Medicare Misses the Mark

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By: Melissa Sattley

After conducting a three-year audit of the effectiveness of Medicare, the United States General Accounting Office (USGAO) has found some disturbing facts about diabetes care.

Most recipients of Medicare are not reimbursed for supplies such as syringes and test strips, nor are they provided with diabetes education. Of the more than 90 percent of fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes who visited their doctors at least twice in 1994, only 40 percent received an annual eye exam, and only about 20 percent received an HbA1c test.

Diabetes-related costs account for as much as 25 percent of the Medicare budget. People with diabetes compose at least 10 percent of all Medicare’s home health visits. They also have three times more hospitalizations and are more likely to live in nursing homes.

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