• by bcarlson@marketresearch.com
  • March 24 2015

Healthcare Reform Has Impact in Glucose Testing

Among the industries impacted by healthcare reform, we’ve predicted in our report on the ACA that IVD would fair better than pharma or non-testing medical devices.  Testing is by its nature preventative, and the theory was that more office visits from newly insured patients should lead to more. According to a story in Fierce Healthcare, this has already happened in glucose testing.  Glucose testing is up where patients are covered.  The next question would be "Will this impact patient health directly." The study speaks to that question too.  From the article:

The enactment of the Affordable Care Act with its expansion of Medicaid benefits has led to an uptick in diabetes diagnoses by almost one-quarter, according to a study of deidentified test results from Quest Diagnostics. That’s in states that opted to expand Medicaid under the new law during the first 6 months of 2014 as compared to the first 6 months of 2013.

In states that did not accept the Medicaid expansion, the number of diagnoses expanded by a scant 0.4%. As of February, 22 states and the District of Columbia had accepted expanded Medicaid coverage under ACA, while another 6 opted for an expansion under an alternative plan. And 17 states decided not to expand Medicaid coverage, while another 5 were considering it, according to an by a healthcare industry group The Advisory Board.

"Not only did states with expanded Medicaid programs catch more people with diabetes, they caught them at earlier stages, when the disease is more manageable," study lead investigator Dr. Harvey Kaufman, senior medical director at Quest, said in a statement. "These findings likely apply to other chronic conditions, like heart and chronic kidney disease, for which early diagnosis and treatment strongly correlate with better health outcomes."

The study examied over 430,000 patients with diabetes diagnosed within the last six months.  Cases of diabetes was up 23%  compared to the same period a year prior. The study found something else however; that newly identified patients with diabetes were more likely to be identified at earlier stages of the disease in states with Medicaid expansion than in those without it.