Comparison of Medicine Resident Diabetes Care Between Veterans Affairs and Academic Health Care Systems
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- Cite this article as:
- Powers, B.J., Grambow, S.C., Crowley, M.J. et al. J GEN INTERN MED (2009) 24: 950. doi:10.1007/s11606-009-1048-z
Although others have reported national disparities in the quality of diabetes care between the Veterans Affairs (VA) and private health care delivery systems, it is not known whether these differences persist among internal medicine resident providers in academic settings.
We compared the quality of diabetes primary care delivered by resident physicians in either a private academic health care system (AHS) or its affiliated VA health care system.
Cross-sectional observational study
We included patients who: had a diagnosis of diabetes, had >2 primary care visits with the same resident provider during 2005, and were not separately managed by an attending physician or endocrinologist. A total of 640 patients met our criteria and were included in the analysis.
MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS
Compared to the VA, patients in the AHS were more likely to be younger, female, have fewer medications, and be treated with insulin, but had less comorbidity. Patients in the VA were more likely to be referred for an annual eye exam (94% vs. 78%), receive lipid screening (88% vs. 74%), receive proteinuria screening (63% vs. 34%), and receive a complete foot exam (85% vs. 32%) in analyses adjusted for patient demographics and comorbidities (p-value <0.001 for all comparisons). In adjusted analyses, there were no significant differences in HbA1c, blood pressure, or LDL cholesterol control.
In spite of similar resident providers and practice models, there were substantial differences in the diabetes quality of care delivered in the VA and AHS. Understanding how these factors influence subsequent practice patterns is an important area for study.