5 Medicare-Covered Professionals You Need on Your Diabetes Treatment Team

Diabetes management plans often include many different elements: monitoring blood pressure, adjusting diet, and protecting feet to name a few.

Medicare and most insurance plans respond to these needs by covering health services for people with diabetes. Combined with coverage for medical equipment (such as diabetic shoes) and medications, regular appointments with these professionals can make a big difference for diabetes management. Here are the 5 professionals that are worth adding to any diabetes care plan.

1) Your family doctor (MD).

family doctor diabetes blood pressure medicare

We started with this professional because they are the absolute foundation of any diabetes treatment plan. According to Cleveland Clinic, insulin-dependent people with diabetes should see their doctors at least once every 3-4 months, while once every 5-6 months will usually suffice for those treated by pills.

Making the most of these appointments is critical. Something that seems small, such as mild foot pain or lower stamina, could be serious when diabetes is involved. To ensure your bases are covered, provide your doctor with all detailed information they may need at each appointment. This includes recent glucose readings, dietary or exercise changes, and reports of any pain or health challenges (however mild they may seem).

If your doctor recommends any durable medical equipment to help with your diabetes management, such as diabetic shoes or a continuous glucose monitor, be sure to ask them about what paperwork you will need to submit for Medicare coverage. Suppliers like nocostshoes.com can also fax the necessary forms to your doctor prior to ordering, but it can help to bring this up at appointments as well.

2) An optometrist/ophthamologist

ophthalmologist doing an eye test for diabetic retinopathy

To understand why seeing an eye care specialist is important, look no further than the statistics on diabetes and eye disease. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in U.S. adults. As of 2010, 7.69 million Americans had reported a case of diabetic retinopathy, a number which continues to steadily increase each year.

The functioning of eyes is greatly affected by the functioning of blood vessels – in fact, it is not uncommon for an optometrist to identify the first symptoms of diabetes. For this reason, Medicare covers annual diabetic retinopathy exams. Making and keeping these appointments is important in protecting eyesight for individuals who have diabetes.

3) A podiatrist.

podiatrist checking diabetic patient's feet

Serious foot issues and amputation is one of the lesser-known risks of diabetes, though ignoring it can lead to devastating consequences. With diabetic neuropathy, even small foot injuries can become quite serious over time.

To prevent these extreme consequences, Medicare extends coverage for a foot exam once every six months to those with diabetes-related nerve damage. In addition, Medicare often covers diabetic shoes through nocostshoes.com for qualifying individuals. This care protects feet as well as improving your comfort and quality of life as you move through your day.

4) Diabetic Self-Management Training (DSMT)

Managing diabetes often requires significant life changes. Many of these changes must be managed by the individual with the diagnosis, which is why Diabetic Self- Management Training is such an important tool.

In the first year, Medicare may cover up to one hour of individual training and up to nine hours of group training. Following that, 2 hours of follow-up training per year may be covered. This training must be conducted by a certified individual and be deemed necessary by your doctor in order for coverage to be offered. Fortunately, most doctors will deem DSMT a necessary service for their patients, especially those who struggle with some aspects of adapting to life with diabetes. The one-on-one training option is particularly helpful for those struggling with particular aspects of diabetes management.

5) A registered dietician.

registered dietician diabetes
Doctor Giving Advice On Healthy Diet

Along with diabetic self-management training, a dietician can help people understand how best to adapt their diet following a diabetes diagnosis. Since food is such an important aspect of diabetes management, Medicare has extended additional coverage to help those who need a registered dietician as they transition into this new lifestyle.

Depending on what is deemed “medically necessary” by your family doctor, this coverage could entitle you to a  nutrition and lifestyle assessment, individual support and/or group nutrition therapy services, and follow-up appointments. A dietician can clarify the best eating choices for your health and educate you on proper nutrition to improve your health going forward.

Need more support? Proper communication with your family doctor is the key.

There are many different health care services and equipment that can help you to manage diabetes. Medicare or insurance coverage of these things is often contingent on your doctor filling out a Certificate of Medical Necessity. To determine what is medically required for your care, they need to have all the information in front of them.

So, if you are struggling with diabetes self-care, eating changes, or foot/eye issues, be honest and let your doctor know! There are many things they can do to help you access additional care.

For information on diabetic shoes and durable medical equipment covered by Medicare, visit nocostshoes.com.

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The Diabetes Circulation Checklist: Are You Doing These 8 Things?

If you’ve seen a podiatrist for diabetes-related concerns, chances are you’ve heard the word “circulation” mentioned a few times. But what does circulation with diabetes really mean? More importantly, how can people avoid the blood flow related risks that come with a diabetes diagnosis?

This article will help you understand and respond to common circulation concerns with diabetes. We’ll explain exactly what risk factors are involved, then provide you an easy-to-follow checklist to stay as healthy as possible on a daily basis.

What is circulation and why does it matter so much for people with diabetes?

Circulation is another word for “blood flow.” When you have poor circulation, it means that one or more body parts are not getting enough blood.  Poor circulation can have many causes, from something as simple as bad fitting shoes through to some something as serious as a heart disorder.

Circulation matters for everyone, but people with diabetes should pay particular attention to this issue. High blood glucose levels caused by diabetes can damage blood vessels, limiting their ability to transfer blood to other cells. This can affect the flow of blood throughout the body.

