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Edmonton hospital pauses admissions to insulin pump program

The Grey Nuns Community Hospital in southeast Edmonton is not accepting patients for its Insulin Pump Therapy program for six months.

Covenant Health, the company that operates the hospital, cited "capacity concerns" and "wait times for patients with gestational diabetes" as part of its decision.

"During this time, there will be no impact to patients currently enrolled in the Insulin Pump Therapy program," Covenant Health said in a statement to CTV News Edmonton.

The backlog is affecting Adrienne Tomusiak, a Type 1 diabetes patient who's been waiting to get into a program for nearly three years.

She bought her own pump, which usually costs about $7,000 and needs to be replaced every five years, and pays for her monthly supplies.

"You can spend anywhere from $200-400 a month just on [supplies]," Tomusiak said. "That depends if you have any insurance to cover…if you don't have insurance, that's what this program is supposed to be for."

Chris Gallaway, the executive director for Friends of Medicare, is worried patients will seek private clinics instead.

"If you have coverage through benefits or the money to pay and avoid the wait list to get into the program, we don't think that's fair," he told CTV News.

He wants coverage expanded to include more supplies and would like to see a provincial diabetes strategy.

Tomusiak agrees: "It's just so much uncertainty all the time about whether we will get access to the programs we need."

New admissions are being referred to the Kaye Clinic and two other community programs in the Edmonton Zone, Covenant Health said, but Tamuseiak is not optimistic she will be accepted soon.

CTV News reached out to Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services for comment. 

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Chelan Skulski Top Stories

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