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31% of Hospitalized Patients in CA are Diabetics, Study Reports

Update Date: May 16, 2014 02:47 PM EDT

Type 2 diabetes can lead to potentially fatal consequences when left untreated and unmonitored. In a new study, researchers and health advocates analyzed hospitalization records in California. They found that 31 percent of all hospitalizations in patients aged 35 and older had diabetes back in 2011. The researchers concluded that the diabetes situation in California is a huge contributor to rising hospital expenses.

The research team headed by Ying-Ting Meng from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Center for Health Policy Research analyzed data taken from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development as well as other sources that had information on hospitalizations.

They found that in 2011, one in every three patients in the age group of 35 and older that were hospitalized had diabetes. The team explained that even though diabetes might not be the cause of the hospitalizations, the high percentage of diabetic patients suggests that the disease is greatly affecting health care costs within the state. The team calculated that the average cost of hospitalization for a diabetic was $2,200 more than the average cost of hospitalization for a patient without diabetes.

"The state pays $1.6 billion for these extra costs," Meng said reported by the Los Angeles Times. "If we could prevent some of those hospitalizations, then the resources could be moved toward preventive measures."

When the team examined the rates based on ethnic and racial groups they found that the highest rates of hospitalized diabetic patients were Latinos and African Americans at 43.2 percent and 39.3 percent respectively. In terms of regions, Imperial County had the highest rate of hospitalized diabetic patients with 41 percent where as Nevada County had the lowest rate at 19.9 percent.

"If you have diabetes, you are more likely to be hospitalized, and your stay will cost more," said Meng reported by Medical Xpress. "There is now overwhelming evidence to show that diabetes is devastating not just to patients and families but to the whole health care system."

The study, "Diabetes Tied to a Third of California Hospital Stays, Driving Health Care Costs Higher," can be found here.

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