One of the most common consequences of poor circulation in people with diabetes is foot complications. The word for feet or legs with poor circulation is “peripheral artery disease.”

Luckily, there are ways you can prevent and/or manage poor circulation. We’ve created this Diabetes Circulation Checklist to help guide the process.

Your Diabetes Circulation Checklist

□  Quit smoking. This is a tough one for many, but smoking has the biggest impact on your circulation as a diabetic.  If you want to prevent circulation issues, putting down cigarettes should be at the top of your “To Do” list.

□  Do some exercise several times per week. Don’t worry, we aren’t asking you to run a marathon (in fact, you don’t even need to hit the gym!). Just a brisk, 30-45 minute walk several times per week should do the trick.  Movement stimulates blood flow in legs, which can prevent peripheral artery disease. For more exercise tips for people with diabetes, click here.

□  Wear therapeutic shoes. Medicare and most insurance plans cover diabetic shoes for patients with a prescription. Approved supplier nocostshoes.com will even send a shoe fitter to your home to help you access shoes with no out of pocket cost. If you don’t have a prescription, you can still order shoes at low cost from their website.

□  Visit a podiatrist regularly. The best person to write your shoe prescription is a medical specialist who deals with foot issues. Annual visits to this type of doctor, called a podiatrist, are also covered by Medicare. They’ll also be able to identify any warning signs of circulation issues and give you tips on how to manage other foot conditions you may have.

□  Take a break when in pain. Regular exercise is important for managing circulation issues, but pushing yourself too far can have serious consequences. People with circulation issues may feel pain in their calves when walking, especially if they are moving quickly, uphill, or on a hard surface. Stop to rest if you are experiencing this, and speak to your doctor as soon as you can.

□  Wear warm support socks. Socks that are too tight or thin can worsen circulation issues for people with diabetes. Diabetic support socks can aid in circulation. They also help to warm up chilly feet, which is a common symptom for those experiencing circulation issues. Do not use hot water or heating pads to warm up your feet, as nerve damage may prevent you from feeling burns.

□  Examine your feet on a daily basis. Many telltale signs of poor circulation are evidence in the feet. Keep an eye out for sores that won’t heal, discoloration, shiny skin and slow toenail growth. If you see anything unusual, discuss it with your podiatrist.

□  Elevate your feet when you are sitting. Paying attention to your feet is important even when you’re not moving. Elevation and wiggling toes from time to time are great ways to encourage blood flow.

6 Awesome Apps for Managing Diabetes (pssst…they’re all free!)

Managing diabetes can seem like a lot of work, but new technology is making it easier than ever to track blood sugar, plan meals, and more! Here are some of  the best downloadable mobile apps to help you live a full and healthy life with diabetes.

Medical ID : ICE – In Case of Emergency, a free Android app and iPhone feature to help you share medical information with first responders.

App medical ID : ICE best apps for diabetes
source: support.apple.com

In case of an emergency, this simple but powerful app can make sure that first responders and helpers know of your medical condition(s). Medical ID: ICE allows users to write a medical profile that is accessible from the lock screen, offering quick information on emergency contacts, medication, conditions and allergies. Note that while this is an app for Android, Medical IDs are a built-in feature for iPhones – you can set yours up by following these instructions.

Diabetes:M, a free app for logging glucose levels and nutrition.

Diabetes:M best app for diabetes logging free
source: diabetes-m.com

Logging apps like Diabetes:M make it easy to record and share treatment information with physicians and loved ones. Diabetes:M allows you to log everything from food intake to glucose levels to exercise time. Try using Diabetes:M with a sophisticated nutrition app like Fooducate or My Diet Diary to get a full picture of your health and wellness.

Sugar Sense, a free app for tracking carbs, blood sugar, and glucose readings.

source: itunes.apple.com

Sugarsense is another tracking option focused on blood sugar readings specifically. One of the major benefits of Sugar Sense is its compatibility with other wellness apps, such as your fitness tracker and My Diet Diary. Doctors love it because it allows you to view your estimated HbA1C level and track your progress over time. Overall, its a great app for combining fitness data with diabetes management updates.

Health2Sync, a free app that tracks blood pressure, blood sugar, weight and mood. It can also synchronize to your glucometer.

source: itunes.apple.com

Like the other two apps listed above, Health2Sync captures data on multiple health indicators like blood sugar, weight, and blood pressure. It differentiates itself from other apps by syncing glucometer readings (at an additional cost) and by tracking your mood so you can get a full picture of mental and physical health.


Diabetes Recipe App, a free app that puts 400+ diabetes-friendly recipes at your fingertips.

source: diabetes.co.uk

One of the biggest challenges of adjusting to a diabetic lifestyle is changing your diet. This app allows you to find delicious diabetes-friendly recipes handpicked by the folks at diabetes.co.uk. You can filter recipes by carbs, calories, meal type and more to build a healthy meal plan that fits your life (and tastebuds!).

Glooko, a diabetes management app syncs with your glucose monitor (paid app, but may be covered by insurance).

source: medagadget.com

While Glooko costs $5 per month, we have included it in this list because many people are able to access the app for free through their insurance company, employer and other sponsored medical programs. Glooko syncs with your BG meter, insulin pump and/or CGM, allowing you to monitor and record your blood sugar data alongside food, medication, and lifestyle data to an accurate picture of your well-being. Trust us – doctors love it when their patients can show them all this information in one place.