As a nurse practitioner in regional Victoria, MaryJane’s specialty in diabetes management has helped improve the quality of life for hundreds of patients who can get affordable treatment because of Medicare.
In 2021, an estimated 1 in 20 Australians were living with diagnosed diabetes. That’s 1.3 million people (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare).
In regional Victoria, MaryJane sees over 80 diabetes patients each week.
Diabetes is all about the numbers. The number of appointments, blood tests to monitor the blood glucose levels, medications, insulin doses, and the number of preventable hospital admissions associated with diabetes.
Medicare allows patients to access these diabetes treatments at a more affordable price.
The impact of diabetes is growing. To change this trajectory our patients need to be educated on how to best manage this disease.
Medicare access means our patients can attend appointments and be taught about their condition while receiving medical advice on what steps they can take to improve their quality of life.
MaryJane has come across countless cases where her patients have benefited from their access to Medicare, but there is one patient’s story that stands out for her.
I once worked with a 35-year-old man who was living in a caravan park. He was not engaged with healthcare services. Our outreach team contacted me asking if I could bulk bill him as he had extremely high blood sugars (hyperglycaemia) and required medications for other health ailments.
On review, this gentleman was at risk of complications of diabetes and risk of deterioration with his other conditions without use of regular medications. Because he did not have the financial burden of attending the appointments, we were able to conduct several appointments to build up his knowledge of management of his conditions.
His conditions are now stable, proving that one can live well with diabetes, reducing the impact of the disease and improving quality of life. This would not have been possible if he had to pay for his appointments.
For MaryJane’s patients, Medicare provides a direct line to treatment that many would not be able to get without it.
Medicare removes the disparity in access to treatment. It allows access to education and support, and it ensures medications are affordable. With Medicare, we have a path for change, and a path for better outcomes for the people of Australia.