SONOMA COUNTY: Diabetes Coverage Law Has Little Impact
A new law requiring health care plans to give patients with diabetes greater access to insulin, syringes and glucose monitors has had little effect in Sonoma County, as the region's two main insurers -- Kaiser Permanente and Health Plan of the Redwoods -- already provide coverage for most of the mandated items, the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reports. Dr. Joseph Cook, medical director for HPR, said, "It really does not appear that this legislative initiative will have a significant impact on HPR because HMOs have been in preventive care. HMOs are in the forefront, even ahead of legislation." Kaiser Permanente officials agreed. Medical Director Robert Schultz noted, "We have three staff members doing nothing but case management in our diabetes program that involves a whole system of education, doctors visits, classes, glucose monitors and free test strips. Nobody is aware of anything that we need to do as a result of this law." But Ann Albright, president of the western region of the American Diabetes Association, believes the law "raised the bar on what is required and gives uniform access." She said, "People with diabetes were getting coverage that ranged from complete to nothing. It smooths out a lot of the inequities" (Rose, 2/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.