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Living with diabetes

Access to New Treatments
Posted at 7:42 AM, Nov 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-27 19:46:58-05

One in 10 Oklahomans are living with diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

There are lots of challenges when you're living with diabetes including:

  • constantly monitoring blood suger
  • dealing with what insurance will and won't cover
  • the high cost of medications
  • keeping up with new technology and treatments
  • and keeping up with how state and federal laws could affects all of the above

Megan Quickle has Type 1 diabetes and manages it with the latest technology.

"I wear an insulin pump," Quickle said. "I wear a continuous glucose monitor on my arm."

These are devices not all diabetics in Oklahoma can afford. Quickle told 2 Works for You she'd like to see that change.

"We want to make sure that every Oklahoman can access the tools they need to control either their Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes," Quickle said.

Senator Carri Hicks is on the Oklahoma Legislature's Diabetes Caucus. Hicks said, "Everyone tells us how great of a time it is to be living and managing with diabetes, because the technology that has developed is incredible. Unfortunately, most people are unable to access that level of technology because it's just far too expensive."

Or, a particular tool or type of medication that a diabetic's doctor prescribes to best treat their disease is not covered by the patient's insurance.

Dr. Brent Beasley with the OU Physicians treats Type 2 diabetes. He explains part of the problem patients experience.

"We continue to run into problems with insurance companies having contracts with the select models of glucometers," Dr. Beasley said.

Dr. Beasley said glucometers don't need to be fancy for many type two diabetics.

"Just the baseline cheapest glucometer you can find is just fine," Dr. Beasley said.

However, that isn't always the model covered. He explains, "Some insurance companies will pay for one particular brand, others will pay for another particular brand, and so quite a bit of our office time is spent trying to figure that out and help our patients get the right ones."

Dr. Beasley adds, the same goes for medications.

Quickle says Type 1 diabetic check their blood more often and need the glucometer prescribed by their doctor to best control their blood sugar. For that reason, she believes patients and their doctors should determine which medications and which glucometers and other diabetes tools to use.

"We have to be able to have that choice," Quickle said. "We have to be able to use the medications that work best for us."

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