August 18, 2012

New Diabetes Legislation A Benefit for Whom?

What is this that has people going gaga and experts trying to get their names out in front to be part of a new commission? It seems a yet to be passed congressional legislation is to blame. First it will have to be passed by the House and Senate and be signed by the President. Chances seem average for this to happen, but probably not until after the election. In a letter from my congressional representative, he stated that it was highly doubtful anything would happen in the current year. Once again, patients are not called upon to serve and lend their voices.

If passed, it will establish the National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission (NDCCC). Under the Senate version, the NDCCC will include diabetes experts and other health care providers who work directly with diabetes patients. Also included will be patient advocates and representatives from the federal agencies most involved in diabetes care activities. Yet unknown is the actual number of commission members. Hopefully, non-government members will out number government members.

If passed, the NDCCC will have the responsibility of evaluating current federal quality improvement initiatives and identify redundant and ineffective policies. The NDCCC will also determine which policies are effective, if any. The commission will make recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and to the Congress on new approaches and the consolidation of existing operations. The claim is made that this will help leverage the federal investment in diabetes research. Past leverages of diabetes research has reduced the number of test strips people with diabetes are allowed to be reimbursed for so I have doubts that this will improve patient outcomes or reduce to burden of diabetes.

The act is endorsed by the major diabetes organizations, including the Pediatric Endocrine Society, the Endocrine Society, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and the American Diabetes Association, in addition to the AACE and JDRF. You have to know that these groups want to have representatives on the commission. These groups are rule and guideline oriented and will do nothing to enhance to patients' position and lend efficiency to the government agencies. Everything will be aimed at the average patient and nothing will be done for the individual differences and providing assistance for patients that vary outside the “norm”.

Tom Ross at notmedicatedyet has an excellent blog about this topic. Even with his forewarning, I was not able to get any information from the site that he had a problem with even though I tried to get it to print. I will only add that what I was able to read was interesting.

This piece of congressional legislation will be of benefit only to those who serve and will do nothing for the patient population to prevent diabetes or assist those already having diabetes. If it is passed, it will not be of benefit for those needing help, only the rule and guideline makers who serve on the commission. Once again, the patients that are needing a voice in our government will be left wanting.

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