation that will help people with diabetes in one easy place. (How do your representatives score on diabetes issues? You might be surprised!) Best of all, you can take action right from the Scorecard.

Take Action With One ClickDPACActNowBubble

As a DPAC Insider, you will receive urgent call to actions that require your help. For example, if new legislation is introduced that will benefit people with diabetes, we will need your help in contacting your elected officials in order to make them fully aware of this new legislation. As a DPAC Insider, you can click and send your support (or concern) quickly and easily.

Join DPAC today to become a DPAC Insider!

Diabetes Advocacy: Keeping It Simple

Diabetes policy advocacy can seem overwhelming when you think about all that goes into it. You may have preconceived notions as to why you aren’t involved. At DPAC, we get this.

We understand.

And now, we’re outlining the top five reasons why we thought we couldn’t “do” diabetes policy advocacy – and then what we did to change those perceptions:

1.) I don’t have the time to commit to something that big.

Being a diabetes advocate can be done in less than a few minutes a day. Using the Act Now tab at the DPAC website to send a message to your policymaker, reading a post on an issue important to the diabetes community, sharing your thoughts in social media will all help raise awareness about diabetes policy advocacy.

You do what you can. No one is asking you to chuck your job and go on the road, stumping daily for diabetes awareness or reimbursement. No one is asking you to spend your days in a suit, waiting in corridors to spend a few minutes with an aide for your Congressperson. Pick what is important to you, but don’t do nothing. You can make a difference in a few minutes per day.

2.) I have no clue where to begin.

That’s why DPAC was founded. We wanted to make diabetes policy advocacy simple and create a place where you can go, get the information about what’s important, and then take action. Click on the Issues or Act Now tabs on DPAC’s website. You can choose an action right now and complete it in less than two minutes. That’s how easy diabetes advocacy can be with the Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition.

(We also recommend the ADA’s great primer if you have no idea where to begin.)

3.) I’m not going to make a difference.

Think so? You do. Every letter that is written, every call that is made, every tweet, every visit raises awareness of what diabetes is, how it impacts us, and what we need to be healthy. We saw the difference over 300 of us made when we voiced our comments on the accuracy of blood glucose meters to the FDA. Can you imagine what 3,000 comments could do? 30,000?

The only way that you are not going to make a difference is if you do nothing. If you do something, anything at all, it will make a difference. A letter, a phone call, a Tweet, a Like, a Share, every action you take helps raise awareness of what diabetes is and how it impacts the lives of not only those who live with the disease, but the people that surround them.

Every time you share the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, or explain what insulin does, or why you can eat that donut, you are advocating for diabetes awareness. Want to rattle off some statistics? Easy. Here is the full list, but you can memorize this one from the CDC:

If current trends continue, 1 of 3 U.S. adults will have Type 2 diabetes by 2050.

So, be the start of advocacy by starting to do something.

4.) I’m too shy.

If speaking in front of people is not your thing, no problem. You don’t have to speak. You can write a letter, write an article to be submitted to your local newspaper, write a blog post, a Tweet, a Facebook status update… gosh, you don’t even have to advocate for diabetes policy! Put a walk team together to help raise funds for research – anything else that doesn’t require speaking.

Don’t think that you have to be front and center and advertise about your advocacy. People who advocate “behind the scenes” do important things.

5.) I might say something stupid.

The only thing that would be stupid, is not saying or doing anything at all.

Find out what your passion is about diabetes. Ask yourself:

“What bothers me the most about diabetes?”

Got your answer? Good. That’s your passion.

From there, you can then Google additional information and learn the facts. You may also come across others in the diabetes community that share this passion. Reach out to those people and ask what you can do.

If you want to change the status quo, create a change within your passion, you need to take action for yourself. Your passion may not be everyone else’s passion, so act on what matters to you.

Start right now:

When it comes to diabetes policy advocacy, DPAC believes in keeping it simple. We think that’s the fastest and easiest way to advocate.

Excerpts and concepts used with permission from the article: The KISS of Diabetes Advocacy at

Replay: Ask An Expert: Risk of Virus Transmission in Healthcare Settings Due To Diabetes Supplies

DPAC Ask An Expert: Dr. Pamela Allweiss MD, MPH- Risk of Virus Transmission in Healthcare Settings Due to Diabetes Supplies


Dr. Pamela Allweiss, MD, MPH, Medical Officer for the Division of Diabetes Translation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) joined DPAC in January to discuss the risks of virus transmission in healthcare settings (hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities) in the United States.

