Do the right thing – WA state HTA will cover strips after all
When I first heard that the Washington state HTA (Health Technology Assessment) committee wanted to limit T1 kids on WA state Medicaid and public employee health insurance to just a few glucose testing strips a day (because testing more frequently leads to “depression”), I was floored. Seriously?! When you leave the hospital after a T1 diagnosis, you’re sent home with instructions to test blood sugar 8-12 times a day, and every 15 minutes when you’re fighting seriously low blood sugar. Incorrect dosing of insulin is one of the highest causes of preventable hospital injuries, even with blood sugar testing – to limit testing to a few times a day isn’t far off from a death sentence. “Depression” just comes with the territory!
Happily, the HTA just decided to cover unlimited testing strips and conditional coverage of CGMs. The vendor they’d hired to research the effectiveness of glucose testing had apparently concluded that there was no “clinical” evidence to support the value of glucose testing – no studies had ever been done with a control group of kids not doing glucose testing. Dr. Hirsch from the University of Washington dryly pointed out that this sort of testing hadn’t been done, because it would be unethical – it would most likely kill the control group. A full roster came out to testify, including one of this year’s JDRF Beat the Bridge Ambassadors, Dr. Hirsch (UW Prof. of Endocrinology), Dr. Mauseth and other pediatric endocrinologists, industry advocacy, adults with T1 and parents of children with T1.
This is great, not just for WA state residents with state health insurance, but for everyone with T1 – this decision was being watched by insurance companies across the country. Bullet dodged, for now!