Diabetes affects your body’s ability to heal and can even affect your ability to feel pain in your extremities. Therefore, it is vital that diabetic patients examine their feet on a daily basis and have an examination by a podiatrist at least once a year. Shoe gear is also very important; diabetics should wear shoes at all times to protect their feet. Shoes should be well-fitting, made of stretchable, breathable materials, and with supportive foot beds or insoles.
DIABETIC SHOE PROGRAM
In order to help diabetics obtain correct shoe gear and prevent or reduce the number of ulcerations, injuries, and amputations, Medicare, Medicare replacement plans, and some private insurances will assist their diabetic patients in paying for diabetic shoes. For qualifying patients, these insurance plans will pay up to 80% of the cost of the shoes and inserts, each calendar year. In order to qualify, certain conditions must be present and an exact process must take place:The patient’s primary care provider (or the doctor that manages the patient’s diabetes) must first examine the patient and document in their medical records the patient’s current plan for management of diabetes, such as diagnostics (blood glucose test or A1C), diet, exercise regimen, and/or medications. They must also document the patient’s foot deformities or conditions, including but not limited to: bunions, hammertoes, neuropathy (loss of protective sensation in the feet), ulcerations, or amputation.
- The patient sees one of our podiatrists for a podiatric foot examination. At that visit, the patient’s feet are thoroughly examined, their shoe gear is evaluated, foot measurements (both length and width) are obtained, and the patient and podiatrist agree on the proper shoe style to fit the patient’s needs and preferences.
- The podiatrist’s office sends the podiatrist’s medical records and paperwork fully documenting the foot examination visit to the patient’s primary care doctor (or the doctor who manages the patient’s diabetes), who signs the medical records agreeing with the podiatrist’s prescription for diabetic shoes.
- Once the podiatrist’s office has the signed medical records from the primary care doctor’s visit, as well as the podiatrist’s visit, they place the order for the shoes in the style, size, and color decided upon at the podiatric exam visit, as well as any inserts for the shoes.
- Once the shoes arrive, the patient returns to the podiatrist’s office to ensure the shoes fit well and are to the patient’s liking. If not, the shoes can be returned and a different style, color, or fit can be ordered. Once the correct shoes and inserts are obtained, both the shoes and insoles are dispensed to the patient. The podiatrist’s office will follow up with the patient if any problems arise with the shoe gear.
The value of a good pair of shoes is immeasurable for any patient, but can mean life or death in diabetic patients. Take advantage of this beneficial program today!!