Monthly Archives: February 2019

Are you okay with this?

Monday, United Healthcare and Medtronic went one step further on their “preferred agreement” to make the Medtronic 670g the lone insulin pump choice they will approve of without a fight.

Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has now approved the 670g for use with patients age 7 and older, now it’s the only one you can get for anyone 7 or older unless you work with your doctor to submit forms and do things that, under other plans, you wouldn’t have to do to get a new pump.

I wish I could say it in a nicer way. I have friends working at Medtronic, and friends insured by UHC.

I don’t know antitrust law. But… the largest insurer in America linking up with the largest insulin pump maker in America to effectively shut out all other insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor competition? Is anyone, at either UHC or Medtronic, benefiting from this agreement? In what way? How much?

Everyone I’ve spoken to who has used the 670g likes it. I’ve rarely heard anything negative. But shouldn’t patients be allowed to choose what they want to wear every day anyway? If they are allowed, pending certain requirements being met, to choose a different option, why should there be an agreement in the first place?

United Healthcare is fond of saying that over 90 percent of their patients with diabetes who choose insulin pumps already choose Medtronic. That’s disingenuous, because they’re effectively forcing patients to choose the 670g anyway.

Meanwhile, Medtronic has a goal of dominating the market. Until these United Healthcare agreements came into play, I believed it was because they were convinced they had a best-in-class product.

If you believe you have a best-in-class product, why work so hard to squeeze off opportunity for your competitors? It’s clear to see the detrimental effect this will have to Tandem and Dexcom, as well as any new entities working on closed loop solutions here in the USA and around the world.

There is more money to be made on pumps and CGMs in the United States than anywhere else. Medtronic seems to be doing its best to get the most of that market for themselves. Not through competition, but rather by stifling it.

United Healthcare is getting its own benefits from whatever it gets from Medtronic, the ability to streamline paperwork and approvals for 90 percent of pump and CGM patients, and the framework for similar agreements affecting patients living with other conditions.

Do you feel like this is unfair? Do you feel People With Diabetes should be able to freely choose to use any device that works best for them?
Send your e-mail to United Healthcare telling them this is wrong
Thanks to JDRF and their #Coverage2Control initiative for the link.

If you’re a person living with diabetes, or a person caring for someone living with diabetes, there is absolutely no good reason for a decision like this to be allowed to go forward without a fight.

Transitioning into year 29

It dawned on me over the weekend… Last week, I hit the 28th anniversary of my diabetes diagnosis. Given the fact that I’m 56, nearly 57, I’ve now lived about half of my life with this condition.

I have to be honest. I’m just too busy these days to consider the impact of another diaversary. There is too much going on in my personal and professional life to spend much time worrying, celebrating, or even contemplating what 28 years means.

Just reading that gives me the willies. But I’m working on it. I’ve been telling close friends that I’m working on unspooling my life over the next year or two.

My schedule is just wound too tight right now. It’s too full of things I don’t get joy from, and not full enough of things that make me feel good. So… unspooling is an operative word for me right now.

I don’t know what the end game of that looks like. But I’m not afraid of it either. It will probably involve transitions, and will probably involve things that I’m not involved in right now. But the focus is: more joy, less meh.

This isn’t just about diabetes advocacy. It’s about everything. I’m not spending enough time with friends and family. I’m not enjoying my time off enough. I’m not challenging myself anymore… I’m just checking off the boxes.

I think the positive thing is that I’m in a good place with my diabetes. My numbers are good. I have to choose a new insulin pump in the next nine or ten months, but I’m not too worried about that. I’ve come to grips with the everyday CGM ups and downs, and I’m okay with that too.

As a result, I think I’m starting to consider what the next phase of my life will look like. I’m not in the next phase yet, but instead of living in the moment (or even worse, living in the past), I’m actually looking forward, and I like what I see in the future.

The passage of time isn’t always bad. We learn from what we’ve experienced, and we can certainly look back and say 1) I’m glad I lived through it; and 2) I’m glad I don’t have to go through that again.

And it informs what we do going forward, hopefully in a most positive way. I like how year 29 of my diabetes is shaping up. Watch this space for more in the coming months!

Welcome to February #SpareaRose

Welcome to February. Welcome to Spare a Rose, Save a Child.

In over 50 countries around the world, children diagnosed with diabetes are in serious need of insulin… meters and test strips… basic diabetes education. In the countries they live in, money and resources are also hard to come by.

That’s where the International Diabetes Federation’s Life for a Child program steps in. Thanks to your life-sustaining donation to the Spare a Rose, Save a Child campaign, these children have a chance.

Now until Valentine’s Day, February 14, do the simple math: the value of one rose you might buy for a loved one (about $5 USD) can help to save the life of a child for an entire month. That’s a very measurable way to consider the impact of your important donation.

What your donation means is that in places where diabetes is a critical diagnosis for a child, kids are provided with insulin; meters, test strips, and lancets; diabetes education; and even diabetes training for local medical staff.

Click on the giving link and donate today:

Don’t forget to share the giving link with your friends at work, at school, and on social media too.

Spare one rose this Valentine’s Day, save a life of a deserving child for an entire month. Spare a dozen roses and save a life for an entire year.

There are a lot of things we can’t do. We can’t cure this disease all by ourselves. What we can do, one by one, is make a contribution that will make all the difference in the world for a child who might face quite a bleak future without our intervention.

Spare a Rose this February. Save a life. And… Thank You.

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