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Conaway, Pinkin, Sumter, Wimberly, McKnight & Mukherji Bill Requiring Medicaid to Cover Diabetes Education for Patients Now Law

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Herb Conaway, Nancy Pinkin, Shavonda Sumter, Benjie Wimberly, Angela McKnight and Raj Mukherji to educate Medicaid patients on diabetes and pre-diabetes care was recently signed into law.

“The financial costs and suffering caused by diabetes are increasing rapidly in New Jersey and nationwide,” said Conaway (D-Burlington). “By teaching residents how to take care of themselves, we can help them understand how to manage their diabetes and live well.”

Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in New Jersey, and responsible for nearly 2,000 deaths each year, according the New Jersey Department of Health website. Approximately 700,000 state residents have diabetes.

“Self-management education programs have helped lower extremity amputation rates, reduce medication costs, and resulted in fewer emergency room visits and hospitalizations,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). “Education will save more lives in New Jersey as well as help residents coping with diabetes live their best lives.”

“A 2014 report projected the number of New Jersey residents with the disease would double by 2025,” said Sumter (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This disease can be devastating. It kills thousands in New Jersey each year. Educating residents on how to manage and live with diabetes can help them take control of the disease before they become another statistic.”

“Diabetes can wreak havoc on a person’s body, but with healthy eating, regular physical activity and proper medication, it can be managed. That is why education about how to treat it is key,” said Wimberly (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Teaching residents who are diabetic how to manage the disease and take better care of themselves can help them live healthier, longer lives.”

“Diabetes self-management training can reduce the costs and suffering associated with the disease by providing tips for eating healthy, being active, monitoring blood sugar, and taking medication properly, thereby reducing many risks,” said McKnight (D-Hudson).

“Diabetes affects an enormous amount of lives in New Jersey, but it shouldn’t be a death sentence in this day and age,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson). “Proper self-management can help many more people live and thrive with the disease.”

The new law (formerly bill A-2993) requires Medicaid coverage for diabetes self-management education, training, services, and equipment for patients diagnosed with diabetes, gestational diabetes, and pre-diabetes.

Under the new law, medical assistance may be provided for diabetes self-management education, and for medical nutrition therapy, that is provided by a nutritionist who holds a certified nutritionist specialist (CNS) credential from the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists.

The commissioner is to apply for the necessary State plan amendments or waivers within 180 days after the bill’s enactment, and that the bill became effective immediately upon its enactment, except that section 1 of the bill will remain inoperable until the commissioner receives federal approval of the State plan amendments or waivers that are necessary to obtain federal financial participation for State Medicaid expenditures.

The legislation was signed into law on Friday, July 21. The Assembly approved the bill 67-3-3 in June.