News release: Minnesota reduced diabetes hospitalization rates

News Release
December 14, 2017

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Minnesota reduced diabetes hospitalization rates

Minnesota successfully reduced the rate of diabetes-related hospitalizations by 22 percent between 2006 and 2014.  

The development is a significant step in the state’s ongoing effort to slow rising health care costs, as hospitalizations make up more than 40 percent of the health care costs related to diabetes. The report did not assess the cost of care, however, the estimated median cost for diabetes-related hospitalizations in Minnesota was about $8,550 in 2014, according to Minnesota hospital discharge data.

Between 2006 and 2014, Minnesota’s hospitalization rate related to diabetes fell from 175 to 135 per 10,000 adult Minnesotans, according to the report, Diabetes Hospitalizations in Minnesota, 2006-2014. Minnesota achieved these lower hospitalization rates at the same time the state saw a small increase in the rate of diabetes to about 7 percent.   

“This research suggests that Minnesota had a meaningful impact on an important medical outcome as a result of combined efforts to improve care and to prevent chronic disease,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger. “All the same, to reduce type 2 diabetes we must take a broad approach that also addresses poverty, educational achievement, food availability, transportation and health care coverage.”

Chart: Age-adjusted rate of adult diabetes-related hospitalizations per 10,000 Minnesota adults 2006-2014

Diabetes hospitalizations are grouped into two categories: hospitalizations for extremely high and low blood sugar over the short-term, or hospitalizations due to the long-term effects of poorly controlled blood sugars. The research showed that hospitalizations for extremely high and low blood sugar in the short term stayed flat during the time period. However, there were fewer trips to the hospital related to long-term effects of repeatedly high blood sugars – effects such as eye, kidney and cardiovascular disease.

Counties that have higher percentages of people who have low incomes and less education tended to have higher rates of diabetes-related hospitalizations. Hospitalizations also tended to be higher in counties with limited access to primary care and in counties with lower scores on diabetes care measures in the Minnesota Statewide Quality Reporting and Measurement System.

Lower overall rates of diabetes-related hospitalizations might result from improvements in the care of people who have diabetes including medical care, self-care and support from the community.

The improvement occurred after 2008, when Minnesota implemented a host of efforts and reforms to address rising health care costs related to chronic diseases. These included Health Care Homes that focus on improving team care and disease management in primary care, the statewide quality improvement system that measures diabetes care and outcomes, and the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership, which works to create healthier communities and reduce diabetes risk factors such as obesity and smoking. These efforts and others such as self-care related to diet, exercise and glucose monitoring, as well as national efforts to reduce hospitalizations, likely contributed to lower hospitalization rates.

More information is available at the MDH Diabetes Hospitalization in Minnesota page.


Media inquiries:

Scott Smith
MDH Communications Office