The Yukon government will now fund continuous glucose monitoring systems for Type 1 diabetics after local advocates began asking for donations from businesses to make up for a lack of government coverage.
“We recognize the challenges Yukoners and families who live with Type 1 diabetes face on a daily basis which is why we are expanding our funding to fully cover both flash and continuous glucose monitors,” said Health and Social Services Minister Pauline Frost in a statement.
On Sept. 16 the government faced a backlash from the T1D Support Group after announcing only a more limited tool – called flash glucose monitors – would be funded for adults.
The group began soliciting donations from local businesses in order to fund the monitoring devices for adults. On Oct. 1 the government announced that they would expand coverage after all.
“We thank and appreciate the local businesses who have come forward to support individuals with type 1 diabetes through the Yukon T1D Support Network,” Frost said.
“I think that was the power of social media to give that extra pressure that we’ve been trying to put on them. The Yukon Party’s been helping, the NDP has been helping, for several years now to say like this is a medical need,” said Nash, a member of the Yukon T1D Support Network.
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. This means the body has trouble regulating blood sugar. Complications from diabetes can result in low energy levels and at its most severe, a coma or death.
Approximately 250 people in the Yukon have Type 1 diabetes, according to the government.
Continuous glucose monitoring systems can be life-changing, according to Nash, but they also range from $3,000 to $6,000 a year and can be out of reach for many families.
Nash’s 13-year-old daughter began using a constant glucose monitor four years ago. It has allowed her to play hockey, sleep through the night and stay safe with multiple people able to watch her levels.
She said she is relieved that her daughter won’t lose that safety net when she ages out of the previously defined coverage.
“It makes a huge difference. It is a life-threatening autoimmune disease. It’s very hard to say it, but you could die at any given night. That’s a lot of pressure to put on an 18-year-old,” Nash said.
Yukon Party leader Currie Dixon said he hopes that the Liberal Party also plans to make an apology to families accompanying the announcement of extended coverage.
“There’s been nothing but uncertainty from this government on this issue for the last year and a half,” Dixon said.
“Let’s congratulate the T1D Support Network. Let’s congratulate those people on the ground. And let’s make sure we thank the businesses who saw this as a problem and were ready to put their own money on the line,” added NDP leader Kate White.
Yukon is now the first jurisdiction in Canada that fully covers continuous glucose monitors. Flash monitors are funded in Ontario and Quebec.
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