On May 20th & 21st I joined 50 other diabetes educators representing 26 states in Washington, DC at the 2013 Public Policy Forum. Our sessions included one day of training and going to Capitol Hill the next day. I was very impressed by the training that we received. When we went to Capitol Hill to present our mission we were equipped to present our case with confidence. This was a new experience for me going to Capitol Hill to meet legislators, and traveling alone was definitely out of my comfort zone. But I made it and the experience has been one I won't forget. The opportunity presented itself for me to dine with the leadership of our organization one evening. We enjoyed great conversation with each other and it was great to put faces with names. Congresswoman Diana DeGette spoke at our breakfast meeting before we went to Capitol Hill. While getting off the elevator to go to Congressman Mulvaney’s office our path crossed with him getting on another elevator.
In the US there are 26 million people with diabetes and SC is ranked fourth in the nation. In SC there were over 416,000 people with diabetes in 2011 which makes our cause even more critical. The current bills in the House and Senate are H. R. 1274 and S. 945, respectively; the Access to Quality Diabetes Education Act of 2013. If passed, Certified Diabetes Educators would be recognized as Medicare providers for outpatient Diabetes Self-Management Training (DSMT). The average Medicare cost savings per month per patient is $135 for those beneficiaries who complete DSMT. Evidence supports the effectiveness of self management training in people with type 2 diabetes.
What can you do to help?
- Contact your Congressman regarding H. R. 1274 Access to Quality Diabetes Education Act of 2013
- Contact your Senator regarding S. 945 Access to Quality Diabetes Education Act of 2013.
- Visit your AADE Advocacy page to view current bills and contact your Representatives regarding them by phone, letter, or email.
We need to fight for better access. One thing I learned through my experience is that my voice counts and needs to be heard. Our representatives work for us and they only know about issues when they hear that many others in their community are concerned about a certain issue. If your passion is for diabetes, each time a bill is presented then let your voice be known. I believe that we accomplished what we aimed to accomplish on Capitol Hill on May 21st. I reiterate if you have not contacted your Congressman and/or Senator do it today and ask them to co-sponsor H. R. 1274 and S. 945, respectively. Click on this link to take action! http://www.diabeteseducator.org/PolicyAdvocacy/Federal_x_State_Legislation.html
Annie Littlejohn, BSN, RN, CDE