Health disparities between diabetic patients under private and public health coverage in Puerto Rico, 2000

Rosa Pérez-Perdomo, Cynthia M Pérez-Cardona, Orville M Disdier-Flores
Puerto Rico Health Sciences Journal 2003, 22 (4): 363-8

OBJECTIVE: To examine health disparities between diabetic patients receiving services in private and public health sectors.

METHODS: Insureds with service claims for diabetes (ICD-9 250-259) from two private insurance companies and two public health groups were selected. Personnel of the participant insurance companies were responsible for identifying medical claims that met the study inclusion criteria and providing the information in a computerized database file.

RESULTS: Overall prevalence was 4.9%. Prevalence in the public sector (5.8%) was higher than that of the private sector (3.7%) (p < 0.0001). The overall prevalence among females of the public sector was nearly twice (6.3%) the prevalence in the private sector (3.3%) (p < 0.0001). The prevalence of the majority of services analyzed was larger in the public sector. However, prevalence of specific services (glucose and glycosilated hemoglobin tests) was larger in the private sector. Differences between sectors in the prevalence of complications were also observed. Prevalence and service utilization also varied by age and sex in both sectors.

CONCLUSIONS: Significant difference exists in the prevalence of diabetes and health service utilization between the private and the public sector.

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