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01-11-2017 | Healthcare systems | Article

Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Diabetes Quality of Care: the Role of Healthcare Access and Socioeconomic Status

Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

Authors: Juan R. Canedo, Stephania T. Miller, David Schlundt, Mary K. Fadden, Maureen Sanderson

Publisher: Springer International Publishing



Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians are disproportionately affected by diabetes. We assessed the state of racial/ethnic disparities in diabetes quality of care in the USA.


We analyzed cross-sectional data of adults diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in the nationally representative 2013 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Differences in adherence to five diabetes quality of care recommendations (HbA1c twice yearly, yearly foot exam, dilated eye exam, blood cholesterol test, and flu vaccination) were examined by race/ethnicity while controlling for three social determinants of health (health insurance status, poverty, and education) and other demographic variables.


Among adults with diabetes in the USA, 74.9% received two or more HbA1c tests, 69.0% had a foot exam, 64.9% had an eye exam, 85.4% had a cholesterol test, and 65.1% received flu vaccination in 2013. Compared to Whites, all were lower for Hispanics; HbA1c tests, eye exam, and flu vaccination were lower for Blacks; HbA1c tests, foot exam, and eye exam were lower for Asians. In adjusted models, the only remaining disparities in quality of care indicators were HbA1c tests for Hispanics (AOR 0.67, CI = 0.47–0.97), Blacks (AOR 0.59, CI = 0.40–0.88), and Asians (AOR 0.47, CI = 0.42–0.99); foot exams for Hispanics (AOR 0.65, CI = 0.47–0.90); and flu vaccination for Blacks (AOR 0.68, CI = 0.49–0.93).


Lack of insurance coverage and education explained some of the racial/ethnic disparities observed in diabetes quality of care. Improving quality of diabetes care could help reduce rates of diabetes complications, healthcare costs, and mortality.

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