New Medicare Diabetic Therapeutic Shoe Program
Diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions in the United States. During the past decade there has been an increase of 33% with the diabetic population currently topping 16 million people. There are many complications associated with diabetes including kidney, heart, vision, circulatory and foot problems.
The good news is that many of these potential problems can be minimized as a result of lifestyle changes, medications and other preventative care.
Amputations, or partial amputations, of the feet and legs are also growing at an alarming rate. In fact, it is the leading cause of non-traumatic amputation in the United States. Recently, a task force was created by officials from Medicare, the American Podiatric Medical Association ad the American Diabetes Association in order to explore ways to reduce the number of amputations in the diabetic populations.
The number of these lower extremity amputations grew by 28% in just the past several years. However, it has been determined that over half of these amputations could have been prevented by timely conservative footcare.
Drs. Barry and Debra Klein have recently become a part of a national network of podiatric physicians providing protective foot care for diabetic patients who may be at risk. Medicare coverage for protective footwear and shoe inserts has helped to reduce foot complications.
As authorized Medicare suppliers, they are qualified to evaluate, prescribe and dispense these protective products to patients. They accurately point out that hardly any patients are aware of the Medicare coverage for preventative care. And as a result of this lack of awareness, only 3% of the population who may be qualified to receive the Medicare footwear benefit actually do.