Prince Edward Island MLAs unanimously pass diabetes action plan motion

Ryan Ross
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Opposition motion calls for government to create long-term plan to deal with growing number of diabetes cases

Opposition house leader Hal Perry introduced a motion Tuesday calling for a long-term diabetes action plan. The motion passed unanimously.

Before he got an insulin pump, Terry Lewis had to give himself insulin injections up to six times a day.

He had to measure out the right amount of insulin and find a spot to inject in his arms, legs or even his stomach.

It’s a task Lewis said eventually leads to tissue damage in people who have to take multiple injections every day all year.

“Diabetes is not something that takes a day off,” he said.

Now, with the pump hanging at his hip delivering regimented insulin doses, Lewis’s blood sugar levels are in the normal range, helping him avoid serious complications like heart disease, kidney disease and amputations.

“It’s made a significant difference,” he said.

Lewis, who works for the the Canadian Diabetes Association, is one of more than 13,000 Islanders with diabetes and he was at Province House Tuesday to listen to an opposition motion calling for the government to develop a long-term plan to deal with the growing number of diabetes cases in P.E.I.

The motion passed unanimously.

Opposition house leader Hal Perry introduced the motion and said the overall plan for treating and preventing diabetes in P.E.I. must recognize the costs to the people involved.

“The financial burden of their treatment can often lead to a balancing act when it comes to paying their bills,” he said.

Jake Reid, government relations director for the Canadian Diabetes Association, was also at Province House to hear the motion.

Reid said insulin pumps lead to a better quality of life, they delay health issues that Type 1 diabetes causes and they save the health-care system money in the long run.

“As we can see here, not just here in P.E.I. but everywhere, health expenditures are going through the roof,” he said.

While insulin pumps are part of the issue, Reid said there are other important things the province should consider, including diabetes management and diabetes prevention.

“We need to tackle in a comprehensive way sort of prevention of diabetes, screening for diabetes so people know when they do have it or they’re nearing the warning zone of pre-diabetes and also management of that diabetes,” he said.

According to a brief the association provided the government during pre-budget consultations, diabetes will cost the provincial health-care system about $71 million this year.

That figure doesn’t include the costs to diabetics who have to cover expenses such as medications and supplies.

Although the opposition introduced the motion, Opposition Leader Steven Myers also raised the issue during Tuesday’s question period when he asked Premier Robert Ghiz when the government would start funding insulin pumps, which cost about $5,000.

The diabetes association estimates the benefits of insulin pumps would save the government about $450,000 per year by 2032.

Ghiz said he does want to see the government fund insulin pumps, but he doesn’t know when that will happen.

“It is something we believe is important and hopefully we will be able to make an announcement on that at some point.”

Ghiz said it wasn’t in the latest budget but could be implemented this year if the money becomes available.

“Or it will be one of the priorities moving into our next budget cycle,” he said.

 

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

Organizations: Canadian Diabetes Association, Province House

Geographic location: P.E.I., P.E.I.The

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  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    April 11, 2013 - 08:23

    How much does it cost if the diabetic has to be hospitalized. One average hospital stay for a few days I am sure would pay for a pump. So what is their excuse? It should not be money, because it will save money in the long run. Just like when you go to the bank, when the province wants to borrow money now the lenders want to know what the money will be spent on. If it doesn't meet the lender's agenda they will not lend it. This is how our province is being governed by the money lenders (changers) in this new Babylon. This is why we have ineffective government. Well, insulin pumps have been proven to save lives. So my next LOGICAL and OBVIOUS question is this ... When are they bringing in the DEATH PANELS? That's right, I said DEATH PANELS. You know what a death panel is. It's a committee set up to decide which is the better choice (given the money we have to spend)? Do we keep grandma alive in the hospital for that extra month or two or do we hire 4 or 5 more teachers or doctors instead? Bill Gates, Ted Turner, Warren Buffet, etc. all would kill granny. You can watch the interviews on youtube in their own words.

