Erie Vital Signs

Diabetes: Hemoglobin A1c Testing

Recent Performance

This trend is mixed.

The percentage of Erie county diabetic patients who received blood sugar testing rose slowly over the last few years, from 84% to 85% to 86% in 2013. But those rates are below the state an national rates of 88% to 89%. Medicare patient testing stayed constant at 88%, below the state and national rates of 91% to 92%. Medicaid patients dropped to 85% in 2013, slightly better than the state and national rate of 84%.

The Basics

This indicator reports the percentage of patients in each category (commercial, Medicare, Medicaid) who got a blood sugar (Hemoglobin A1c) test, indicating that they are attending to potential problems that can arise from diabetes.

Why is this important?

  • Higher Hemoglobin A1c results mean your blood sugar is less controlled, putting you at greater risk for long term health conditions.
  • Lowering your number lowers your risk for eye, kidney, nerve, and heart problems — 50% for each percentage point!
  • This test helps you and your doctor to judge if your treatment plan is working, and to adjust your medications.
  • Out-of-control blood sugar levels cause serious problems later on, and this is an easy test to prevent them from happening.

How is Erie doing?

  • The charts below show the HEDIS® rates of people with diabetes in Erie who got a Hemoglobin A1c test.
  • The higher the numbers, the better Erie is doing. They show people are making an effort to take care of themselves.
  • Erie improved in 2013, or is meeting the Pennsylvania and national benchmarks in two of the three measures.

How can you help Erie do better?

  • If you have diabetes, get your Hemoglobin A1c test done.
  • Encourage people you know with diabetes to get their Hemoglobin A1cs test done.
  • Ask your doctor the questions below.

What to ask your doctor:

  • What should my Hemoglobin A1c goal be? For what daily blood glucose number should I aim?
  • If my levels are high, what can I do to better control them?
  • How can I manage this with my other conditions?
  • I have anemia (or another condition that causes abnormal hemoglobin). How does this affect my tests?
  • Ask your doctor to order your Hemoglobin A1c, LDL-C and Nephropathy screening (Microalbumin) on the same lab order sheet. That way all the testing is done at the same time to give a nice overview at that time how your diabetes is being managed.
  • How can I learn more?

HEDIS® Data Sources | HEDIS® References


Private (Commercial) Insurance

Percent of Commercial Patients Who Got a Blood Sugar (Hemoglobin A1C) Test — higher is better.
Scroll over the graph to see percentages.


Medicare Insurance

Percent of Medicare Patients Who Got a Blood Sugar (Hemoglobin A1C) Test — higher is better.
Scroll over the graph to see percentages.


Medicaid Insurance

Percent of Medicaid Patients Who Got a Blood Sugar (Hemoglobin A1C) Test — higher is better.
Scroll over the graph to see percentages.


HEDIS® is a registered trademark of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)

The Details

The Hemoglobin A1c shows your average blood sugar over the past 3 months by measuring the amount of glucose attached to your red blood cells.

It does two things:

  1. it tests to see if you have diabetes and;
  2. if yes, it measures how well you’re managing your diabetes.

People with diabetes may need this test every 6 months if they have good control of their blood sugar, and every 3 months if not.

Hemoglobin A1c tests cannot replace daily self-testing with your Glucometer and test strips. Self-testing cannot replace the Hemoglobin A1c either.

Subcategories

This EVS indicator has subcategories for patients with commercial/private insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare.

Peer Areas

The 2011-2013 data are available for Erie, and provide the benchmark for the state of Pennsylvania and the benchmark for the United States.

Frequency

Annual

Source

These data are from the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set, which includes data from insurance claims. HEDIS® is a registered trademark of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)

Erie County HEDIS data is collected from the three large insurers in Erie County and aggregate numbers are reported. The insurance companies are HealthAmerica, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, and UPMC Health Plan. Peer, state and national HEDIS data came directly from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). The data were compiled by the Erie County Department of Health.

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