Examining Racial Disparities in Diabetes Readmissions in the United States Military Health System

Dianne Frankel, Amanda Banaag, Cathaleen Madsen, Tracey Koehlmoos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction Diabetes is one of the most common chronic conditions in the United States and has a cost burden over $120 billion per year. Readmissions following hospitalization for diabetes are common, particularly in minority patients, who experience greater rates of complications and lower quality healthcare compared to white patients. This study examines disparities in diabetes-related readmissions in the Military Health System, a universally insured, population of 9.5 million beneficiaries, who may receive care from military (direct care) or civilian (purchased care) facilities. Methods The study identified a population of 7,605 adult diabetic patients admitted to the hospital in 2014. Diagnostic codes were used to identify hospital readmissions, and logistic regression was used to analyze associations among race, beneficiary status, patient or sponsor’s rank, and readmissions at 30, 60, and 90 days. Results A total of 239 direct care patients and 545 purchased care patients were included in our analyses. After adjusting for age and sex, we found no significant difference in readmission rates for black versus white patients; however, we found a statistically significant increase in the likelihood for readmission of Native American/Alaskan Native patients compared to white patients, which persisted in direct care at 60 days (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 11.51, 95% CI 1.11–119.41) and 90 days (AOR 18.42, 95% CI 1.78–190.73), and in purchased care at 90 days (AOR 4.54, 95% CI 1.31–15.74). Conclusion Our findings suggest that universal access to healthcare alleviates disparities for black patients, while Native America/ Alaskan Native populations may still be at risk of disparities associated with readmissions among diabetic patients in both the closed direct care system and the civilian fee for service purchased care system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1679-E1685
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes


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