Purpose/Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between hospitalization cost and discharge blood glucose levels among adult diabetes mellitus type 2 patients hospitalized with uncontrolled glycemia without complications.
Design: Retrospective cohort analysis examined healthcare billing and laboratory data.
Setting: The study was performed in Chicago, Illinois, in a 269-bed medical center between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2011.
Sample: Patients were placed into 1 of 2 groups at discharge: blood glucose level less than 250 mg/dL or blood glucose level 250 mg/dL or greater.
Results: Of the 579 patients with uncontrolled glycemia, 366 met inclusion criteria: diabetes mellitus without complications (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision; 250.0) with abnormal fasting blood glucose (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision; 790.21). Discharge blood glucose levels were 250 mg/dL or greater in 74 patients and less than 250 mg/dL in 292 patients. Mean age of the 2 cohorts was 71.4 (SD, 13.41) years. The majority was male (52.1% and 59.7%, respectively). The median healthcare cost for the entire sample was $3964.34. The mean cost of healthcare for the group with blood glucose of 250 mg/dL or greater at discharge was $4182.65, with a mean length of stay of 8.22 (SD, 3.468) days, while the mean cost of healthcare for the group with blood glucose of less than 250 mg/dL at discharge was $3826.25 and mean length of stay 7.826 (SD, 6.073) days. Analysis of cost was conducted using Pearson χ2 and was significant for α = .05 (P = .037). The odds ratio of having increased healthcare cost with blood glucose of 250 mg/dL or greater was 1.732 with a 95% confidence interval of 0.998 to 3.012.
Conclusion: The group discharged with blood glucose levels of 250 mg/dL or greater accrued greater cost during hospitalization than did patients who were discharged with blood glucose levels of less than 250 mg/dL.
Implications: Today’s healthcare system is struggling with cost containment, quality control, and standardization of care. Clinical nurse specialists can evaluate current patient care practices and ensure that the practice setting is fiscally beneficial to future patients and healthcare organizations.