Coverage for test strips for Manitoba Diabetes patients reduced

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Coverage for test strips for Manitoba Diabetes patients reduced – Jun 16, 2017

WINNIPEG — It’s not a boast worthy statistic but Manitoba has the highest number of people living with diabetes per capita in Canada.

And Friday, the province announced it will reduce the number of testing strips it will pay for meaning more of a financial burden on a growing number of Manitobans.

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Bob Swaffer has been living with diabetes for 25 years. His son, twin brother and niece all have it too.

“I passed it down, my twin brother he passed it down to his daughter so it does get passed down,” Swaffer said.

Right now, 327,000 Manitobans have diabetes or could soon develop it, that’s 25 per cent of the province’s population.

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Which means the most important part of their day is testing their blood glucose levels, anywhere from three to 11 times a day.

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These little test strips cost a dollar a piece but now the province has reduced the amount it’ll cover by 350, from 4,000 strips a year per person to 3,650.

“What happens is, people are not going to be testing as frequently as they need to,” said Andrea Kwasnicki, Regional Director for Diabetes Canada.

The province defended its decision saying it’s only following the guidelines put out by Diabetes Canada, but Kwasnicki says the money saved should go towards public education

“We’re hopeful the government will revisit and reconsider investing in education so people will know how to test with a purpose,” Kwasnicki said.

Swaffer worries if people don’t test as often they could end up in hospital, costing the health care system more money.