Healthcare-associated infections (HAI) are a serious threat to even the healthiest patients; people with diabetes are at higher risk than the general population. Did you know that there have been recent outbreaks of Hepatitis B in healthcare settings because of improper infection protocol and diabetes supplies?

During this presentation, you will learn more about why this is happening in our healthcare system, listen to questions posed at the live event, and discover how you can mitigate these risks and ways to engage your state policymakers to enforce infection control protocols.

Listen to this free online presentation here. 

Replay: Ask An Expert: Risks of Medicare Competitive Bidding

DPAC Ask An Expert: Dr. Gary Puckrien, PHD – Risk of Medicare Competitive Bidding



Dr. Gary Puckrein, Ph.D of the National Minority Quality Forum kicked off our new presentation series, Ask An Expert, with a closer look on the negative impact of Medicare’s Competitive Bidding Program for people with diabetes.

What did we learn? Increased deaths, increased hospitalizations, and increased costs.

If you missed the live presentation, we’ve got it archived so you can watch it by clicking here! 


Links & resources on Medicare Bidding

DPAC Blog Post on Bidding


Quality Diabetes Education

ACT NOW: Save lives and reduce cost with broader access to educators.

One policy step to reducing the burden of diabetes, improving health outcomes and lowering costs is improved access to diabetes education. Diabetes education can be enhanced by increasing the pool of providers and bringing the benefit in line with new recommendations on critical times for diabetes education. Ask your Congress Members to support Access to Quality Diabetes Education Act of 2015 (S. 1345 / HR 1726).

It is one policy step to reducing the burden of diabetes, improving health outcomes and lowering costs is improved access to diabetes education. Diabetes education can be enhanced by increasing the pool of providers and bringing the benefit in line with new recommendations on critical times for diabetes education

Diabetes self-management education (DSME) is reimbursable under Medicare. However, Certified Diabetes Educators are not recognized as a provider by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. Diabetes education is an underutilized benefit. There is evidence that diabetes education can save health care costs over time.

Living with successfully diabetes requires complex lifestyle changes, monitoring and in many cases medication. Education is key to making healthy changes. Encouraging referrals, more cost-effective providers and broader educational interventions at critical times can help change the lives of 30 million Americans with diabetes.

Sadly researchers at the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) 2015 annual meeting in Boston reported that diabetes education underused. The ADA researchers said in a statement that “for people to learn the skills necessary to be effective self-managers, DSME is critical in laying the foundation with ongoing support to maintain gains made during education. Despite proven benefits and general acceptance, the numbers of patients who are referred to and receive DSME are disappointingly small.”

“It’s horrifying, what we’re not doing in education.” said David Marrero, Ph.D., ADA president of healthcare and education and professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.

The new recommendation identifies four critical times when a patient may need consultation with a diabetes educator:
* At diagnosis
* On an annual basis
* When new complicating factors influence self-management, such as a new health problem
* When there is a transition in care

Keep Care Settings Infection Free

ACT NOW: Write State Officials to Keep Care Settings Infection Free

Assisted blood glucose monitoring in long-term care facilities, clinic, and hospitals is sadly a primary source of blood-borne virus disease transmission. Between 1990 and 2008, there were 18 hepatitis B virus infection outbreaks in the United States that were associated with the improper use of blood glucose monitoring equipment. 147 people acquired hepatitis B. Six of those patients died.

Unfortunately, preventable outbreaks are still occurring due to breaches in infection control policies. Recently an outbreak of Hepatitis B was attributed to improper assisted blood glucose monitoring in Pennsylvania.

Each state has its own public health processes. Ask your Governor and state legislators to make sure your state public health offices are following CDC guidelines for infection control and enforcing the policies created to safeguard patients and healthcare personnel.

