Foot ulcers double the cost of diabetes care, study finds

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Eliminating foot ulcers would cut costs for diabetes care in half, according to researchers with consulting firm The Analysis Group.

The investigators analyzed about 27,800 matched pairs of Medicare beneficiaries with and without diabetic foot ulcers. They also looked at roughly 4,500 matched pairs of privately insured diabetes patients.

During a 12-month period, the patients with foot ulcers accrued more costs related to hospitalizations, home healthcare days, emergency room visits and outpatient/physician office visits, the researchers found. Overall, the Medicare beneficiaries with foot ulcers had $11,700 more incremental annual healthcare costs than their counterparts without ulcers. That number was $16,883 for the private insurance group.

All told, foot ulcer care increases annual diabetes care costs by $9 billion to $13 billion, according to the findings that appear in Diabetes Care.

Long-term care providers seeking the latest information on caring for foot ulcers and other wounds can tune in to a McKnight's Online Expo session featuring Jeffrey M. Levine, M.D., CMD, AGSF. The webcast begins at 1 p.m. Eastern on March 26. One continuing education credit is available.

There is no cost to attend Levine's webcast or any of the Online Expo events taking place March 26 and 27. Click here to register.

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