For Her Work on Medicare CGM Coverage, the American Bar Association Honors Debra Parrish, JD

This entry was posted in d-Tales, Inspiration. Bookmark the permalink.
Debra Parrish, JD

Debra Parrish, JD, founder of the Parrish Law Offices in Pittsburgh, PA, is the 2017 recipient of the American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Award for helping to secure access to medical treatments and technologies for Medicare beneficiaries.

About four years ago, Debra Marie Pistorino Parrish of the Parrish Law Firm in Pittsburgh, PA, was put in touch with a Medicare beneficiary and Joslin patient, whose Type 1 diabetes was so profound that she was on disability.

Her Joslin doctor, Richard Beaser, MD, had prescribed a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to enable her to control her diabetes, but Medicare had denied coverage stating the device was simply precautionary.

This problem had long plagued CGM users who were denied or cut off from CGM at age 65.

Debra Parrish took the pro bono case, advised by Dr. Beaser, and won the right of all Medicare beneficiaries to coverage for CGM.

On June 6, the American Bar Association came to Joslin to film a tribute to Debra Parrish for her work. Watch it here.

21 Responses to For Her Work on Medicare CGM Coverage, the American Bar Association Honors Debra Parrish, JD

  1. Linda parlato says:

    Attorney Parrish…you ROCK

  2. Deidre Waxman says:

    We are very happy about this but can you please share with this Attorney that the job is only half done. Medicare patients are currently denied the full se of the CGM. Unlike younger patients we must sigh under penalty of criminal behavior that we will not use the Dexcom G5 phone and share app. This leaves elders not able to share life saving data with partners and family members. This is foolish and dangerous and must be amended. Please do not think that seniors have won the full right to the use of this important and life saving technology. We are still working on it and could certainly use your help.

    • Camille Johnson says:

      You are right. I NEED full use of the CGM, not a crippled half-assed version.

    • Barb says:

      I was so excited to hear that the Dexcom CGM was being covered by Medicare. When I found out that Medicare recepients had to sign away their right to receive the information on their phones AND could NOT share the information with loved ones and/or health care professionals via the Share app, I was very disappointed. Why would this extremely useful technology be prohibited?? I cannot understand why this restriction would be implemented. Does anyone have any information on why this restriction was mandated?

      • Barb says:

        I do want to thank Debra Parrish for her hard work on getting the approval for the Dexcom CGM for Medicare recepients. I was very surprised and pleased to hear the news….the mandate that rescepients had to sign a document saying that they would not use the latest technology was a disappointment.

  3. Leanne Maskell says:

    Thank you so much for your hard work in helping get CGM coverage from Medicare! I was the first patient at Virginia Mason Endocrinology in Seattle that received Medicare coverage for my CGM.

  4. Michael Jones says:

    Thank you so much for your work. I have a level II appeal that I have been waiting 9 mos. for an answer and they still haven’t made a determination. I started a Facebook group seniors with sensors that now has over 300 members. Your name comes up!

  5. Helen Brockmeier says:

    CGMs are a necessity, not experimental. Thank you so much. As a 50yrs T1, 75 year old Medicare is my lifeline . It is not complete without CGMs. THANK YOU!

  6. Steve Zamcheck says:

    Many thanks for your help with CGM for seniors. Medicare staff is out of touch. How long must patients in need wait?
    Doctor Beaser & his dad have been my physicians for 40 yrs……The best of the best!

  7. Ruta Fox says:

    Thank you so much for your hard work. My husband is a Type 1 diabetic who suffers from unawareness. The Continuous Glucose Monitor brought normalcy to our lives and has made him a much healthier person. Deidre Waxman is right. We need help convincing Medicare to allow us to follow our loved ones blood sugar levels, especially lows. Nonetheless, you have helped my husband in more ways than one, and I deeply appreciate what you have done.

  8. Wilma Moore says:

    I just got an email stating that I could not get the Dexcom CGM because I have a medicare Advantage Plan. Is this correct or should everybody on medicare be able to get one? Thank you for your hard work and persistence.

  9. Pat Vecchio says:

    Keep up the good work! Too bad we can’t get our Congressman and other Politicians on board! To help people with type1 diabetes! To all those people working for us ! God Bless!

