The United States could save almost $2.5 billion annually by preventing diabetes-related hospitalizations, according to a study by the... Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, CQ HealthBeat reports (CQ HealthBeat, 3/1). According to the study, based on data from AHRQ's 2001 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, reducing hospital admissions for diabetes-related complications, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and circulation problems that can lead to amputations, could save Medicare $1.3 billion per year and Medicaid $386 million per year (AHRQ release, 3/1).
The study also found that in 2001 30% of people with diabetes who were hospitalized had two or more hospital stays, and that hospital costs for patients with multiple stays averaged $23,100, compared with $8,500 for patients who had a single hospital admission. In addition, African Americans and other minorities, as well as low-income patients regardless of race, are more likely to have multiple hospitalizations related to diabetes compared with white and higher-income patients, the study found. AHRQ Director Carolyn Clancy said the study results "highlight the importance of carefully monitoring people with diabetes who have a prior admission for the disease to prevent repeat hospitalizations, improving the care of diabetic patients who also suffer from cardiovascular disease and enhancing treatment for minorities and low-income patients"
A new research synthesis from HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality estimates that the nation could save nearly $2.5 billion a year by preventing hospitalizations due to severe diabetes complications.
Diabetes, an increasingly common chronic disease, currently affects 18 million Americans, or about 6 percent of the population. Complications from the disease that may require hospitalization include heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, as well as nerve and blood circulation problems that can lead to lower limb amputations. Complications can often be prevented or delayed with good primary care and compliance with the advice from providers. According to the research synthesis:
-- Reducing hospital admissions for diabetes complications could save the Medicare program $1.3 billion annually and Medicaid $386 million a year.
-- Nearly one-third of patients with diabetes were hospitalized two or more times in 2001 for diabetes or related conditions, and their costs averaged three times higher than those for patients with single hospital stays - $23,100 versus $8,500.
-- The risk of hospitalization for cardiovascular disease was two to four times higher in women with diabetes than in those who did not have diabetes.
-- African-American, other minority, and poor patients regardless of race or ethnicity were more likely to be hospitalized multiple times for diabetes complications than non-Hispanic white and higher income patients.
"These findings highlight the importance of carefully monitoring people with diabetes who have a prior admission for the disease to prevent repeat hospitalizations, improving the care of diabetic patients who also suffer from cardiovascular disease and enhancing treatment for minorities and low-income patients," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D.
Economic and Health Costs of Diabetes summarizes findings of studies that were based on 2001 data from AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. To access a copy online, go to
ahrq.gov/data/hcup/highlight1/high1.htm. For a printed copy, call the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse at (800) 358-9295 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.