CGM and Flash Monitoring NDSS Subsidy update

Access to affordable technology has consistently been one of the clearest and loudest messages we hear from people living with type 1 diabetes.

As technology has radically changed the way diabetes is managed, it has become evident that using pumps, continuous glucose monitoring and flash glucose monitoring can change some people’s lives quite dramatically.

However, technology often comes at a very steep price.  It’s too much, too often for many people.

Diabetes Queensland has been working to increase both the affordability and the accessibility of technology.

In February this year, we achieved a new landmark, with the Federal Government announcing that it was streamlining, and increasing, eligibility for the CGM initiative and introducing Flash to the subsidy scheme for the first time.

This now opens up eligibility from a fairly narrow group (people aged under 21, women who are expecting to be or are pregnant, and people who could prove a high clinical need) to about 50 per cent of people living with type 1 diabetes.

The subsidy through the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) extended the initiative to people aged 21 and over who have concessional status.

While Diabetes Queensland applauds the move by the Government, we will continue to lobby for improved access and affordability for those people who are still not eligible for the scheme.

As the benefits of the expansion become evident to the Government through better health outcomes, the idea of universal access will become more appealing and possible.

All products provided under the CGM Initiative will continue to be fully subsidised with no co-payment. Updated Continuous and Flash Glucose Monitoring Eligibility Assessment forms are available here.

What is flash glucose monitoring?

A Flash GM device is like a CGM device, except that you have to scan the sensor with a reader, smartphone or smart device to get your reading.  A Flash GM device does not alert you if your glucose levels are low or high and does not connect to an insulin pump. In Australia, this technology is currently only available in the FreeStyle Libre product.

The great advantage of the Freestyle Libre is that it can be used in ‘pulses’ or in constant use. Even periodic use can identify the best management practices, and help to stabilise issues experienced, reducing the risks of preventable hospitalisation and complications from diabetes. However, it costs about $100 a fortnight to run.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM)

A continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device is a small wearable device that measures glucose levels continuously throughout the day and night.  CGM provides a more thorough picture of blood glucose trends, and it has alarms that can sound when blood glucose levels are high or low.

Streamlined Eligibility Criteria

The Australian Government has streamlined the eligibility criteria to access subsidised products through the Continuous Glucose Monitoring Initiative. From March 1, 2020, people aged 21 years or older with type 1 diabetes, with valid concessional status, no longer need to demonstrate ‘high clinical need’ to access subsidised products from the CGM Initiative.

Applicants will need to use the new application form to apply for flash and continuous glucose monitoring under the streamlined eligibility criteria.

Updated Continuous and Flash Glucose Monitoring Eligibility Assessment forms for people aged 21 years or older with type 1 diabetes, with valid concessional status, are available here.

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