News, Skilled Nursing Facility

First prick-free glucose monitor covered by Medicare announced

Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes now have access to Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre System, a device that allows individuals to keep track of their glucose levels without having to routinely prick their finger. The device was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in September and started being offered in U.S. pharmacies this past November.

Patients who use the device can measure their glucose levels through a sensor the size of a quarter, which sits on the back of the upper arm and can be worn for up to 10 days. Users then place a hand held reader over the sensor to determine the dose of insulin that needs to be administered based on the reader’s results. This device is the first of its kind, offering patients a more convenient and painless approach to monitoring their diabetes most of the time. Users may still be required to prick their finger if their symptoms don’t match the system reading or if they get especially high or low readings.

Abbott’s device is being offered in the U.S. for $36 per sensor and $70 for the reader, though prices may vary.