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Sample records for veterans health study

  1. Mental and Physical Health Conditions in US Combat Veterans: Results From the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomas, Melissa M; Harpaz-Rotem, Ilan; Tsai, Jack; Southwick, Steven M; Pietrzak, Robert H

    2017-06-22

    To identify sociodemographic and military characteristics of combat-exposed and non-combat-exposed veterans in the United States and to compare rates of mental and physical health conditions in these populations. Data were analyzed from the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study (NHRVS), a contemporary, nationally representative survey of 1,480 US veterans conducted September-October 2013. Poststratification weights were applied to analyses to permit generalizability of results to the US veteran population. Outcomes measured included lifetime and current psychiatric disorders and physical health conditions. A total 38% of US veterans reported being exposed to combat. Compared to noncombat veterans, combat veterans were younger, had greater household income, and served a greater number of years in the military; were more likely to be male, to have served in the Marine Corps, and to use the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System as their main source of health care; and reported a greater number of lifetime potentially traumatic events. After adjustment for these sociodemographic and military differences, combat veterans were more than 3 times as likely as noncombat veterans to screen positive for lifetime posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and more than twice as likely for current PTSD and had 82% greater odds of screening positive for current generalized anxiety disorder. After additionally controlling for lifetime diagnoses of PTSD and depression, alcohol or drug use disorder, and nicotine dependence, combat veterans had 68% greater odds of having attempted suicide and 85% and 38% greater odds of being diagnosed with a stroke and chronic pain, respectively. Younger combat veterans were more likely than older combat veterans to screen positive for lifetime (30.6% vs 10.1%) and current PTSD (19.2% vs 4.9%) and suicidal ideation (18.6% vs 6.9%) and to have been diagnosed with migraine headaches (12.8% vs 2.1%), while older combat veterans were more likely than

  2. Veterans Health Administration

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    ... code here VA » Veterans Health Administration Veterans Health Administration Veterans – Here's how to Avoid Getting the Flu ... Read more » VA Medical Centers The Veterans Health Administration is home to the United States’ largest integrated ...

  3. Health Programs for Veterans

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    ... Health Administration » Health Programs for Veterans Veterans Health Administration Health Programs for Veterans Beyond the doctors and ... families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers Geriatrics & Extended Care Geriatric ...

  4. Mental Health and Medical Health Disparities in 5135 Transgender Veterans Receiving Healthcare in the Veterans Health Administration: A Case-Control Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, George R; Jones, Kenneth T

    2016-04-01

    There are no large controlled studies of health disparities in transgender (TG) or gender dysphoric patients. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is the largest healthcare system in the United States and was an early adopter of electronic health records. We sought to determine whether medical and/or mental health disparities exist in VHA for clinically diagnosed TG veterans compared to matched veterans without a clinical diagnosis consistent with TG status. Using four ICD-9-CM codes consistent with TG identification, a cohort of 5135 TG veterans treated in VHA between 1996 and 2013 was identified. Veterans without one of these diagnoses were matched 1:3 in a case-control design to determine if medical and/or mental health disparities exist in the TG veteran population. In 2013, the prevalence of TG veterans with a qualifying clinical diagnosis was 58/100,000 patients. Statistically significant disparities were present in the TG cohort for all 10 mental health conditions examined, including depression, suicidality, serious mental illnesses, and post-traumatic stress disorder. TG Veterans were more likely to have been homeless, to have reported sexual trauma while on active duty, and to have been incarcerated. Significant disparities in the prevalence of medical diagnoses for TG veterans were also detected for 16/17 diagnoses examined, with HIV disease representing the largest disparity between groups. This is the first study to examine a large cohort of clinically diagnosed TG patients for psychiatric and medical health outcome disparities using longitudinal, retrospective medical chart data with a matched control group. TG veterans were found to have global disparities in psychiatric and medical diagnoses compared to matched non-TG veterans. These findings have significant implications for policy, healthcare screening, and service delivery in VHA and potentially other healthcare systems.

