The Government of Prince Edward Island recently announced a new Glucose Sensor Program giving Islanders living with diabetes access to Glucose Sensor Technology at a reduced cost through local P.E.I. Pharmacies.
“This is a significant step towards helping Islanders living with diabetes who need insulin to make individual management decisions based on their clinical needs,” says Ashley Bergwerff, Director of Advocacy for Diabetes Canada. “We applaud the government and local advocates for leading the way in Atlantic Canada by providing individuals with diabetes greater access to technologies that are proven to help people better manage their blood glucose, avoid medical emergencies and reduce the risk of diabetes complications.”
Glucose monitoring has the potential to improve blood sugar management and quality of life for people living with diabetes, resulting in physical, social, emotional, and functional benefits. The P.E.I. Glucose Sensor Program covers two types of glucose monitoring: 1. real-time continuous glucose monitoring (rtCGM), and 2. intermittently-scanned continuous glucose monitoring (isCGM).
An rtCGM system includes a small disposable glucose sensor with a filament inserted under the skin, often on the person’s stomach or arm. The sensor tests glucose levels every few minutes and sends this information to an attached transmitter and, generally, to a separate receiving device, such as a smartphone or external reader. The readings can then be viewed by the person living with diabetes, caregiver, or health-care provider, even remotely.
An isCGM system includes a small disposable glucose sensor with a filament inserted under the skin of a person’s upper arm. When the sensor is scanned with a separate receiving device, such as a smartphone or external reader, it transmits the glucose reading and information on the most recent 8-hour trend to the reader/app. If the person with diabetes performs at least three sensor scans per day, at approximately 8-hour intervals, the isCGM can record 24- hour glucose profiles.
“As an Islander living with type 1 diabetes, this is welcome news as it helps support individual diabetes management choice, regardless of age,” says Brooks Roche, Manager of Patient Knowledge & Connection with Diabetes Canada.
Choosing the right device is a personal decision, based on discussions between the person living with diabetes, their caregivers, and their diabetes health-care team. Diabetes Canada recommends that people with diabetes who would derive clinical benefit from glucose monitoring systems should have access to them to improve glycemic management. These devices give people with diabetes a more complete picture of their blood sugar management than the moment-in-time snapshot that comes from intermittent finger-prick testing and can therefore lead to better short- and long-term treatment decisions and health outcomes.
“Public coverage of glucose monitoring devices is inconsistent across Canada,” says Bergwerff. “The new program on PEI benefits people with type 1 diabetes and some people with type 2 diabetes and we hope to see anyone using insulin included in the program in the future. Eliminating all barriers to accessing evidence-based treatments is critical and I hope this is also reflected in the province’s Insulin Pump Program as soon as possible.”
This announcement is an important first step and Diabetes Canada will continue to advocate for the coverage for all people living with diabetes who require insulin and the removal of financial barriers to access glucose monitoring programs. Diabetes Canada also hopes this sends a signal to other governments to follow P.E.I.’s lead by introducing a policy that can help improve the quality of life for those living with diabetes.
More information about the new Program is available on the government website at this link.
Diabetes on Prince Edward Island
Currently, there are 50,000 Islanders living with diabetes or prediabetes. The direct cost to the healthcare system is $19 million this year and expected to increase to $23 million by 2032.
About Diabetes Canada
A world free of the effects of diabetes is our vision. That’s why we’re working together to improve the quality of life of people living with diabetes. We’re sharing knowledge and creating connections for individuals and the health-care professionals who care for them; advocating through public policy; and funding research to improve treatments and find a cure to end diabetes.
For more information, visit diabetes.ca or call 1-800-BANTING (226-8464).
Category Tags: Advocacy & Policy;