HMO enrollment may cut diabetes hospitalizations

A dramatic decline in hospitalizations in Pennsylvania for short-term problems related to diabetes may be attributable to HMOs, states a recent report.

Hospitalizations dropped 17% between 1995 and 1998, possibly because HMO enrollments increased during that time, the state’s Health Care Cost Containment Council reported in December. There were 9.9 admissions per 10,000 residents for short-term diabetes problems in 1995 and 8.2 admissions per 10,000 in 1998. During that same period, HMO enrollment increased by 2.4 million.

According to a statement by Carolyn F. Scanlan, president and CEO of Pennsylvania’s Hospital & Healthsystem Association, it is unclear whether plans provided preventive care that reduced diabetes complications, but "what the findings do indicate is that, as various components of the health care delivery system work together to address a community health issue, we begin to see results."