Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council Releases New Report on Diabetes

Harrisburg, PA - December 18, 1998 - Diabetes-related inpatient hospitalizations accounted for a staggering 14.7% (262,817) of all Pennsylvania inpatient admissions during 1997, according to a new report released by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, an independent state agency. Diabetes affects 1.1 million Pennsylvanians (9% of the population), making it one of the most affected states in the country. The national average is 5.9% of the population. The Council's figures included diabetes patients with other problems such as heart disease.

The release of Diabetes-Related Inpatient Hospitalizations in Pennsylvania, 1997 positions the Council to study the impact, over time, of the recently enacted insurance mandate to cover the cost of diabetes supplies, medication, and education in Pennsylvania, a mandate the Council supported after a thorough review.

"Information provided to the Council led us to conclude that the mandated diabetes benefits had the potential to improve the quality of life for people affected by diabetes, and save health care dollars in the long run," said Marc P. Volavka, Executive Director of the Council. "This report establishes a benchmark against which future data can be compared in an effort to help policy makers evaluate the true impact of a mandated insurance benefit."

Diabetes is a group of diseases characterized by high levels of blood glucose in the body resulting from defects in insulin secretion, insulin action or both. It is an incurable, but manageable, chronic 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 or prevent complications.

Report Highlights

Vast changes in the health care delivery system make it necessary to examine the interrelationships of care. This is especially true when dealing with a chronic disease where preventable hospitalizations are possible. Managed health insurance plans have marketed themselves, in part, based on an emphasis of preventive and primary care. The issue of diabetes represents an opportunity to observe in future reports whether such efforts by managed care plans are having an impact.

Copies of the report are free and available by calling or writing the Council. The report information is also posted on the Council's website at The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council is an independent state agency which provides the public with information that can be used to improve the quality and restrain the cost of health care in Pennsylvania.