Lucky 13


I recently marked a rather unusual anniversary. As of late August, I have had Type 1 diabetes for 13 long, finger-pricking, needle-sticking years. Thirteen years of carb counting and insurance co-pays. Thirteen years since I drank lemonade or had sugar in my coffee. 

But, if I woke up tomorrow without diabetes, I wouldn't change a thing, because it's not all bad. For example, I rarely catch a cold which I attribute to good nutrition.  

And I don't sweat the small stuff. After all, things can always get worse. When I was diagnosed, it was right before I took the helm of my college newspaper and the first thing I asked the doctor (in the ICU no less) was, "Will I still be able to edit the Free Press?"

I am not such a workaholic anymore, but it's good that, all these years later, I work for a publication that covers, to a certain extent, health care, especially the specialty providers section that I manage. I have a special affinity for issues that impact diabetes supply providers because I know that what impacts them, impacts the patients. 

And there's several issues right now that have me concerned: IR for testing supplies (note to CMS: If providers can't afford to offer them, they will be harder to get).

I don't like the push toward mail order, either, whether its goverment or private pay doing the pushing. Mail order is great for people who want it, and I know several great providers who do mail order, but it should be the patient's choice.

I also don't like the proliferation of companies vying for Medicare beneficiaries with their offers of "free supplies" and free cookbooks. Nothing is ever really free. CMS is in the process of sending letters to bennies who are getting their supplies from three(!) or more suppliers. What a waste of money that is spent on those supplies, that go unused, that could be redirected elsewhere. 

Don't even get me started on competitive bidding.

Theresa Flaherty
Type 1 diabetes
13 years