Diabetes accounts for more than one-third of Indian Health Service costs

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 16, 2012

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A study of American Indian adults in central Arizona found that a high proportion of Indian Health Service costs go to treat patients with diabetes.

American Indians and Alaska Natives have the highest prevalence of diabetes among all U.S. racial or ethnic groups and are 2.3 times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than the general population. They also have high rates of comorbidities such as heart disease and kidney failure. The study, published online Dec. 15, 2011, in the American Journal of Public Health, examined data on 32,052 American Indians from Oct. 1, 2004, to Sept. 30, 2005 (link).

It found that adults with diabetes used emergency, primary care, specialty and dental services at rates two to three times higher than those without diabetes. Patients with diabetes made up 11% of the population but accounted for 37% of all adult treatment costs.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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