Increasing diabetes prevalence has been found to be a primary driver of increased health care costs in the United States. This policy brief examines the impact of diabetes on hospitalizations and related hospitalization costs in California.
Using 2011 hospital patient discharge data and annual financial data from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), this study found that patients with diabetes represented 31 percent of hospitalizations in California in 2011 among patients 35 years or older, including 39 percent of African Americans and Asians and 43 percent of Latinos. Moreover, these hospitalizations cost nearly $2,200 more per hospitalization than those for patients without diabetes, regardless of the primary reason for the hospitalization. Given that approximately 90-95 percent of diagnosed diabetes among adults is type 2 diabetes and is therefore preventable, public health measures can and should be taken to relieve the burden of type 2 diabetes. Such measures include promoting a healthy diet and regular physical activity and providing adequate access to primary and specialty care.