Province to offset costs of insulin pumps for children

Jocelyne Lloyd
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New insulin pump program for children announced Tuesday along with provincial diabetes strategy

Tawnya Matheson and her son, Bradley Butterfield, who has Type 1 diabetes, join P.E.I. Health and Wellness Minister Doug Currie for an announcement that the provincial government will be helping to offset the cost of insulin pumps for eligible families.

Insulin pumps for children will now be partially covered by the province, the government announced today via a news release that also introduced a provincial diabetes strategy for 2014-17.

RELATED: Premier promising insulin-pump funding by next budget

The new Prince Edward Island Diabetes Strategy and Insulin Pump Program for Children and Youth came into effect July 1 and will cover a percentage — up to 90 per cent — of the costs of insulin pumps and supplies for children under the age of 19 with Type 1 diabetes.

Insulin pumps are an alternative technology to multiple daily insulin injections. About the size of a pager, the portable, programmable insulin pumps deliver fast-acting insulin through plastic tubing connected to an insertion site on the body.

“As a family of five, the cost of an insulin pump was never a reality,” Tawnya Matheson said in a news release from the Canadian Diabetes Association. “With this new program, it will mean that my son Bradley will no longer have to take multiple daily injections, and he’ll be more of a kid again with a renewed sense of independence."

"An insulin pump will also decrease some of the health complications, because he’ll be better able to manage his diabetes," Matheson said.

The amount the province will provide for children's insulin pump therapy will depend on a number of factors, including private health-care coverage and income. The cost to the individual or family will vary.

“People with diabetes can’t effectively manage their disease when they are forced to balance their health against living expenses such as paying rent or buying groceries,” said Richard Blickstead, president and CEO at the Canadian Diabetes Association. “Today’s announcement acknowledges the seriousness of diabetes and recognizes the need to invest now in the health of Islanders living with the disease, so they can live to their full potential.”

Eligibility for the insulin pump program is determined by a number of medical criteria which will be evaluated by an individual’s diabetes care team, including the child or youth’s pediatrician or internal medicine specialist, as well as clinicians from the Health P.E.I. Provincial Diabetes Program.

For more information on the Prince Edward Island Insulin Pump Program for Children and Youth, visit: www.healthpei.ca/insulin-pump.

To download a copy of the PEI Diabetes Strategy for 2014-2017, visit www.healthpei.ca/DiabetesStrategy.

Organizations: Canadian Diabetes Association

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  • AD
    July 08, 2014 - 18:43

    OK, that's a start ... what about cost of supplies after the child receives the pump? I have a friend with T1D who required a pump to be a candidate for a kidney transplant but then can't get her monthly supplies covered by the province. It needs to be all in, not just part way. Also, why limit it to children - blood glucose maintenance proves to keep these people out of the acute care and require reduced community supports once the pump is established. Costs are more than offset by savings to the health care system. Perhaps the costs for 'all in' can be captured by refraining from substantial increases in deputy ministers salaries.