In general, hospital readmission rates tend to be higher for diabetes than for many other conditions. These readmission rates also tend to be higher for Americans of color than for white Americans. Most often, this finding is the result of socioeconomic factors that obstruct access to high-quality medical care, resulting in decreased follow-up and medication compliance and the need for readmission to the hospital.
This study, published in Military Medicine, uses data from the Military Health System to analyze hospital readmission rates among universally covered population groups with diabetes. The population studied in this analysis was universally insured, suggesting that socioeconomic factors may have played a smaller role in hospital readmission rates. Limiting the study to a universally insured population allowed the researchers to hone in on other reasons why racial/ethnic minorities with diabetes are readmitted at higher rates.
Ultimately, researchers found that diabetes-related readmission rates between Black and white individuals did not differ significantly when adjusted for age and sex. Because Black people tend to have higher readmission rates than the general population on average, this improvement in hospital readmission rates was attributed to the Military Health System’s universal insurance coverage.
A disparity was found regarding readmission rates for Native Americans/Alaskan Natives with diabetes. These individuals experienced significantly more hospital readmissions than both Black and white individuals with diabetes. The researchers concluded that other factors aside from insurance coverage likely result in this heightened disparity .
Source: Frankel, D., Banaag, A., Madsen, C., & Koehlmoos, T. (2020). Examining Racial Disparities in Diabetes Readmissions in the United States Military Health System. Military Medicine, 185(9–10), e1679–e1685. https://doi.org/10.1093/milmed/usaa153