I am a diabetic and test my blood sugar once daily.  This requires a glucose machine and test strips.  I  order cialis had received my equipment through the mail without problem throughout the three years I have had this condition.  Effective January 1, 2011 Medicare made changes  in how this equipment would be provided in certain areas.  (Unfortunately for me, I live in one of those areas.)  I was told I had to switch providers and given a list.  After contacting the list, I learned that none of them provided the meter I was familiar with and comfortable with. 

Being the good little sheep that I am,telephone I allowed the new provider to send out a different meter.  I immediately noticed my daily readings were higher.  Since I still had strips available from my old meter I began to double-check  the readings.  Sure enough the new meter gave a higher reading than the old one and, this is testing within seconds of each other.  I shared this information with my doctor.  She provided me with a new meter, which just happened to be the same brand as my old reliable and suggested I contact Medicare about another source for supplies.

 

That should be simple, right.  Wrong, Medicare was very helpful and informative in providing names of available vendors.  However, after many contacts, I found a vendor that provided this particular meter. The doctor submitted my prescription and lo and behold, I wasn’t ‘sick’ enough to qualify for my preferred meter (according to the vendor).  Wonderfully for me, the only medical problem I have is a well controlled case of type 2 diabetes—no neuropathy, etc.  Thus the vendor would not fill the prescription. (Although I am telling this in seconds, this process took months.)  By now, I am running out of test strips and I am concerned about being unable to test.  I contacted Medicare again.  Their representative conducted a 3-way call (Medicare, vendor, me).  The vendor again stated I had to have a statement of medical necessity from my doctor to qualify for this particular meter.  The Medicare representative said she could not find that in the Medicare guidelines.  I was about to go ahead and accept what from my point of view was an inferior meter.  The Medicare agent suggested I might want to see if I could find my meter locally (previously I had handled this by mail).  Ole, these restrictions for acceptable vendors that are in place for mail order supplies do no apply to walk-ins. 

It has taken me from February to August, many stressful phone calls, extra visits to the doctor’s office for gift supplies, to resolve an issue that could have been taken care of within the first five minutes.  The key is I didn’t know the ‘right’ questions to ask.  Here would have been the value of my having a caregiver.  That individual could have made the contacts and followed up with vendors when my supplies never arrived.  The stress I experienced from fear of running out of test equipment would have been much less.

The message here is that one must be persistent, take notes when you are handling difficult or controversial issues. (I frequently needed to validate—by using names—information.  I don’t record my phone conversations.  In fact I doubt it is legal to do so.  Do not immediately accept statements that conflict with your needs.  For whatever reasons the vendors do not want to provide a certain well known blood testing meter. I believe that as we age many of us are more likely to accept rather than challenge those who disagree with what we believe is best for us.  I say stick to your guns.  When you tire, solicit someone else to carry the battle on for you.  Persistence paid off for me.  I will be receiving the supplies I need and want.  I was ready to give up many times and wished I had someone else to fight this battle for me. Thus, the title of this article.  I believe that even those of us who are basically healthy, both physically and emotionally, at times need someone else to step in and help out.

Wishing you a healthy and happy Holiday weekend in the United States.

Theresa Newell


Category: Manage Diabetes

About the Author

Theresa was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes Fall 2009.

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