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Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Diabetes Care and Impact of Vendor-Based Disease Management Programs

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We examined the existence of disparities in receipt of appropriate diabetes care among California's fee-for-service Medicaid beneficiaries and the effectiveness of a telephonic-based disease management program delivered by a disease management vendor on the reduction of racial/ethnic disparities in diabetes care.

Research design and methods

We conducted an intervention-control cohort study to test the effectiveness of a 3-year-long disease management program delivered to Medicaid fee-for-service beneficiaries aged 22 to 75 with a diagnosis of diabetes in Los Angeles and Alameda counties. The outcome measures were the receipt of at least one hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test, LDL cholesterol test, and retinal examination each year. We used generalized estimating equations models with logit link to analyze the claims data for a cohort of beneficiaries in two intervention counties (n = 2,933) and eight control counties (n = 2,988) from September 2005 through August 2010.


Racial/ethnic disparities existed in the receipt of all three types of testing in the intervention counties before the program. African Americans (0.66; 95% CI 0.62-0.70) and Latinos (0.77; 95% CI 0.74-0.80) had lower rates of receipt for HbA1c testing than whites (0.83; 95% CI 0.81-0.85) in the intervention counties. After the intervention, the disparity among African Americans and Latinos compared with whites persisted in the intervention counties. For Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the disparity in testing rates decreased. We did not find similar disparities in the control counties.


This disease management program was not effective in reducing racial/ethnic disparities in diabetes care in the most racially/ethnically diverse counties in California.

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