Diabetes mellitus is the seventh leading cause of death (sixth leading cause of death by disease) in the US. Approximately 5.9% of the US population has diabetes and one-third of those with diabetes are unaware that they have the condition. Diabetes is the leading cause of adult blindness, end-stage renal disease, and non-traumatic lower extremity amputation.
The annual per-capita incremental cost of diabetes among employees compared with individuals without diabetes has been estimated at $US4410 (1998 values). Furthermore, more than 30% of the costs associated with diabetic employees are attributable to medically related work absences and disability, and this is estimated to cause a one-third reduction in earnings due to reduced workforce participation.
The incidence of diabetes and long term medical complications could be reduced through more effective diabetes education and patient self-management. Intensive management of diabetes can help workers remain productive, decrease costs associated with complications, and reduce associated costs for overtime. Policy complications from this review encourage employers and Medicare/Medicaid to invest in diabetes education and Wellness programs.
The authors wish to acknowledge the bibliographical and editorial contributions of Ms Jill Royston, WSU Health Policy and Administration Department Program Assistant and the bibliographical development and refinement work by Mr Dan Simonsen, Washington State University Graduate Student in the Health Policy and Administration Department. The authors received no funding for this manuscript and do not have any conflicts of interest directly relevant to the content of this review.
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