  • IDDM
    April 10, 2013 - 21:18

    First off, its no longer type one and type two. Its IDDM (Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus) and NIDDM (Non Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus) How many commenters on here are ACTUALLY diabetic?? I am, have been for 20 years one of my sisters has been for almost 25 and my other sister for 15. We grew up in a time where diabetes was not as prevalent as it is today with not a lot of information to go by. WE lived a normal life including eating random snacks and sleeping in til dinner time on weekends. My mother and father paid out of pocket, on a single income, for all of our supplies and never once was given a hand out from anyone or even so much as considered one (PS they also have a son, so thats six people on one income). Their girls had diabetes and they would get through it. Are people now just too lazy to work for what they need or is there enough diabetics now that they formed a unanimous whine for help. As far as Im concerned, and my family would agree, DIABETES IS NOT THE WORST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN!!! Its a disease that forces you to take care of yourself. I take several injections a day and don't expect to have anyone else pay for my supplies or medications, so why do I have to pay for someone elses. Change your diet and your attitude, you could have cancer with a way worse treatment plan and way more expense. If you are diabetic consider yourself lucky.

    • LilyWolfe
      April 10, 2013 - 22:15

      I do have IDDM and give myself injections several times a day. I also pay for everything myself and with a health plan, my cost alone is $200+ a month. However, if an insulin pump can improve the life of someone I am not against the government funding it if they have no other recourse. Some people, say shift-workers, struggle with night shifts etc when the pump would allow them to rotate to days/nights more easily, yet if they have no health coverage who are we to deny them some help. Especially when you see city employees cleaning up dog waste along the boardwalk for days....that is a waste of money and an example of citizen laziness.

    • IDDM
      April 11, 2013 - 09:13

      I work in healthcare, I do shift work. I am also a volunteer fireman, diabetes has never once interupted me from doing what I want. I'm just saying there are more things that need funding and of all the diseases in the world diabetes ain't bad at all.

    • A mom of a Type1 on a PUMP!
      November 07, 2013 - 07:36

      why would you say that diabetes is no big deal? It is a big deal....It never goes away and some people just might struggle with it way more than you do. Yes in your life time diabetes management has come full circle and you are seeing diabetes care to be something so much different than when you were Dx'd. I have had Type 1 Diabetes in my life for over 20 years now and I have seen the effects of poor management and also I have been managing my child's D very closely for over a year now....We were doing MDI but now we are on a pump and I have paid out of pocket for this because this is just what I knew was best for her. A pump is not only for administering insulin but it also is able to have a continuous glucose monitor connected with it and that helps with better management as well. Also since being on the pump we have seen so many less hypoglycemias. The pump has changed our life in so many ways that I can't even begin to express. If you want to complain and not support the governments funding for the pump that's your opinion but there are other people on PEI that would greatly benefit from having an insulin pump. What's your A1c like? Do you actually have good control? Our latest A1c was 6.3% and that was on MDI so yes you can do it on MDI but in our experience, because my child is so active, lows were always something we fought with. Maybe it would be best that you do more research about what benefits a pump can have for families, and why PEI is the only place in Canada that doesn't have government support.

  • Mom
    April 10, 2013 - 14:00

    I am the parent of a type 1 diabetic can honestly say any support made to lessen the impact of this disease is welcome. Interestingly enough one of the first statements our doctor made after giving us the diagnoses was “Diabetes is an expensive disease to have.” Well she wasn’t kidding. However, it isn’t like the diabetic (their family/caregivers) has any choice it is simply a matter of survival. Without the proper regimen of testing devices, insulin, apparatus to administer the tests and the insulin properly these people will die--plain and simple. Cost should not be a factor; these people are trying to live—literally. For optimum outcomes in the lives of these patients there needs to be optimum diligence in care which means they HAVE to be able to afford what it takes. Society pays one way or another; personally I prefer to do so with a program that assists with the costs of these necessities. Insulin pumps are proven to be a more effective method of regulating blood sugars and hence will cost the government less in the long run. While I am sure not every diabetic would opt for a pump (for their own personal reasons) it would be nice for those who would to be able to do so without having the cost as the deciding factor.

