Researchers at UCLA have found that one out of every three hospital beds in California is occupied by a person with diabetes, and that those patients end paying more.
Diabetes is not always the main reason for a hospitalization, but the researchers found that people with diabetes end up paying an average of $2,200 more for their stay in the hospital than people without the disease.
Dr. Francine Kaufman is a diabetes expert at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She was not involved with the study, but she explained why such stays are more expensive.
"It’s all complicated by the fact that somebody has diabetes," she said. "Glucose has to be managed. The metabolic status of the patient is at greater risk, and it's a more prolonged hospitalization when they do come."
As diabetes rates continue to climb, the disease will account for a larger share of healthcare spending, said Kaufman, adding that California stands to bear an especially heavy burden because it is a diverse state. Diabetes rates are worst among Latinos and African-Americans.
"This is really a California story," Kaufman said.