Not Sweet News

The Dallas-Fort Worth Business Group on Health--"a coalition of Dallas and Fort Worth area employers committed to working with our partners in the community to promote and maintain a health care delivery system that provides quality, accountability and affordability for our employees," says its Web site--issued a report today dealing with "the prevalence, costs and quality of care for Texans with Type 2 diabetes," which is the most common form of diabetes. The reason for the report, says Marianne Fazen, Ph.D, executive director of DFWBGH, is that Type 2 diabetes has become a "burgeoning health problem among working-age Texans," and employers need to better understand how to deal with workers who have it.

The report reveals that the costs for treating Type 2 diabetes are rising significantly in Dallas--by $4,000 from 2004 to 2005 alone. A press release accompanying the report points out a few of the study's key findings. What it says after the jump. --Robert Wilonsky

"Nearly two-thirds (64.7 percent) of Texans diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 2005 were between the ages of 18 to 64 years--the prime working ages for most Americans, compared to a national average of 53.8 percent. Austin has the highest percentage of working age diabetes patients of the five metropolitan areas examined in the report, with 77.5 percent between the ages of 18 and 64 years, compared to San Antonio, which has the lowest percentage, 60.5 percent, in this age group.

The cost of care for Type 2 diabetes patients is higher in Texas than the national average. The Report shows that hospital inpatient charges for Type 2 Diabetes patients in Texas averaged $48,046 in 2005, compared to the national average of $39,401. Houston's charges were the highest, at $62,104. Hospital outpatient charges for treating diabetes in Texas also exceeded the national average, with an average of $4,550 in 2005, compared to a national average of $3,712.

The quality of care provided to patients with diabetes is also a major concern for Texas employers who want to ensure that their employees receive appropriate care. In addition to demographic and cost information, the Texas Type 2 Diabetes Report shows the percentage of diabetes patients receiving recommended services, such as for glucose, Hemoglobin A1C and cholesterol blood tests, as well as eye exams and urine tests for glucose. Unfortunately, Texas lags the nation in utilization of all five of these services."

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