  • Rose Hicken
    April 10, 2013 - 13:48

    I have type 2 diabetes which I was diagnosed with in 1996. My cousin, 2 aunts, 1 uncle have type 2 diabetes as well. My mom, my grandmother, great grandmother and my great, great grandfather also had type 2 diabetes. Some of us are overweight but not all of us. Alot of people inherit diabetes so do some research before painting us all with the same brush.

  • Look too
    April 10, 2013 - 11:07

    Didn't say it was always a lifestyle driven thing, wondered how many were Type 2 and Type 1, you need to read more than the first word, especially as a "health professional". Yet you "partially understand" do the relation "Professiona" between the growing epidemic of obesity and the growing incidence of diabetes, go ahead, your a Professional

    • LilyWolfe
      April 10, 2013 - 20:23

      But you did say MOST, so what research do you have to back this up? Just wondering.....

  • Jeff Jardine
    April 10, 2013 - 10:38

    I hope this is something that the government actually follows through on since as a health professional I have to help coach people through this disease and having some of the costs removed as a barrier. Make sure that the program is continued as well, not just a trial thing because this would be worse

  • Erland Millar
    April 10, 2013 - 10:19

    Nice thoughts but this will not happen (funding Insulin pumps) $5 to 7 thousand for the pump plus roughly $250.00 per mth in supplies. Extra test strips $90 per 100 at 6 or more per day unless you have medical coverage it is an expensive disease to deal with

  • Take a Look at your waistline
    April 10, 2013 - 09:42

    Just wondering how many of those 13,000 islanders are type 1 diabetics and how many are type 2. Most of the Type 2 diabetes is lifestyle driven whereas the Type 1 not as much. Time for islanders who have type 2 diabetes and those at risk due to obesity and lack of exercise to take control of their own health instead demanding the government (the taxpayers) pay for their indulgences

    • Concerned Health Professional
      April 10, 2013 - 10:41

      I partly understand what you are saying but that is an uneducated, overly simplistic response to the problem. It is not always a lifestyle driven thing, there are MANY more factors then that. Be careful

    • LilyWolfe
      April 10, 2013 - 11:36

      Try educating yourself before shooting out opinions you can't back up. I tried everything to avoid getting the disease; as it runs in both my paternal and maternal sides; but by my mid- my 40's the disease appeared. Yet even my best friend doesn't see it as a 'real disease', why is that? It takes a great deal of effort, time and money to keep myself from developing complications as I age. Thank goodness for insulin; if the government can help the quality of someone's life, why shouldn't they? As the article states, the government and health care will save money in the long run.

    • Mari
      April 10, 2013 - 11:36

      It might interest you to know that there are other factors that contribute to the prevalence of chronic diseases, such as income. The lowest income group (< $15,000) is 4x more likely to have type 2 diabetes than the highest (> $80,000), and this is after adjusting for factors such as age, obesity, smoking, and alcohol use. If you did not know, many Islanders do not have high incomes. Source: Canadian Community Health Survey; Statistics Canada.

    • Agreed
      April 10, 2013 - 13:04

      Generally speaking, Type 1 only accounts for 5-10% of all diagnosed cases. I believe we have a responsibility to aid diabetics in living longer and healthier lives, but this money would be better invested in nutritional and physical education for those living with Type 2 diabetes.

    • David
      April 10, 2013 - 19:14

      No, genetics is a big part of it. My mother and her siblings all thin, all active, and all but a few are type 2 diabetic. Their mother was diabetic she was thin as a rail all her life with many kids and not rich no sitting around watching TV. A few of my aunts and uncles on my dad's side of the family are also diabetic again not due to weight it's genetic. Obesity is a big preventable cause of diabetes, PEI is Canada's fattest province, but it's not the only cause. So no type 2 diabetes is not only caused by being overweight.

  • New NDP Voter
    April 10, 2013 - 09:24

    Ghiz cries no money. How much did he over spend in the last 6 years? Was it close to a billion? PNP any one????? Another half bilion? Wow.