Beyond Insulin: Medi-Cal Expands Patient Access to Diabetes Supplies

by | Nov 17, 2023 | Health

LOS ANGELES — June Voros sprang from her couch as a high-pitched beep warned her that she needed a quick dose of sugar.

Her blood sugar was plummeting, and the beep came from a continuous glucose monitor attached to her abdomen. The small but powerful device alerts Voros when her blood sugar is dangerously high or low.

“My blood sugar is at 64. It’s too low and still dropping,” Voros, 32, said on a bright October afternoon. She checks the monitor up to 80 times a day to help prevent complications from Type 1 diabetes.

But the monitor means little without the supplies that make it work, including a receiver, a sensor, and a transmitter — some of which must be replaced every 10 to 30 days. Voros also has an insulin pump, which delivers a steady supply of that hormone to her body, and it requires supplies too.

Until recently, Voros — who is covered by Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program for people with low incomes or disabilities — spent countless hours on the phone with her endocrinologists, her Medi-Cal insurer Health Net, and a medical supply company to obtain separate approvals for each item. At times, her authorizations expired too quickly, leaving her short on supplies and forcing her to ration and seek donations on social media from other diabetes patients.

Last year, she received only enough supplies to last six months.

“I’ve had to put in …

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