Diabetes-Related Hospital Mortality in Rural America: A Significant Cause for Concern
It has been reported that diabetes prevalence is higher in rural areas than in urban areas. Other studies have shown that rural persons with diabetes have higher morbidity from diabetes-related complications than urban persons with diabetes. This study used data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Nationwide Inpatient Sample (2009-2014) to examine hospital-based diabetes-related mortality and whether there were urban-rural differences across census regions. On average 2.63% of all diabetes-related urban hospital admissions resulted in death, while 2.73% of all diabetes-related rural hospital admissions resulted in death (p<0.001). Mortality rates were highest within rural areas of the South and Midwest (21.0 and 15.1 deaths per 100,000 population, respectively) compared to other areas in both regions. The noncore, micropolitan, and small metropolitan areas of the South had the highest average diabetes-related hospital mortality rates (21.0, 20.3, and 14.0 deaths per 100,000 population, respectively) compared to corresponding areas in the Northeast, Midwest, and West regions. Results suggest that substantial differences exist between rural and urban diabetes-related hospital mortality. Furthermore, the burden is especially pronounced for rural residents in the South and Midwest census regions.