GPs can now approve glucose monitors for DVA card holders

Alisha Dorrigan

27/11/2023 4:19:51 PM

Access to the technology should significantly improve quality of life for veterans with diabetes, but patients without DVA cards still face barriers.

GP reviewing patient's continuous glucose monitor
DVA card holders can now access continuous glucose monitors through their GP.

GPs are now able to certify that patients with diabetes can access subsidised continuous glucose monitors (CGM), provided they are eligible Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) card holders.
Under the new regime, all gold and some white DVA card holders who have been diagnosed with diabetes can have their GP initiate the use of CGMs, alongside other approved healthcare professionals including diabetes educators, registered nurses and other specialists.
Prior to the change, only the patient’s endocrinologist was able to authorise subsidised use of CGMs, which can create barriers for patients and delay access to the technology – especially for those living in areas where access to specialist endocrinologists is limited or costly.
The National Diabetes Service Scheme (NDSS) still blocks GPs from approving access to the devices for non-DVA card holders.
Nonetheless, Dr Gary Deed, Chair of RACGP Specific Interests Diabetes, welcomed the changes and told newsGP they will benefit both GPs and patients.
‘The CGM technology has been shown in clinical trials to provide for improved HbA1c and greater knowledge about lifestyle factors that may influence glucose levels, plus the efficacy of how any therapies are working,’ he said.
CGMs are considered a game-changer in diabetes management and an empowering tool for patients by providing a host of benefits. The devices reduce the need for fingerpick glucose testing and allow for a less painful and more discreet method of monitoring blood glucose levels, they can also be integrated with smart phones so that patients can share their readings with care providers.
The RACGP has strongly advocated for change that would enable GPs to submit the required paperwork for patients with type 1 diabetes to access CGMs via the NDSS. Endocrinologists, paediatricians, registered nurses and diabetes educators can all fill out the form that approves subsided access to CGMs, with GPs specifically excluded from the list of certifiers.
In a recent submission to the NDSS, RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins recommended that the Federal Government recognise GPs as part of the specialist team involved in the management of patients with diabetes and that they be included on the list of authorised groups who can certify the forms.
‘It is unclear why other members of this healthcare team and not GPs are able to sign this form,’ she wrote.
‘This decision creates unnecessary barriers to patient access to appropriate and timely care, particularly for rural and regional patients who may rely completely on their GP for care.’
The NDSS is currently looking to refresh their product schedule and a tender process is ongoing; however, no changes have been announced that would allow patients to access CGMs through their GP.
‘This is still an outstanding issue and hopefully [will be] rectified soon,’ Dr Deed said.
For eligible DVA card holders, GPs can now complete a Diabetes Product order form (DP9414) and submit this directly to the DVA. Once approved, the patient will be placed on a subscription service that will deliver sensors to their home every three months.
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