Washington, DC—In response to advocacy efforts of the Endocrine Society and other organizations concerned with the care of patients with diabetes, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has decided to cover low threshold suspend insulin pump systems, the first devices to be classified as artificial pancreas technology, effective December 1, 2014.
The Endocrine Society sent a letter to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts urging them to provide coverage for low threshold suspend systems on August 14, 2014. View the letter online.
Artificial pancreas device systems (APDS) were approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2013 and allow for the automatic suspension of insulin delivery when a preset sensor glucose threshold is reached. These systems represent a significant step forward in the ability to safely and effectively treat patients with Type 1 diabetes, directly translating into fewer emergency room visits, seizures, loss of consciousness and an improved sense of safety.
“We’re very encouraged that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has decided to cover this first version of an artificial pancreas device system,” said Robert A. Vigersky, MD, past-president of the Endocrine Society and director of the Diabetes Institute at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. “It’s an important step and we’re hopeful that other payers will review their policies in light of the latest available science and reach similar decisions.”
In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a head-to-head trial comparing patients on an insulin pump to those using a low-threshold suspend pump demonstrated a 3.6 fold reduction in moderate and severe hypoglycemia in those using the low-threshold suspend pump (Ly TT et al. J Amer Med Assoc 310: 1240-1247, 2013).
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (Bergenstal et al. N Eng J Med 369: 224-232, 2013) found patients using the threshold suspend pump had almost 1/3 the rate of nocturnal hypoglycemia, no worsening of HbA1c, and no episodes of ketoacidosis when compared to patients using a non-threshold suspend insulin pump.
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Founded in 1916, the Endocrine Society is the world’s oldest, largest and most active organization devoted to research on hormones and the clinical practice of endocrinology. Today, the Endocrine Society’s membership consists of over 17,000 scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in more than 100 countries. Society members represent all basic, applied and clinical interests in endocrinology. The Endocrine Society is based in Washington, DC. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit our site at www.endocrine.org. Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/EndoMedia