Diabetes Canada concerned with absence of a commitment to reducing the personal and economic burden of diabetes in the province.
On March 16, the provincial budget was tabled in the legislature by Finance Minister Joe Ceci. Unfortunately, the budget did not include funding to improve access to the blood glucose test strips required by people with diabetes to assist with managing their blood sugar levels and prevent devastating complications including kidney failure, heart attack, stroke, blindness and amputation.
“This news is extremely concerning for Diabetes Canada as Albertans have been advocating to the government to make this important investment, which would enhance overall diabetes management and at the same time present cost-savings to the province’s health-care system,” says Scott McRae, regional director for Alberta and Northwest Territories with Diabetes Canada. “Diabetes is a lifelong disease, and those who live with it shouldn’t have to make the choice between purchasing their diabetes supplies or putting food on the table.”
Currently, Albertans living with type 1 diabetes and managing with multiple daily injections of insulin and many with type 2 diabetes have inadequate access to self-monitoring blood glucose test strips. “Compared to other provinces, Alberta falls short in its support to these individuals and does not meet Diabetes Canada’s minimum suggested public reimbursement quantities to adequately self-manage,” says Joan King, government relations and advocacy lead for Alberta.
The burden of diabetes is rapidly increasing in Alberta, impacting over a million people and costing our health-care system millions of dollars. The government of Alberta must commit to immediate and ongoing action to help Albertans to self-manage their diabetes. The longer the government postpones their commitment, the greater the personal and economic burdens will become. “We need to get a handle on the diabetes epidemic or our emergency rooms and hospitals will be full of people requiring acute care as a result of years of poorly managed blood sugar,” says McRae.
Albertans with diabetes who do not have other coverage need to be able to rely on public support for self-monitoring blood glucose test strips in order to help manage this complicated disease.
Diabetes Canada is also advocating to the government of Alberta to establish a mandatory provincial standard of care to ensure consistent and appropriate care of students with type 1 diabetes. The standards should be in-line with Diabetes Canada’s Guidelines for the Care of Students Living with Diabetes at School and the Canadian Paediatric Society’s position statement on Managing type 1 diabetes in school: Recommendations for policy and practice.
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