Objective: To identify any differences in hospitalization rates of diabetes patients by age, sex, or race/ethnicity.
Design: A cross-sectional study of Georgia hospital discharge data between 1998 and 2001.
Patients/participants: Patients with a principal discharge diagnosis of diabetes.
Main outcome measures: Adjusted hospitalization data (discharge rates, length of stay, direct charges) reported as standardized rates per 10,000 person-years, standardized rate differences, and standardized rate ratios, compared by age, sex, and race/ethnicity.
Results: Diabetes was the principal diagnosis in 50,301 discharges (average age, 51 years; length of stay, 5.1 days; median total charge, $5893). Persons > or = 60 years old had higher discharge rates, longer stays, and higher charges than persons 18-29 years old. Women had fewer hospitalizations, shorter stays, and lower charges than men. Non-Hispanic Blacks had more than three times as many hospitalizations, markedly longer stays, and higher charges than non-Hispanic Whites. Hispanics with diabetes had lower hospitalization rates, shorter stays, and lower charges than Whites.
Conclusions: Differences by age, sex, and race/ethnicity in hospital discharge rates, lengths of stay, and charges exist for diabetes inpatients. Further study should examine potential causes (severity of disease, comorbidity, and differential access to preventive care) of these disparities.