New report finds hospital stays for diabetes increasing
Diabetes-related hospitalizations have increased 38 percent among Pennsylvanians under 45 since 2000, contributing to an estimated $206 million in hospital payments statewide last year alone.
The figures for the state’s younger residents, part of a research brief released Wednesday, “are especially concerning, given the long-term complications that can accompany diabetes,” said Joe Martin, executive director of the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4), which produced the report.
Untreated diabetes can lead to a host of problems, including heart and kidney disease, infections that may result in amputation and vision problems that can lead to blindness.
While the report recorded 24,283 hospitalizations for diabetes last year, an additional 333,580 hospitalizations listed diabetes as a secondary diagnosis.
The PHC4 analysis found that about 86 percent of the adult hospitalizations it reviewed were “potentially preventable” if the patient had been diagnosed in a timely manner and the disease was well managed.
Locally, Allegheny County had the highest hospitalization rate at 20.6 hospital admissions per 10,000 residents, although that was slightly lower than its 20.9 admissions rate in 2000. A total of 2,525 hospitalizations wererecorded in 2016.
Mercer County also showed improvement — from 25 admissions per 10,000 in 2000 to 23.4 admissions last year — though it still had the highest rate in the region.
Other local rates were 21.5 in Fayette County, 20.1 in Westmoreland County, 18.8 in Beaver County, 17.6 in Washington County, 16.2 in Armstrong County, 15.7 in Butler County. 14.1 in Somerset County and 14.0 in Greene County.
Nationally, the hospitalization rate for diabetes was 17.4 per 10,000 residents in 2014, the most recent data available. Pennsylvania’s rate that year was 18.7 per 10,000 residents.
PHC4 is an independent state agency that collects and analyzes hospital data, looking for ways to improve quality and hold down costs.