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New Public Safe-Care Act protects patients with diabetes

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People who use insulin for diabetes now have a protective plan to eliminate the embarrassment of publicly giving themselves insulin shots. The governor signed State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) and the Illinois State Medical Society’s timely initiative into law Friday.

Insulin is a hormone that aids the body in absorbing glucose and maintaining a balance to avoid high or low blood sugar when one's pancreas fails to do so. Insulin is administered by injection with syringes or pens, and dosage may be based on a blood glucose test for use before a meal. Depending on the patient and type of insulin, it may be injected in the abdomen, thigh, arm or buttocks, which may require baring a bit of skin. Most insulin users carry kits with their medication, blood glucose tester and related supplies so they can administer treatment anywhere.

Hunter-diabetes“When someone needs an insulin shot, they may not have time to find a convenient restroom," said Hunter, member of the Illinois Legislative Diabetes Caucus. “If they need to inject in a public space, there can be potential for embarrassment for people who already manage a difficult disease. This protection lessens the likelihood they may delay or skip treatment, which can save lives.”

ISMS brought the initiative to Hunter’s attention after physicians expressed their patients’ growing concerns. The health-rights law, inspired by the Right to Breastfeed Act, comes at a time when nearly 1 in 12 Illinoisans are diagnosed with diabetes.

The groundbreaking law is part of a larger legislative package aimed at helping people prevent and manage diabetes. Hunter has been at the forefront of protecting funds for diabetes research.

The new law, Senate Bill 3149, took effect immediately.