Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Advice Needed

Over the weekend I attended the ADA Diabetes Expo here is sunny Southern California. My main reason for going was to hang out with my friends Jaimie and Cherise and their kids. We also met up with Jenny who is a twitter pal of ours so I had lots of reasons to go.

I have been to one of these before and it was a total let down. A lot of people looking for free stuff. A lot of things for the newly diagnosed which is great for them but for me, it always was a let down.

This one was no different.

I understand that the epidemic is in Type 2 diabetes and not Type 1 although our numbers are on the rise. Still, I always feel so out of place at diabetes conventions, events, and classes because they tend to focus on Type 2 stuff. We do have many things in common but still we have different diseases.

Don’t get me wrong Type 2’s I have all the love for you! It is just kind of a bummer because I sometimes get the sense that there is some big wig somewhere saying, “Well those type 1’s can never get off of insulin so lets pump up the type 2’s. At least they have a chance of avoiding the dreaded shots!”

When someone gets diagnosed with type 2 the first thing they want to know is how they can avoid shots. “Yeah but if I exercise and eat right I won’t have to take shots right?” That question gets thrown my way a lot and I guess I would ask it too. It just sucks because I have no choice.

Type 1’s have no choice.

Alright, this is going where I did not mean it to but I believe everything happens for a reason so I will not delete my rambling above and carry on.

**Back at the expo**

So Jaimie was talking to a representative from Medtronic and I saw her reference me to the rep. I walked over to meet her and here is how the conversation went.

“Hi I’m George.”

“I’m Kelly. So which model are you using?” Jaimie told her that I was a Minimed user.

“The 722.”

“Oh do you have the sensors?”

“I do not.”

“How come?” When she said this I almost slapped her. I mean, I thought, “really is she asking me this?”

“Well, I was speaking to a representative a while ago about it but I have not heard back from her so I have no clue what is going on.”

“Which insurance do you have?”

“Blue Cross.”

“Oh well they’ll cover it. As long as you are a type 1 and have at least 3 lows under 50 in a month.”

“I do and I know. I sent all that stuff in. Apparently the problem is with my medical group and not insurance. But I have no clue what is going on.”

“Which medical group is it?” I noticed her voice got quiet.

“Bright Medical Group.”

“Wait. What is your name?”

“George Simmons.”

“George! It’s Kelly! I am the sales rep you have been emailing!”

No flipping way.

And then it began. I told her how I was upset that I never heard back from her or the inside rep helping me. I explained to her that an email saying, “I am still working on it” is better then no response. I told her that I felt no love from Medtronic and that I was really upset.

She was very apologetic and assured me she would get back to me as soon as possible and that I was at the top of her inbox with a Red Flag on it so she would check on it for me first thing.

I still have not heard from her.

So now do I tell Decom to stop what they are doing? Do I tell Minimed to stop what they are doing (now that I guess they are actually still working on it) or do I just sit back and let them duke it out?

I need advice please, oh great and wise OC.


micksmom28 said...

Just let them duke it out! I hate it when they keep you hanging. Once the people finally got back to me it only took 4 days to get my treatment started! The worst part is the wait. . . make them work!!!

P.S. My word verification is "acure." Amen to that! We are all looking for a cure!!!

Rachel said...

Let them fight over you :)

Like I said the other night, you're much further along the path to CGMS than it seems G will be anytime soon, thanks to an unsupportive endo. keep fighting.

(And at Denver's Expo, I felt very out of place because everything was about CGMS and type 1 research.)

tmana said...

G, did you get Kelly's card? Sometimes a phone call will get through where the e-mail won't.

Cara said...

I'd figure out which sensor you want worse. If it's MiniMed, I'd call every day until I heard something. If not, head for the other one.
Do you have a MiniMed representative through your doctor's office? That's who I always deal with. He's not really a sales rep. He is, but he isn't. He deals more one-on-one w/ the doctor's offices and with the clients.
Oh, and if you have Kelly's last name, you can call MiniMed and look her up on the phone index and leave her messages. :)

CALpumper said...

First, am I the only one confused as to what you mean by "sensors"?
For a CGM? A pump?

Either way, letting them duke it out leaves you a bit less stressed. The waiting is the worst, no doubt.

