Participants will roll giant dice to learn more about the likelihood and costs of complications and emergencies for insulin-dependent diabetics. Members of Parliament will have the opportunity to speak with adults and seniors in Manitoba who are currently experiencing or are hoping to avoid these complications.
The 2021 budget includes coverage for preventive medical devices for diabetic patients up to the age of 25, but advocates are calling for age discrimination to be removed.
Victoria Lelond, Virden resident, says: “As a mother over 25 with type 1 diabetes, continuing care is essential. In two years, I was hospitalized twice for diabetic ketoacidosis, a serious complication of type 1 diabetes. In my case, a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) would have prevented trips to the hospital. The average hospitalization costs $ 7,000, which is far more than the costs of a CGM. “
The group stresses that diabetic emergencies and complications are not uncommon. Studies show that the prevalence of retinopathy, or damage to the retina, is around 8% in patients with type 1 diabetes 3 years after diagnosis and increases to 80% after 15 years of living with the disease. The lifetime risk of kidney disease is estimated to be 50-70%, with around 30% of patients with type 1 diabetes progressing to end-stage kidney disease, requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Jen Dyck of Winkler has lived with diabetes for almost 28 years. Dyck says, “Maintaining tight blood sugar control is essential to preventing emergencies and reducing the risk of complications. Since I started using an insulin pump and CGM 5 years ago, I have had no emergency room visits and no serious hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia events leading to seizures. Our government should be happy to cover the supplies needed to save lives and reduce the huge costs of complications and hospital stays. “
Manitoba’s annual budget for dialysis is over $ 90 million. An additional $ 2.7 million was announced in the 2021 budget. Proponents point out that while dialysis costs at least $ 60,000 per year per patient, preventative devices such as CGMs are comparatively inexpensive. Manitoba Pharmacare currently spends $ 275 per month for a patient to use ten fingerprint tests per day. The price of modern flash and CGM sensors ranges from $ 217 to $ 299 per month, depending on the brand, and users experience fewer emergencies and are able to maintain lower average blood sugar levels with these devices.
During the April 8 budget debate, PC MP Janice Morley-Lecompte noted that “the continuous glucose monitor will eliminate many hospital visits…” Diabetes advocates say government should act quickly to extend coverage so that many hospital visits can be eliminated for those over 25 as well.
Group member Leah Wiebe from La Broquerie says, “My 54-year-old life is just as precious as that of a 24-year-old. There is no age limit for other vital devices such as pacemakers. “
The event will comply with current public health guidelines. Organizers are asking the public not to attend in person, but to visit their site facebook.com/MBDiabetesfundingnow to follow the event live.