-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Diabetes patients require
continuous health coverage to ensure they receive recommended care,
a new study concludes.
For the study, U.S. researchers analyzed data from nearly 3,400
diabetes patients who received medical care between 2005 and 2007
at 50 federally qualified health centers in Oregon. At these
centers, free or reduced-cost care is provided to low-income
patients whether they have insurance or not.
Of the patients in the study, 52 percent had continuous health
insurance coverage (most often provided by Medicaid), 21 percent
had interrupted coverage during the three-year period, and 27
percent had no coverage. Patients with private insurance were not
included in the study.
The researchers looked at whether the patients received four
health services recommended at least once a year for diabetes
patients: a lipid test for high cholesterol; a flu vaccine; a blood
sugar level test; and a urine test that can detect kidney
Among patients with continuous insurance, 48 percent received at
least three lipid-screening tests during the three-year study, 25
percent received three or more flu shots, 72 percent received three
or more blood glucose screenings, and 19 percent underwent three or
more screenings for kidney damage.
Patients with interrupted or no coverage received far fewer of
these preventive health services, the investigators found.
"Our study shows that patients need continuous health insurance coverage in order to ensure adequate preventive care, even when that care is provided at a reduced cost," study author Rachel Gold, an investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore., said in a Kaiser Permanente news release.
While services at the clinics are free, some of the diagnostic
tests require a small co-payment that is usually covered by
Medicaid. Patients who lose Medicaid coverage often delay getting
the tests because they can't afford the co-payment, the researchers
The study, funded in part by the U.S. National Institutes of
Health, is published online and in the January-February issue of
Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.
The American Diabetes Association has more about
living with diabetes.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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