Diabetes Financial Help
Health Care Services
The Bureau of Primary Health Care, a service of the Health Resources and Services Administration, offers health care for people regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. To find local health centers, call 1.800.400.2742 and ask for a directory, or visit the bureau's website at www.bphc.hrsa.gov You can also visit http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/Search_HCC.aspx to find a health center in your area or call 877.464.4772.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) runs hospitals and clinics that serve veterans who have service-related health problems or who simply need financial aid. If you're a veteran and would like to find out more about VA health care, call 800.827.1000 or visit their website at www.va.gov
Many local governments have public health departments that can help people who need medical care. Your local county or city government's health and human services office can provide further information.
If you're uninsured and need hospital care, you may be able to get help. In 1946, Congress passed the Hospital Survey and Construction Act, which was sponsored by Senators Lister Hill and Harold Burton and is now known as the Hill-Burton Act. Although the program originally provided hospitals with Federal grants for modernization, today it provides free or reduced-charge medical services to low-income people. The program is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services. For more information, call 877.696.6775 or visit www.hhs.gov.
Dialysis and Transplantation
Kidney failure is a complication of diabetes. In 1972, Congress passed legislation making people of any age with permanent kidney failure eligible for Medicare. To qualify for Medicare on the basis of kidney failure, you must need regular dialysis or have had a kidney transplant, and you must have worked under Social Security, the Railroad Retirement Board, or as a Government employee (or be the child or spouse of someone who has), or you must already be receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits. Every American needing dialysis for chronic kidney failure is eligible for dialysis assistance. For more information, call the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services at 800.MEDICARE (633.4227) to request the booklet Medicare Coverage of Kidney Dialysis and Kidney Transplant Services. This booklet is also available on the Internet at www.medicare.gov under "Publications."
For information on financing an organ transplant, contact the following organization:
United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)
P.O. Box 2484
Richmond, VA 23218
Prescription Drugs and Medical Supplies
If you can't pay for your medicines and supplies without help, you should tell your health care provider. Your doctor may be able to direct you to local programs or even provide free samples.
You or your doctor can order a free filament to check feet for nerve damage. The filament (with instructions for use) is available by calling the Bureau of Primary Health Care's (BPHC's) Lower Extremity Amputation Prevention Program (LEAP) at 888.ASK.HRSA (275.4772) or by accessing http://www.hrsa.gov/hansensdisease/leap/.
The Medicare program offers a searchable database of prescription drug assistance programs at www.medicare.gov/part-d/index.html. This website gives information on public and private programs offering discounted or free medication. You can also learn about Medicare health plans with prescription coverage.
In addition, drug companies that sell insulin or diabetes medications usually have patient assistance programs. Such programs are available only through a physician. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and its member companies sponsor an interactive website with information on drug assistance programs at www.pparx.org/.
Also, since programs targeted at the homeless sometimes provide aid, try contacting a local shelter for more information on how to obtain free medications and medical supplies. Check your phone book under Human Service Organizations or Social Service Organizations for the number of the nearest shelter.
If you've had an amputation, paying for your rehabilitation expenses may be a concern. The following organizations provide financial assistance for people who need prosthetic care:
Amputee Coalition of America
900 East Hill Avenue, Suite 285
Knoxville, TN 37915-2568
Phone: 888.AMP.KNOW (267.5669)
230 West Monroe Street, Suite 1800
Chicago, IL 60606
Prosthetics for Diabetics Foundation
323 Reed Way
Monroe, GA 30655
Mediterranean Style Fillet of Sole Soft Shell Crabs with Asian Mignonette Ginger Lemon Shrimp Southwestern Rice Old Fashioned Dressing Rice, Bean, and Mozzarella Salad Lamb Chops with Onion-Tomato Sauce Minted Orange Carrot Soup Enlitened's Low Carb Peach Skewers Cajun Pork Chops
Most of the time, we bash the lastest news about a "diabetes cure" because it is neither a cure, nor often even a significant improvement in diabetes treatment. Usually these "cures" are tested in mice, but fail to make the leap over to human physiology. Devices may work in the lab, but take decades to pass through FDA review, and still not be much better than what we already have. It's enough to make us all jaded. I know I am. But I saw something...