January 1, 2023

Assessment of Glucose Monitoring Adherence in Medicare Beneficiaries with Insulin-Treated Diabetes

Puckrein GA, Hirsch IB, Parkin CG, Taylor BT, Norman GJ, Xu L, Marrero DG. Assessment of glucose monitoring adherence in Medicare beneficiaries with insulin-treated diabetes. Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics.

Background: We investigated the potential associations between race/ethnicity and adherence to prescribed glucose monitoring in a sample of Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes and how adherence to the method used impacted diabetes-related inpatient hospitalizations and associated costs among beneficiaries with intensive insulin-treated diabetes.

Methods: This 12-month retrospective analysis utilized Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services data to identify Medicare beneficiaries who used intensive insulin therapy from January through December 2018 and classified them into four groups: (1) persons using real-time continuous glucose monitoring (rtCGM), (2) persons using any method of blood glucose monitoring (BGM) who followed prescribed use patterns (adherent), (3) persons who were prescribed BGM but were nonadherent in its use, and (4) no record of any form of BGM. Analyses compared these groups and the role that comorbidities (Charlson Comorbidity Index [CCI]), and race/ethnicity played on group assignment, diabetes-related inpatient hospitalizations, and costs.

Results: Among the 1,329,061 persons assessed, 38.14% had no record of glucose monitoring and 35.42% were BGM nonadherent. Similarly, among the 629,514 beneficiaries with a CCI risk score of ≥2, 466,646 (74.13%) were either nonadherent to BGM or had no monitoring record. The percentage of White (3.65%) rtCGM adherent beneficiaries was significantly larger than Black (1.58%) and Hispanic (1.28%) beneficiaries, both P < 0.0001. Hospitalizations and costs were higher for Black and Hispanic beneficiaries versus Whites within the risk score ≥ 2 group regardless of glucose monitoring method.

Conclusions: Race is associated with increased hospitalizations and costs associated with diabetes care and absence of any form of BGM was associated with higher rates of comorbidities. Persons of color were less likely to use rtCGM despite Medicare coverage. New initiatives that promote diabetes self-management education and support services are needed to improve utilization of glucose monitoring within the Medicare diabetes population.