CDC recommended practices for preventing blood-borne pathogen transmission during glucose monitoring in healthcare settings include:

– Lancet/fingerstick devices should never be used for more than one person. (Single disposable lancet devices are recommended for assisted blood glucose monitoring.) The shared use or re-use of these devices is one of the common root causes of exposure and infection when multiple persons require blood glucose monitoring assistance.
– Whenever possible, blood glucose meters should not be shared.  If they must be shared, the device should be cleaned and disinfected after every use, per manufacturer’s instructions.  If the manufacturer does not specify how the device should be cleaned and disinfected then it should not be shared.
– Insulin pens and other medication cartridges and syringes are for single-patient-use only and should never be used for more than one person.
– Hand hygiene protocols must be consistently followed: gloves must be worn during assisted blood glucose monitoring and must be changed between patient contacts or touching a contaminated surface/open finger-stick wound, hand washing with soap and water or hands rubbed thoroughly with an alcohol-based hand rub must be completed immediately after removing gloves and before touching medical supplies intended for use by another person.
– Provide a full HBV vaccination series to all previously unvaccinated staff persons who may come in contact with blood during activities and to patients with diabetes.

Please make sure that the public health departments in our state are diligent in making sure these and other safety steps outlined by CDC are implemented, practiced, and enforced. These infections are preventable with your help.

We Need A Hearing on Diabetes

ACT NOW: to ask Congress for a Hearing on Diabetes.

In the five years since the last hearing on diabetes held in Congress, the number of Americans diagnosed with prediabetes has increased to 86 million, the cost of diabetes care in the U.S. has exploded to $322 billion annually, and without Congressional leadership, this epidemic will wreak financial havoc on our healthcare system.

A new hearing is needed to focus on the current untenable and unstable financial path caused by unbridled diabetes costs and explore potential legislative resolutions. There are existing bills in Congress offering savings measures to stem this epidemic with diabetes prevention programs. See our scorecard for details. There is no better time to investigate and take action.

Untangle Federal Agencies

ACT NOW: To Ask Congress members to sponsor the National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Act

Here is why:

Diabetes is a significant problem for our nation. It touches the lives of thirty million Americans. Living well with diabetes requires individuals to make healthy changes to the status quo.

The government needs to make a healthy change too. Diabetes consumes one in three Medicare dollars. Beyond Medicare, the government has responded to diabetes with efforts by more than three dozen different federal agencies. Those of us living with diabetes know these agencies can be a tangle of crossed responsibility that is a missed opportunity for communication and collaboration. Helping Americans live well with diabetes will require the government to change the status quo of agencies working alone, to a coordinated national response.

The new commission that H.R.1192 creates will focus on diabetes activities and help the federal government to better address the disease, in a fiscally responsible and effective manner. The act is budget neutral, and prior experience suggest this commission can have a significant positive impact on care. The journal “Diabetes Care,” June 1994 highlights the success of the National Diabetes Advisory Board, including the pivotal Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) that has defined modern diabetes care.

The coming years promise new device and medication innovations that can be as pivotal as DCCT. Coordinating the federal response to these innovations will help millions of Americans.

ACT NOW: Ask your elected officials to sponsor the National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Act.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring Enhances Quality Care

ACT NOW: Ask for Medicare Coverage for CGM

Access to quality diabetes care products through private insurance and Medicare is critical to living successfully with diabetes and minimizing costly complications. Join other DPAC Patient Voices in calling for access Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) and coverage processes that provide patients with the tools they need.

The cornerstone of diabetes self-management is making timely changes to manage blood glucose levels. To do that, people need access to quality blood glucose testing supplies, medications, and devices.

Medicare CGM Access Act of 2015 (S804/HR1427) are bipartisan companion bills were introduced by Senators Collins and Shaheen and Representatives Reed, DeGette and Whitfield.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring is life-saving 21-century technology that can help prevent costly hospitalization of American seniors with diabetes. CGM can save lives – and money; the average cost of an emergency room visit and subsequent hospital admission for a low blood sugar is $17,000. Medicare should join the vast majority of private insurance providers in making CGM accessible by Medicare patients. Seniors with diabetes should not lose this powerful tool when they join Medicare.

The ‘Medicare CGM Access Act of 2015’ would resolve this coverage oversight by Medicare and help pave the way for coverage of the next generation of CGM-related technologies, such as Artificial Pancreas (AP) systems.

We believe that well-controlled diabetes is the leading cause of nothing. The high cost of diabetes complications can be minimized through the immediate investment in safe and accurate tools of good care.

We believe that all patients, regardless of age or socioeconomic status, should have access to devices, including continuous glucose monitors (CGM) that can prevent immediate and long-term diabetes complications.

ACT NOW to ask your members of Congress to co-sponsor the Medicare CGM Access Act of 2015, or if one of your elected officials already has co-sponsored the bill, send them a thank you. (Don’t worry,  we’ll do the work to find out if your members of Congress have co-sponsored or not!)