BACKGROUND: The prevalence and consequences of financial barriers to health care among patients with multiple chronic diseases are poorly understood. OBJECTIVE: We sought to assess the prevalence of self-reported financial barriers to health care among individuals with diabetes and coronary heart disease (CHD) and to determine their association with access to care, quality of care and clinical outcomes. DESIGN: The 2007 Centers for Disease Control Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey. PARTICIPANTS: Diabetic patients with CHD. MAIN MEASURES: Financial barriers to health care were defined by a self-reported time in the past 12 months when the respondent needed to see a doctor but could not because of cost. The primary clinical outcome was vascular morbidity—a composite of stroke, retinopathy, nonhealing foot sores or bilateral foot amputations. KEY RESULTS: Among the 11,274 diabetics with CHD, 1,541 (13.7 %) reported financial barriers to health care. Compared to individuals without financial barriers, those with financial barriers had significantly reduced rates of medical assessments within the past 2 years, hemoglobin (Hgb) A1C measurements in the past year, cholesterol measurements at any time, eye and foot examinations within the past year, diabetic education, antihypertensive treatment, aspirin use and a higher prevalence of vascular morbidity. In multivariable analyses, financial barriers to health care were independently associated with reduced odds of medical checkups (Odds Ratio [OR], 0.61; 95 % Confidence Intervals [CI], 0.55–0.67), Hgb A1C measurement (OR, 0.85; 95 % CI, 0.77–0.94), cholesterol measurement (OR, 0.76; 95 % CI, 0.67–0.86), eye (OR, 0.85; 95 % CI, 0.79–0.92) and foot (OR, 0.92; 95 % CI, 0.84–1.00) examinations, diabetic education (OR, 0.93; 95 % CI, 0.87–0.99), aspirin use (OR, 0.88; 95 % CI, 0.81–0.96) and increased odds of vascular morbidity (OR, 1.23; 95 % CI, 1.14–1.33). CONCLUSIONS: In diabetic adults with CHD, financial barriers to health care were associated with impaired access to medical care, inferior quality of care and greater vascular morbidity. Eliminating financial barriers and adherence to guideline-based recommendations may improve the health of individuals with multiple chronic diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine