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Health, Science & Tech

Bill Calls for Insurance Reimbursements for Diabetes Pain Treatment

State Sen. Matt Smith (D-Allegheny/Washington) is introducing legislation that would mandate insurance companies reimburse people with diabetes for pain management. 

Smith noted that while patients are reimbursed for other diabetes-related costs, treatment for neuropathy is not one of them.

"Patients who have it experience intense aching, tingling, burning and numbness," he said. "What's really problematic about it is if it's left unmanaged, the condition can worsen to the point where the individual will need hospitalization or further treatment by way of an operation."

Smith said that a 1921 law, amended in 1998, provides funding for syringes, insulin and other equipment. He is seeking to remedy the omission and save the commonwealth money at the same time.

"The cost of that hospitalization, whether it's one night, two nights, three nights in a hospital bed, is far more expensive than addressing the problem through management at the front end by requiring insurance companies to cover this reimbursement," Smith said.

Senate Bill 759 has bipartisan support. Smith said the best case scenario has people prone to diabetes, through genetics or lifestyle, take proactive measures to prevent contracting the disease in the first place.