HealthDay News – A telephone-based disease management program delivered by a disease management vendor is ineffective in reducing racial/ethnic disparities in diabetes care, according to a study published online March 10 in Diabetes Care.

Ying-Ying Meng, DrPH, from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research in Los Angeles, and colleagues examined the effectiveness of a 3-year telephone-based disease management program delivered to Medicaid fee-for-service beneficiaries aged 22 to 75 years with diabetes.

Generalized estimating equation models with logit link were used to assess the claims data for a cohort of beneficiaries in 2 intervention counties (2933 patients) and 8 control counties (2988 patients) from September 2005 through August 2010.


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Researchers found that before the program, there were racial/ethnic disparities in receipt of all 3 types of testing (hemoglobin A1c [HbA1c], low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol test, and retinal examination) in the intervention counties. Lower rates of receipt for HbA1c testing were seen for African-Americans and Latinos vs whites in the intervention counties (0.66 and 0.77, respectively, vs 0.83). 

The disparity for African-Americans and Latinos vs whites persisted in the intervention counties after the intervention. The disparity in testing rates decreased for Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders. Similar disparities were not seen in control counties.

“This disease management program was not effective in reducing racial/ethnic disparities in diabetes care in the most racially/ethnically diverse counties in California,” the authors wrote.

Reference

Meng Y-Y, Diamant A, Jones J, et al. Racial/ethnic disparities in diabetes care and impact of vendor-based disease managment programs. Diabetes Care. 2016. doi:10.2337/dc15-1323.