High cost of treating type 2 diabetes may prevent doctors from administering quality care

Patients with type 2 diabetes generally receive good care, but in many cases there is more that could be done to support their health. This may involve more frequent testing or concentrated lifestyle interventions.

While medical professionals may know the best course of action, there are many things that may prevent them from following through on it. A new report suggests that one reason for this may be the high cost of treating diabetic patients.

A team of researchers from Avalere Health found that the cost of treating a patient with type 2 diabetes often far exceeds the amount doctors are reimbursed by insurance payers for the services, in some cases by a substantial margin, according to Family Practice News.

The report showed that the average cost of treating an adult patient with type 2 diabetes exceeds reimbursements by $750,000 per year. This means that physicians largely have to swallow this cost.

Jennifer Levinson, vice president of the research company, said that physicians will often be forced to offset these losses in other ways. This mainly involves treating more patients, which can spread a doctor too thin and make it difficult for them to devote sufficient attention to detail to each patient.

"When you look at just diabetes patients for an average practice, the losses on an annual basis are fairly significant and probably start to help explain some of those barriers, like the ability to spend time with patients," she told the news source.

Short time with a doctor may have a significant impact on the ability of patients with type 2 diabetes to manage their condition. A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that individuals who visited their doctor every two weeks were much more likely to achieve strict blood sugar control. Furthermore, frequent doctor visits helped patients lower their cholesterol.

Yet, the new findings suggest that this may not be an option for many patients with type 2 diabetes. Due to the escalating cost of treating the condition, doctors are unlikely to spend the necessary amounts of time with each individual.