Lawmakers say diabetes screening should be a priority for Medicare beneficiaries

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Diabetes screening and prevention for Medicare beneficiaries should be a "top priority" says a bipartisan group of 19 senators in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt.

The senators, who include John Cornyn (R-TX) and Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), ask Leavitt to encourage the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other agencies within HHS to work together to identify and screen the nearly 40% of Medicare beneficiaries with pre-diabetes. The letter quoted a recent study published in the journal Diabetes Care that estimates that 61% of the approximately 35 million Medicare beneficiaries age 65 or older have diabetes or pre-diabetes.

A large percentage of nursing home residents have diabetes or suffer from its effects. Making diabetes prevention a priority is critical to addressing and controlling the many chronic conditions related to the illness, the letter said.

The letter can be viewed at http://op.bna.com/hl.nsf/r?Open=thyd-6w7kgu .