  10. Valerie Mann says:

    I keep getting the run around with Medtronics and Medicare when I try to get Medicare to pay for my CGM. I am a brittle type 1 Diabetic and have had Diabetes for 52 years. I read an article that said, Dr. Gabbay from Joslin Clinic, said CGM’s are now available for coverage by Medicare. MiniMed/Medtronics does not allow me to use my Medicare, and now I have to pay $240 a month for the CGM. What do I need to do to have the CGM covered by Medicare?

  11. Roger Schmurr says:

    Thumbs up for Debbie!
    Note that the Veterans’ Administration has been providing a CGM to persons over 65 for many years. It appears that different departments in the federal government are not always on the same page or even in contact with one another on such policies. In fact, even within the VA there is considerable variation in services and approvals depending on what state you live in. The VA doctor who prescribed the CGM for me years ago wouldn’t approve an insulin pump because he didn’t believe they helped Type 1 diabetics! But when I turned 65, Medicare did provide the insulin pump. Don’t hesitate to marshall the facts and confront the bureaucracy.

  12. joanna reiff says:

    I have had Type 1 diabetes for 63 years and am totally thrilled with my new CGM…also my fingers say thank you as it was necessary for me to test `10 times daily. i have lost the ability to recognize my lows so this device is an absolute necessity. i am now reponsible for driving my husband around as he has Alzheimers and lost his license so you can see how much safer i feel driving with my CGM in my pocket. Debra parrish, you have done an absolutely wonderful thing….i can’t thank you enough. please excuse the lack of capital letters….my computer is acting up.

    once again……thank you, thank you, thank you

  13. I am, this wee, a beneficiary of your generous perusal of the hide-bound administrators of medicare. As a physician, who now 78 yrs. and only recently fully retired, with type 1 DM since medical school 55yrs. ago I have found the device quite effective in allowing even finer control.

    Thank you.

  14. Joseph F. Russo says:

    I am a 79 year old male with Type 1 for 60 years now i have been wanting
    a CGM for a while. I’m confused at this point as to whether Medicare has or
    has not approved the CGM for seniors over 65. My endocrinologist has put
    the request in and paperwork for me because i need one badly. It is sad that Medicare does not want seniors with illness to live as long as we can and just want us to die.
    Can someone tell me if the CGM is definitley approved for my age or not?

  15. Mr Westgate says:

    I AM LEFALLU BLIND WITH HIGH BLOOD AND HIGH BLIID PTRSSURE BAD BLOOD GILLING ING MT EYES ALL THE TIME U GO TO A EYE DOCTOR I HAVE HAD INJECTION LAZOR TO BOTH EYES STILL HAVING AS WEKK AS NERVR DAMAHE PLUS AS WELL AS KIDBEY SO I AM TOLD I AM A TYPE 2 DIABETIC AND I CAN NOT GET THE RIGHT MEDICAL COVERAGE AND HELP MEDICARE NLUE CROSS STATE MEDIXAL COVERAGE I AM ON SSI GOVERNMEMT MONTHLY SP CALLED PAY WITCH GOVES TOO RENT BILLS AND CO PAYMENTS AS A DIABETIC TOLD AT LESS 4 TO % MEALS A DAY I JUST ABOUT AM ABLE TO PURCHASE ANOUGH TO EAR ONE MEAL ADAY HAVING A VERY HARD TIME WITH HEALTH AND LIFE AND KNOW THE AMONT OF CARBS TOO TAKT IN AS WELL CHOLSTORL BECAUSE CIABETES HEALTH PROBLEMS IN THAT AERA OF HEAKTH AS WELL DO NOT KNOW WHAT TOO DO OR HOR TO GET THE RIGHT HELP O THE RIGHT INFORMATION HEALTH WISE HELP MEDICAL HELP WISE AND OR INFORMATIOM QITH MEDICARE AS WELL AS DTATE WISE VEEN BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD WISE AM 63 AND HAVIBG A LOT OF TROUBLE AND PROBLEMS CAN YOU HELP IN ANY WAY THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME GOD BLESS

  16. Pamela Boyle says:

    THANK you for your work regarding this issue. I am a 64 year old women on Medicare disability since2010 because of my T1 diabetes. Prior to going on Medicare I used a medtronicCGM. I CAN’T AFFORD IT so I stopped using it since I’ve been on Medicare. I use a Medtronic insulin pump. I Don’t understand why they have approved the Dexcom sensor but not the Medtronic.

  17. Susan male says:

    All I can say as a senior is thx u, thx u….may all the prayers for u, as an advocate for us, be answered in your work

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *