The Yukon government has changed course following public pressure, now promising it will pay for adults with Type 1 diabetes to get continuous glucose monitors .
Jill Nash said she felt “relief” when she heard the announcement.
“It’s about time,” said Nash, who is vice-president of the Yukon Type 1 Diabetes Support Network.
Last month, the government announced funding for “flash” monitors, which provide a blood sugar level every eight hours.
The announcement sparked outrage from the Yukon Type 1 Diabetes Support Network. The group had long lobbied for continuous monitors, calling them safer and more accurate.
Several private businesses stepped in to help pay for peoples’ monitors, said Nash.
But last week Premier Sandy Silver said there were changes in national pricing, and Health Minister Pauline Frost decided to change course and fund the continuous monitors.
“It would be the best thing to do, based upon input from Yukoners and based on up what her department is able to do, working with these companies,” said Silver.
Continuous monitors cost more than $3,500 for a year, said Nash.
An estimated 250 people in Yukon have Type 1 diabetes. The government already pays for the continuous glucose monitors for children under the age of 18.
“It was quite shocking for a very long time that it wasn’t funded,” said Nash.
“Flash monitors don’t provide alerts and real-time monitoring,” said Nash, whose 13-year-old daughter has Type 1 diabetes. She said the continuous monitors will improve quality of life and help people feel safe.
The two kinds of monitors are “not even comparable,” she said.
Yukon Medical Association says decision will save money long-term
Type 1 diabetes is a disease where people are not able to produce their own insulin, so their bodies can’t naturally regulate their blood sugar. People with Type 1 diabetes need to inject insulin or use an inulin pump.
Dr. Ryan Warshawski, the acting president of the Yukon Medical Association, applauded the decision to fund continuous monitors.
He said Type 1 diabetes can have severe consequences, and providing monitors in Yukon will likely prevent future suffering.
Warshawski said the monitors could also save money for the healthcare system in the long-term.
“It’s also important to recognize how expensive it is to treat the complications of poorly-controlled Type 1 diabetes,” he said, “which include blindness, kidney failure requiring dialysis, amputation, [and] chronic pain.”
“This is not a small thing that we’re talking about.”
The territorial government says Yukon is first in Canada to provide continuous glucose monitors for everyone with Type 1 diabetes.
People can choose between a continuous glucose monitor or a flash monitor.