Noteworthy News

Numbers Link Medicaid Expansion, Diabetes Diagnoses

One of the primary arguments made by the National Association of Urban Hospitals in favor of government reimbursement policies that support the work of urban safety-net hospitals is that the patients they serve have had sporadic contact with the health care system over the years and often present with medical problems that go well beyond the immediate reason that brings them to hospitals.

Now comes new information that supports that argument.

The medical testing company Quest Diagnostics has found that the number of Medicaid patients its testing has found to have diabetes has risen more than 24 percent during two recent six-month review periods in states that have expanded their Medicaid programs while the number of such patients found to have diabetes in states that did not expand their Medicaid programs saw only a 0.4 percent increase in diabetes diagnoses.

Because of where they are located, urban safety-net hospitals serve higher proportions of Medicaid patients than the typical community hospital and are therefore more likely to be caring for these more challenging patients newly diagnosed with diabetes.

For more information about the Quest findings and their implications, see this New York Times article. In addition, the latest edition of the journal Diabetes Care presents a study on the subject. See that article here.

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