At a recent meeting of Oregon’s Health Evidence Review Commission (HERC), the state panel recommended reducing access to test strips for people with type 2 diabetes on the Medicaid-funded Oregon Health Plan (OHP). A new plan would severely restrict access to strips for type 2 patients unless they are newly diagnosed, take insulin, or meet a few other special requirements. For people not taking insulin – which covers the vast majority, about 70% of all type 2 patients – those with an A1c above 8.0% would be entitled to one test strip per week, while those with an A1c below 8.0% would not be provided with any test strips at all.
This recommendation would severly limit test strips and set a dangerous precedent for other states looking to cut overall health care costs. It's difficult to understand how the HERC imagines people with an A1c below 8.0% will manage their diabetes without test strips, and a test strip every week is hardly meaningful for patients or providers. Furthermore, any cost reductions will likely be more than canceled out in the long-term due to increased complications, hospital visits, and operations that inevitably follow poor control.
The decision is currently scheduled for December 5. If you are a person with diabetes or a caregiver, we encourage you to sign this petition and write to Oregon Health Authority’s Director Dr. Bruce Goldberg and the members of the HERC about the importance of having access to test strips and self-monitoring blood glucose.