Contribution of Hypoglycemia to Medical Care Expenditures and Short-Term Disability in Employees With Diabetes


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Abstract

Objective:Diabetes is the third-most expensive physical health condition among US employees. We sought to evaluate the contribution of hypoglycemia to these costs.Methods:We studied 2664 employees using insulin for whom medical encounters and short-term disability (STD) records were available.Results:Among these employees, 442 (16.6%) had a diagnosis of hypoglycemia during an average follow-up of 2.5 years. The risk of hospitalization and emergency room visits was increased twofold in this group. Much of this excess was associated with hypoglycemia. The annualized medical cost of hypoglycemia was $3241. Patients with hypoglycemia had 77% more STD days annually. The risk of STD in the week after hypoglycemia was increased fivefold.Conclusion:These data suggest that hypoglycemia contributes substantially to medical care utilization and to disability-related work absence among employees using insulin.

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