Preventing Hospitalizations for Diabetes Could Save United States $2.5 Billion Annually, AHRQ Says
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. Women with diabetes were two to four times as likely to be hospitalized for cardiovascular disease as women who did not have diabetes, according to the study. 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" (CQ HealthBeat, 3/1). The study is available online.