According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 37 million Americans have diabetes — and a new Florida law aims to make things easier for those living in the state.

The law, which went into effect on Oct. 1, will help make continuous glucose monitors (CGM) more accessible to those with Medicaid who qualify, potentially affecting more than 2 million Floridians.

What You Need To Know

  • House Bill 967 went into effect on Oct. 1 and requires Medicaid to provide qualifying patients diagnosed diabetes the ability to get a continuous glucose monitor

  • The bill requires the Agency for Health Care Administration to provide the coverage, pending the availability of funds and any parameters provided in the General Appropriations Act

  • Christina Martin says she founded the Type Zero Foundation based on her own personal experience with Type 1 diabetes

  • The local nonprofit organization offers support to individuals and families impacted by diabetes

Christina Martin said her Type 1 diabetes diagnosis at age 13 had a profound affect on her life.

“It was a very scary and confusing experience for me, and I felt very alone," she said. "Me and my family trying to navigate living with this disease, and we didn’t know what it meant."

Inside Martin’s backpack there’s something she takes everywhere she goes, her glucose meter.

“What’s really cool about this is that it looks like a wallet,” she said, noting that for her, it’s much more than that. “It’s not something that everyone can access, and that’s a huge problem.”

Under House Bill 967, Medicaid is required to provide qualifying patients diagnosed with diabetes with the ability to have a CGM if their provider writes a prescription.

The bill requires the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to provide coverage for the monitors under the Medicaid pharmacy benefit to treat Medicaid recipients diagnosed with diabetes, subject to the availability of funds and any parameters provided in the General Appropriations Act.

A CGM is defined under the bill as: "A device designed for the purpose of aiding in the treatment of diabetes by measuring glucose levels on demand, or at set intervals through a small, electronic sensor that slightly penetrates a person’s skin when applied and that is designed to remain in place and active for at least 7 days."

In order to qualify for this benefit, a Medicaid recipient must be diagnosed with a type of diabetes that may be treated with insulin, and prescribed insulin and a CGM by an authorized health care practitioner, and participate in applicable follow-up care.

The bill requires the AHCA to seek federal approval, if needed, for implementation. The bill also requires the AHCA to include the fiscal impact of the bill in the rate-setting process for Medicaid managed care plans for the contract year that started on Oct. 1.

“It’s great that we are beginning to make diabetes products and life saving devices more accessible and checking our blood sugar is something we have to do to live,” Martin said.

Martin founded the nonprofit Type Zero Foundation in October 2016 to serve the Central Florida area, including Orlando, Lake Mary, Sanford, Oviedo, Kissimmee and Clermont. She said the group's mission is to provide everyday support to individuals and families affected diabetes.

Martin said the organization partners with local organizations to host meaningful monthly events, offer mentoring, and a dance and sports program for children and adults.

“Through Type Zero Foundation and Stronger Than 1 Fitness League, which is the personal training side of things, this is how I’m really able to help people on a daily level and just at the ground level to live their best life,” she said.

From her own personal experience with Type 1 diabetes and her degree in kinesiology, Martin said she trains people through a series of workouts, as well as blood sugar management.

“Just hearing someone say, 'I don’t know if I can do something like this, like, oh my gosh, I have to commit to one day a week, two days a week? Like how am I going to organize this with my life?' ... and then a year later, they’re hiking and they’re doing savage races and all of this stuff that they never thought that they could do,” Martin said.

Julia Masterson and Christy Peters were diagnosed with diabetes and say that since they started training with Martin, they have seen a change in their lives.

“And the reason I say that is because I’m down 40 pounds and my blood sugar has dropped to almost normal for A1C,” Peters said.

At the end of each training session, Martin said she makes sure to monitor both their blood sugar levels.

“Activity is an important part of taking and keeping control of your blood sugar and Type 2 diabetes, especially insulin-resistant Type 2 diabetes," Masterson said. "So, it makes me feel good to be part of it and it makes me feel good physically."

Martin said her goal with the Type Zero Foundation is to continue helping people with diabetes achieve their full capability and empower them to accomplish their goals.

Florida Medicaid currently covers CGMs for children under 21. The new law expands the accessibility of the devices to more Medicaid recipients who qualify, subject to the availability of funds.