You can always call, leave messages. It does grab their attention. Any "complaint" should.

I was blessed with my Animas advocate contact who worked with my Endo and my health insurance at the time, 4 yrs ago, when I wanted the pump. The insurance company made me wait. I offered to fax over a copy of my pancreas to prove it does not produce insulin.

It's tough to get what we need but advocating for ourselves is key.

Good luck and keep us posted!

Great verification word micksmom28!!!

Kerri. said...

I'm with Cara - decide which CGM you want to move forward with and pelt the "chosen" company with emails and phone calls.

(You know me - I'll join in the pelting on your behalf! I'm pro-pelt.)

And in all seriousness, a company should be chomping at the freaking bit when we choose to go with them. They make a ton of money off us, and it's about time they got smart about remembering that IT'S OUR CHOICE to use their product. A little customer service goes a long way in reeling us in.

Carol said...

Personally, I'd give them both another week and see what happens. I'm playing the waiting game right now too, but just with Minimed. They shipped their pump to me prior to getting the CGM approval from my ins. Apparently the pump people don't talk to the CGM people. I'm told the CGM is likely to get approved, but I'm not opening/using the pump until I get the CGM. The CGM/pump combo is why I agreed to make the switch right now from my Cozmo to MM. No CGM = pump goes back to MM and I see what happens when my Cozmo warranty expires in a couple of years.

It really is hard to wait once you see that CGM dangling in front of you though.

Scott K. Johnson said...

Yeah, I can see how that is a tough decision.

What does your gut tell you?

Colleen said...

First thought - email her a "red flag photo" every day -

Hmm, must not be a great idea, my word verification is "realbor."

Oh well, Good Luck George!

landileigh said...

i'm on the "bug 'em every day" vibe. they'll want to take care of you to get ya to stop!

Sara said...

At this point, I would say it is a matter of you choosing which company you want to go with.

I have trialed both of them through various means, and for me, the Dexcom was significantly more comfortable. But - you would be sacrificing the convenience of having only one transmitter (i.e. your pump).

I am also the type of person who holds a grudge, so I would take my money and go somewhere else just to 'stick it' to MiniMed. Mature - I know!

Harry said...

I had the exact opposite problem. My inside rep at Medtronic actually sent me a letter because I hadn't responded to his emails. Truth be told I kind of put the appeal on the back burner for a while because of job stuff and not being sure how long I'd actually be with the evil BCBS provider, but I still suck for not responding and telling him that. Sorry for your situation though...put another check in the "let 'em duke it out" column for me.

k2 said...

Let them fight over u G, your totally worth it!
Your business is worth big bucks and they should be courting you; answering your questions,and working to get your business.
Call both reps up,and see who does all of the above.

Lee Ann Thill said...

Hmm, well, I can say I feel your anger about MM's response issues since I've had them myself - although I only use the sensors since I have an Animas pump. When I started the process of getting a CGM, I wanted a Dexcom, but my insurance company would only pay for the MM, so that's what I ended up with. If I had a choice, I'd go with Dexcom, assuming they're responsive and you don't feel put off by them, and you actually want that system. I'm biased though since I too have been disappointed with MM customer service. Kerri's right that a little of that goes a long way. Having been happy with the customer service I've gotten through Animas, I'm a loyal Animas pump user, and have no intention of ever switching.

Corey said...

I agree with the others who say let them both fight over/for you.

I also wanted to comment on the ADA Expo. I went to one in Milwaukee a year ago last Nov (can't remember who put it on, but I think it's a company out of California). It was embarassing in actual Expo part. People were walking out of there with every free meter being given away. Some vendor gave out free bags and people were marching around with those bags full - of meters. Of course no one was giving away test strips, so I'm not sure what these douche bags will be doing with these meters.

As far as the education part, this expo had a lot of diabetes 'prevention' stuff, which I suppose is important, but I already have f'ng diabetes, so I don't need the preventitive stuff any longer. I saw very little focusing on T1's. I don't know if this company focuses the type of expo they put on based what city they are in, but that's what happened in Milwaukee.

I think they're coming back to Milw again this fall. I will have to see what their agenda looks like. It was only $25, but it took up a whole weekend day.