Diabetes Hospitalization Report 2000 - News Release


Contact: Joe Martin, Communications Director
717-232-6787 or


Harrisburg, PA - November 16, 2001 - A new government study, released today in conjunction with National Diabetes Awareness Month, reports that hospitalizations where diabetes was either a primary or secondary diagnosis rose 12% from 1995 to 1999. According to the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4), these hospitalizations represented 15.5% of all inpatient hospitalizations in 1999 - up from 13.6% in 1995. Diabetes is an incurable, chronic and often disabling disease that affects nearly 16 million Americans - including more than 500,000 Pennsylvanians - and is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. About one-third of Americans with diabetes are unaware that they have it.

"The most recent figures suggest that diabetes continues to be a significant public health challenge," stated Marc P. Volavka, Executive Director of PHC4. "Efforts to better diagnose, prevent and manage this disease cannot be overemphasized."

The latest report from PHC4 supports recent (separate) findings by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the International Diabetes Foundation that the incidence and resulting severity of the disease is growing. Both groups found that diabetes was on the rise, particularly among younger people.

Diabetes is actually a group of diseases characterized by high levels of blood glucose in the body resulting from defects in insulin secretion, insulin action, or both. Although incurable, diabetes is a highly manageable disease associated with serious complications, premature death, high medical costs, lost work productivity and reduced quality of life. Through early detection and proper treatment, however, people can learn to control their diabetes and delay, minimize or prevent complications.

As part of Pennsylvania's commitment to fighting this disease, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed Act 98, which was signed into law by Governor Tom Ridge in October of 1998. Act 98, which went into effect during 1999, requires all insurance plans in the Commonwealth to provide coverage for education, counseling and defined medical supplies related to diabetes. It is important to note that any possible impact from ACT 98 would have occurred after the time period covered by the PHC4 report.

"Overall, the increase in hospitalizations shows that ongoing efforts to manage and treat diabetes are appropriate," said Mr. Volavka. "PHC4 intends to continue to examine the issue of diabetes and plans to include data about it in an upcoming report on Pennsylvania's HMOs."

Report Highlights

Copies of the report are free and can be ordered by calling PHC4 at 717-232-6787 or downloaded from the Council's website at http://www.phc4.org.

PHC4 is an independent state agency that provides the public with quality and cost-related health care information in Pennsylvania.