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Diabetes management at community health centers: Examining associations with patient and regional characteristics, efficiency, and staffing patterns

Maggie Thorsen, Ronald McGarvey and Andreas Thorsen

Social Science & Medicine, 2020, vol. 255, issue C

Abstract: A major source of primary health care for millions of Americans, community health centers (CHCs) act as a key point of access for diabetes care. The ability of a CHC to deliver high quality care, that supports patients’ management of their diabetes, may be impacted by the unique set of resources and constraints it faces, both in terms of characteristics of its patient population and aspects of operations. This study examines how patient and regional characteristics, staffing patterns, and efficiency were associated with diabetes management at CHCs (percentage of patients with uncontrolled diabetes, HbA1C > 9%). Data on a sample of 1229 CHCs came from multiple sources. CHC-level information was obtained from the Uniform Data System and regional-level information from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and the US Census American Community Survey. A clustering methodology, latent class analysis, identified seven underlying staffing patterns at CHCs. Data envelopment analysis was performed to evaluate the efficiency of CHCs, relative to centers with similar staffing patterns. Finally, generalized linear models were used to examine the association between staffing patterns, efficiency, and patient and regional-level characteristics. Findings from this study have sociological, practical, and methodological implications. Findings highlight that the intersection of patient racial composition with regional racial composition is significant; diabetes control appears to be worse at CHCs serving racial minorities living in predominantly White areas. Findings suggest that CHCs that incorporate more behavioral health care into their staffing mix have lower rates of uncontrolled diabetes among their patients. Finally, greater efficiency in CHC operations is associated with better diabetes control among patients. By identifying sociodemographic and operational characteristics associated with better hemoglobin control among diabetes patients, the current study contributes to our understanding of both health care operations and health inequalities.

Keywords: Diabetes; HbA1C; Community health centers; Staffing; Efficiency (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.113017

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