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[IP] Today's NYTImes re Medicare and Pumps
>From today's NYTimes.Com
Financing Insulin Pumps for Diabetics
The Federal agency that oversees Medicare has decided to cover insulin
infusion pumps, which help diabetics maintain blood sugar levels. But
the approval covers only Type I, or juvenile diabetes, which affects
just 5 percent to 10 percent of the estimated 16 million Americans with
In announcing its decision last week, the Health Care Financing
Administration said the pumps, which deliver insulin through a catheter
under the skin of the abdomen or hip, had not yet been shown to be
effective for Type II, or adult-onset, diabetes, the most common form.
But the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, which
represents doctors who specialize in diabetes, said it hoped that as
more evidence accumulated, continuous insulin pumps would be covered for
certain cases of Type II diabetes.
Pump users have significantly fewer diabetic complications like heart
and kidney disease, nerve damage or impaired vision than people with
diabetes who continue to use syringe therapy, the group says. Diabetes
of all types is responsible for billions of dollars in direct medical
costs and lost productivity each year.
The health care administration said making the insulin pump available to
Medicare beneficiaries would improve the quality of their lives.
"The infusion pump offers them a choice to better control their
condition so that they are more active and productive," said the
agency's deputy administrator, Michael Hash.
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