Diabetes strip proposal made

Oregon’s Health Evidence Review Commission issued new recommendations at its meeting Thursday in Tualatin that dramatically reduce the number of test strips the state’s Medicaid program will cover for some Type 2 diabetics.

For Type 2 diabetics who don’t require multiple daily insulin injections, HERC recommends the Oregon Health Plan cover 50 test strips and related supplies at the time they’re diagnosed, but no further strips beyond that point, said Rebeka Gipson-King, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Health Authority.

The new recommendation demonstrates a shift from a preliminary plan approved in August by a HERC subcommittee that would have provided one test strip per week for Type 2 diabetics who don’t require multiple daily insulin injections. That recommendation had drawn significant backlash from diabetes patients and advocates who claimed one strip per week would not provide for sufficient testing.

Non-insulin dependent Type 2s currently receive 100 strips per 90 days, or about eight per week through OHP.

HERC also recommended that diabetics taking medications known to cause hypoglycemia — low blood sugar — receive up to 50 test strips every 90 days. It also recommends an additional 50 strips be provided to diabetics who experience rapid fluctuations in their blood sugar levels or who adjust their medications.

Many of those who protested the one strip per week recommendation argued that diabetics’ physicians should decide how often their patients should test their blood sugar, not HERC. They said many Type 2 diabetics need to test before and after activities like meals and exercise to learn how they affect their blood sugar levels.

HERC also issued a strong recommendation that all diabetics develop a structured education and feedback program for monitoring their blood sugar levels.

For Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics who require multiple daily insulin injections, HERC recommends they receive home blood glucose monitors and related diabetic supplies.

Burn planned near Phil’s Trailhead

If weather conditions are right today, firefighters from the Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District plan to ignite burn piles around Phil’s Trailhead.

While the woodpile burning won’t close any trails, people may encounter smoke near the trailhead, according to the Deschutes National Forest.

The piles are on 372 acres, and it should take about two weeks to burn all of them, according to the forest. Morning smoke caused by the burning will likely be visible in Bend over the next couple weeks.

Period of comment for paved paths closing

The comment window for a pair of paved path projects near Sisters is set to close around the middle of the month, the Sisters Ranger District announced Thursday.

Public comments are due by Dec. 18, according to the district. The district Nov. 7 reopened the comment period for a proposed path between Sisters and the Crossroads development and another proposed path from Sisters to the Tollgate development to Black Butte Ranch.

Written comments may be dropped off at the district office at Pine Street and U.S. Highway 20 in Sisters. They can also be mailed to Kristie Miller, district ranger, P.O. Box 249, Sisters, OR 97759 or faxed to 541-549-7746. And the comments can be emailed to comments-pacificnorthwest-deschutes-sisters@fs.fed.us. Put “Sisters Ranger District paved path projects” in the subject line of emails. To give a verbal comment stop by the office or call 541-549-7735.

Snowmobilers asked to steer clear

Ochoco National Forest officials are asking snowmobilers to stay off a forest road near Walton Sno-Park due to ongoing logging.

Forest Road 22 will be plowed and trucks will be hauling logs from the K9 timber sale, which is north of Big Summit Prairie, according to the forest.

The logging is expected to continue through winter.

—From Bulletin staff reports