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Are low-income elderly patients at risk for poor diabetes care?

Published: May 1, 2004
Category: Papers
Authors: Barton P, Hamman RF, McCall DT, Reusch JE, Sauaia A
Country: United States
Language: null
Type: Population Health
Setting: Government

Diabetes Care 27:1060-1065.

Colorado Foundation for Medical Care, Denver, CO, USA

OBJECTIVE: Diabetes is common among low-income elderly, dual-eligible (DE) Medicare/Medicaid patients resulting in significant morbidity, mortality, and cost. However, the quality of diabetes care delivered to these patients has not been evaluated. The aims of this study were to describe the quality of diabetes care provided to DE patients and compare it with non-DE patients.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: This was a cross-sectional analysis of administrative claims from 1 January 1997 through 31 December 1998. A total of 9,453 patients aged 65-75 years with diabetes participated in the study. These were Colorado Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) outpatients. The main outcome measures consisted of a proportion of patients receiving an annual hemoglobin A1c test, biennial eye examination, biennial lipid test, and all three of these care processes.

RESULTS: The mean patient age was 71 +/- 2.8 years. Over 22% of patients were identified as dual eligible, and they were significantly more likely to be younger, female, and of minority race/ethnicity; reside in a rural location; and have comorbid conditions compared with the non-DE population. DE patients had more visits to primary care physicians, emergency departments, and hospitalizations but were less likely to visit endocrinologists. DE patients were significantly less likely to receive an annual A1c test (73 vs. 81%; P < 0.0001), biennial ophthalmologic examination (63 vs. 75%; P 0.0001), and biennial lipid testing (43 vs. 57%; P 0.0001). The adjusted odds ratio of urban DE patiets receiving all three care measures was 0.60 (95% CI 0.52-0.69) compared with urban non-DE patients. Minority race/ethnicity and emergency department use were significantly associated with not receiving diabetes care, whereas endocrinology visits were associated with an increased odds of receiving diabetes care.

CONCLUSIONS: DE Medicare/Medicaid status was independently associated with not receiving diabetes care, especially among those in urban areas.

PMID: 15111521

Cost Burden Evaluation,High-Impact Chronic Conditions,Population Markers,United States,Aged,Child,Colorado/epidemiology,Co-morbidity,Cross-Sectional Studies,Diabetes Mellitus,Type 2/epidemiology,Ethnic Groups,Gender,Medicare,Primary Health Care/standards,Primary Health Care/statistics & numerical data,Risk Factors,Socioeconomic Factors

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