Wednesday, April 7, 2021, Toronto, ON – “JDRF Canada applauds this week’s provincial government announcements out of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, which are expanding access to insulin pumps and continuous and flash glucose monitoring devices for those living with type 1 diabetes,” says Dave Prowten, president and CEO, JDRF Canada.
In the budget announced Tuesday on April 6th, Saskatchewan committed to creating a new program which will cover the costs of continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) and flash glucose monitors (Flash GMs) up to age 18 and expand the Saskatchewan Insulin Pump Program to all ages. Said Dustin Halvorson, parent of a child with type 1 diabetes: “Our family is so happy to see the provincial government follow through with their promise to expand coverage for individuals and families living with type 1 diabetes. This week’s announcement shows we’re being heard and that those who have the burden of monitoring their blood sugar levels minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day are going to have access to technology to help them live easier, healthier, safer lives moving forward.”
Manitoba announced Wednesday that it will begin covering CGMs up to age 25 and will expand coverage under the Manitoba Pediatric Insulin Pump Program by changing the age limit on eligibility from under 18 to under 25. Manitoba and Saskatchewan join the Yukon as the only three Canadian provinces or territories to cover CGMs. Ontario and Quebec cover Flash GMs for some with type 1 diabetes.
As for insulin pumps, British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, the territories and now Saskatchewan cover pumps for all ages. With today’s announcement, all other provinces, except Quebec, cover until age 25. Quebec is now the sole remaining province that stops coverage for insulin pumps at age 18.
“With type 1 diabetes care having gone online as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, technologies such as continuous and flash glucose monitoring are becoming more and more important as they’re helping to drive the transition to virtual and remote care. As well, moving the age limit to age 25 for insulin pumps will help young Manitobans transition from pediatric to adult care and use these important and evolving technologies. We’re grateful for the Manitoba government’s efforts to expand access for Manitobans with type 1 diabetes,” says Dr. Nick Hajidiacos, JDRF board member, internal medicine specialist and parent of a child with type 1 diabetes.
For Canadians living with type 1 diabetes, self-management is accomplished through careful measurement of blood glucose and administration of insulin. CGMs and Flash GMs rely on sensors attached to the body which measure glucose in the interstitial fluid just below the skin, replacing the traditional finger prick method. The glucose reading is sent to the screen of a reader device, a smartphone or an insulin pump, providing users with an up-to-date reading of glucose every few minutes – readings which help the user calculate insulin dosage. These devices can also include alarms that alert the user and/or their caregivers if blood sugar levels are rising or dropping rapidly and require urgent action.
Studies show that use of diabetes technologies such as insulin pumps, CGMs and Flash GMs help improve self-management of diabetes, including important measures such as overall blood glucose (HbA1C) and time in target range (TIR), keeping more people out of hospital.
“Without government support, many adults and children living with diabetes will continue to struggle to manage the cost, or worse, be forced to make do with inferior and out-of-date technology,” adds Prowten. “This will only increase the divide between those who can and those who cannot afford these technologies. We’re urging all provinces to move forward with similar measures to increase access to the technology Canadians need to manage their type 1 diabetes.”
JDRF credits the grassroots efforts of parent groups in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, as well as medical students at the University of Saskatchewan, for elevating the need for provincial coverage for diabetes technologies.
Improving access to advanced glucose monitoring devices and insulin pumps for all Canadians living with type 1 diabetes is the goal of JDRF’s Access for All campaign. Type 1 diabetes devices help those living with the disease better self manage it, leading to improved health outcomes and better quality of life.
To learn more about JDRF’s #AccessForAll campaign check out jdrf.ca/accessforall.
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