Objective: To compare cardiovascular disease risk factor testing rates and intermediate outcomes of care between American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) patients with diabetes and non-Hispanic Caucasians enrolled in nine commercial integrated delivery systems in the USA.
Research design and methods: We used modified Poisson regression models to compare the annual testing rates and risk factor control levels for glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and systolic blood pressure (SBP); number of unique diabetes drug classes; insulin use; and oral diabetes drug medication adherence between insured AI/AN and non-Hispanic white adults with diabetes aged ≥18 in 2011.
Results: 5831 AI/AN patients (1.8% of the cohort) met inclusion criteria. After adjusting for age, gender, comorbidities, insulin use, and geocoded socioeconomic status, AI/AN patients had similar rates of annual HbA1c, LDL-C, and SBP testing, and LDL-C and SBP control, compared with non-Hispanic Caucasians. However, AI/AN patients were significantly more likely to have HbA1c >9% (>74.9 mmol/mol; RR=1.47, 95% CI 1.38 to 1.58), and significantly less likely to adhere to their oral diabetes medications (RR=0.90, 95% CI 0.88 to 0.93) compared with non-Hispanic Caucasians.
Conclusions: AI/AN patients in commercial integrated delivery systems have similar blood pressure and cholesterol testing and control, but significantly lower rates of HbA1c control and diabetes medication adherence, compared with non-Hispanic Caucasians. As more AI/ANs move to urban and suburban settings, clinicians and health plans should focus on addressing disparities in diabetes care and outcomes in this population.
Keywords: American Indian(s); Health Care Delivery.