Vitamin D Testing Scandal!
If you live in Canada you've probably heard the recent news about the OHIPs/Medicares decision to no longer cover vitamin D testing unless you have a specific health-related problem connected to low vitamin D levels. Testing will remain for medical disorders like, "... osteoporosis, rickets, osteopenia, malabsorption syndromes, and renal disease, or drugs that affect Vitamin D metabolism according to the Ontario Medical Association."
This will be a major blow for patients who need to know their D levels to help with diabetes, heart disease, cancer, IBS, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, MS, seasonal affective disorder, schizophrenia and many more. Just think about all the medical disorders that are affected by your D level that aren't listed above, but if you have one of those you can pay for your testing. If you can't afford this, then you'll have to go without this crucial testing. We also heard a very similar proposal here in the U.S., not to long ago, so will we follow suit on vitamin D testing restrictions?
An astounding 70% of children and adults in the U.S. are D deficient, and the figures in Canada must be comparable and they won't be able to get reimbursement for this test.
Since vitamin D is so crucial for the prevention of diseases, it seems odd to limit the coverage on this test, when it could save millions in future medical treatment costs, because its use is paramount in preventing these diseases. It makes much more sense to allow the coverage of this test for the sake of patients' health and the prevention of very costly medical conditions that are a result of this deficiency. We have thousands of studies that support the importance of D, and how it can prevent health conditions. The savings Medicare would see from maintaining this coverage would be extremely substantial.
"There are at least 50 diseases that can be prevented with adequate vitamin D blood levels. Why, then, is it that provincial governments refuse to cover the cost of testing that could not only save lives, but also save millions of Canadians from untold suffering? Government medical advisors and spokesmen are lying to the public when they say that there is no evidence for wide scale vitamin D blood testing. Either these people are utter idiots or there is a financial benefit to someone somewhere. I have to say this because the evidence is that overwhelming, according to Zoltan P. Rona, M.D. M.Sc."
If you live in Canada, you can pay for the test; and the approximate price is $51.70, for a 25-hydroxy vitamin D test.
For supporting literature on the use of vitamin D and its importance, see the Vitamin D Council's web site.
To speak out on this topic contact the Minister of Health by writing a letter explaining your objections to this coverage change. You can also include supporting evidence, along with your letter, which you can obtain from the Vitamin D Council. You need to explain, that vitamin D testing is not a test that is done once in a while, but more likely every six weeks, if you are on a prescribed dose or you are just trying to maintain your levels with the appropriate amount for you, based on your test score. If you can't get this testing, you will not know if what you are taking is enough or when you can taper back. If you do indeed need to have this test done every 6 weeks or so, that is done until you reach your optimal level, which means you'll be asked to pay $51.70 several times or more two times a year.
Don't let this backward step, in vitamin D progress happen. Contact your Minister of Health today!
- Vitamin D Scandal: Ontario Government Canceling OHIP Coverage for Vitamin D Testing, Zoltan P. Rona, M.D. M.Sc., The Canadian National Newspaper; November 13, 2010 http://lecanadian.com/2010/11/12/vitamin-d-scandal-ontario-government-cancelling-ohip-coverage-for-vitamin-d-testing/ (Retrieved: November 13, 2010)