Public Hospitals Provide Good Diabetes Care

But minorities and uninsured fare a little worse, survey found

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WEDNESDAY, June 22, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Public hospitals in the United States do a good job of managing the care of diabetes patients, but there are still disparities in care for minority and uninsured patients, according to the results of a study of seven public hospital systems from across the nation.

The study found that even though public hospitals provide care to a very large volume of underserved patients, they are able to maintain quality care for diabetes patients. In fact, the seven public hospital systems included in the study had patient outcomes comparable to -- and in some cases, better than -- the national average for diabetes care.

Two-thirds of diabetes patients at these seven public hospitals maintained moderate control of their diabetes. Patients at these hospitals also had cholesterol levels that were similar to or better than those of patients in national surveys, the researchers found.

However, the study did find that Hispanic and black diabetes patients at public centers were less likely than white diabetics to have their disease under good control. It also found that uninsured diabetes patients received less care compared to their insured peers.

American Diabetes Association-related education programs and hospital pharmacy clinics were linked to better outcomes among diabetes patients at these hospitals, the study said.

The survey was conducted by the Consortium for Quality Improvement in Safety Net Hospitals and Health Systems. The study, convened by the National Public Health and Hospital Institute with support from The Commonwealth Fund, was released Wednesday.

"These findings show that public hospitals have established effective programs for patients with diabetes. While there is room for improvement, public hospital systems can effectively manage long-term chronic conditions," study author Marsha Regenstein, director of the National Public Health and Hospital Institute, said in a prepared statement.

More information

The National Diabetes Education Program outlines steps to control diabetes for life.

SOURCE: Commonwealth Fund, news release, June 22, 2005

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