Study finds access issues for insulin pumps

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

CHICAGO – Contract suppliers aren’t making insulin pumps and replacement supplies available to Medicare beneficiaries in competitive bidding areas, says the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

The AADE surveyed 29 suppliers in the nine initial CBAs to ask about the availability of specific brands and models of insulin pumps and supplies. Of those suppliers, only 17 (58%) reported carrying insulin pumps and only 18 (62%) reported carrying replacement supplies. Of those who offer insulin pumps, many carry only one brand.

“This failure to comply with the program results in limited access to necessary equipment for people with diabetes,” said James Specker, director of federal and state advocacy for AADE. “This action has significant and dramatic ramifications for Medicare spending on diabetes, as well as the health of patients who rely on insulin pumps to help manage their disease.”

CMS included insulin pumps in the external infusion pump product category as part of the Round 1 re-compete, despite the HME industry’s protests. Contract suppliers are required to provide all products in each category.

The AADE recommends that CMS enforce its requirements that suppliers make all Medicare-covered pumps and supplies available; and remove pumps and supplies from the “overly broad” external infusion pump category.