  5. Agent Orange exposure and risk of death in Korean Vietnam veterans: Korean Veterans Health Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yi, Sang-Wook; Ryu, So-Yeon; Ohrr, Heechoul; Hong, Jae-Seok

    2014-12-01

    Agent Orange (AO) was a mixture of phenoxy herbicides, containing several dioxin impurities including 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD). Various military herbicides, including AO, were sprayed by the US military and allied forces for military purposes during the Vietnam War. This study was performed to identify the associations between the AO exposure and mortality in Korean Vietnam veterans. From 1 January 1992 to 31 December 2005, 180 639 Korean Vietnam veterans were followed up for vital status and cause of death. The AO exposure index was based on the proximity of the veteran's unit to AO-sprayed areas, using a geographical information system-based model. The adjusted hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated by Cox's proportional hazard model. The mortality from all causes of death was elevated with AO exposure. The deaths due to all sites of cancers combined and some specific cancers, including cancers of the stomach, small intestine, liver, larynx, lung, bladder and thyroid gland, as well as chronic myeloid leukaemia, were positively associated with AO exposure. The deaths from angina pectoris, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and liver disease including liver cirrhosis were also increased with an increasing AO exposure. Overall, this study suggests that AO/TCDD exposure may account for mortality from various diseases even several decades after exposure. Further research is needed to better understand the long-term effects of AO/TCDD exposure on human health. © The Author 2014; all rights reserved. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Epidemiological Association.

  6. Age Differences in the Association of Social Support and Mental Health in Male U.S. Veterans: Results From the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weiner, Melissa R; Monin, Joan K; Mota, Natalie; Pietrzak, Robert H

    2016-04-01

    To examine the associations between multiple aspects of social support-perceived support, structural support, and community integration-and mental health difficulties in younger and older male veterans. Drawing from Socioemotional Selectivity Theory (SST), we hypothesized that greater support would be more strongly negatively related to mental health difficulties in older than younger veterans. Cross-sectional Web survey of younger and older male veterans recruited from a contemporary, nationally representative sample of veterans residing in the United States. Data were drawn from the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study. Participants were 290 younger male veterans (mean age: 37.0 years, SD: 6.9, range: 21-46) and 326 older male veterans (mean age: 81.7 years, SD: 3.2, range: 78-96). Participants completed measures of sociodemographic and military characteristics, perceived and structural social support, community integration, and mental health difficulties. In contrast to SST, higher perceived support was associated with fewer mental health difficulties in younger but not older veterans. In line with SST, community integration was associated with fewer mental health difficulties in older but not younger veterans. Structural support was not associated with mental health difficulties in either group. Results of this study provide mixed support for SST and suggest that different aspects of social support may help promote the mental health of younger and older male U.S. veterans. Promotion of community engagement may help promote mental health in older veterans, whereas promotion of functional social support may help promote mental health in younger veterans. Copyright © 2016 American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. All rights reserved.

  7. Mixed methods study examining work reintegration experiences from perspectives of Veterans with mental health disorders.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kukla, Marina; Rattray, Nicholas A; Salyers, Michelle P

    2015-01-01

    Recent findings have demonstrated that reintegration for Veterans is often challenging. One difficult aspect of reintegration—transitioning into the civilian workplace—has not been fully explored in the literature. To address this gap and examine work reintegration, this mixed methods study examined the perspectives of Veterans with mental health disorders receiving Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare. Forty Veterans rated factors that affect work success; participants also provided narratives on their most and least successful work experiences. We used t-tests and qualitative analysis to compare participants who did and did not serve in combat. Several themes relevant to work reintegration emerged in the narratives, particularly for Veterans who served in combat. An array of work difficulties were reported in the months following military discharge. In addition, Veterans who served in combat reported significantly more work barriers than Veterans who did not serve in combat, particularly health-related barriers. In conclusion, Veterans with mental health disorders who served in combat experienced more work reintegration difficulty than their counterparts who did not serve in combat. The role of being a Veteran affected how combat Veterans formed their self-concept, which also shaped their work success and community reintegration, especially during the early transition period.

  8. Health-related quality of life among individuals with long-standing spinal cord injury: a comparative study of veterans and non-veterans

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ghodsi Seyed

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Spinal cord-injured (SCI patients experience poor health-related quality of life (HRQOL and they usually report lower HRQOL than the general population or population subgroups in Iran and elsewhere. The aim of this study was to compare HRQOL between veterans and non-veterans with SCI in Iran. Methods This was a cross-sectional study. HRQOL was measured using the 36-item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36. Thirty-nine male veterans and 63 non-veteran males with SCI were included in the study. Regression analyses were applied to determine the variables affecting physical and mental health-related quality of life among the patients. Results The male veterans had a lower HRQOL than the non-veterans with SCI. The differences were significant for all measures except for physical and social functioning. The greatest difference was observed for bodily pain (P = 0.001. The regression analysis results indicated that a longer time since injury was associated (P = 0.01 with better physical health-related quality of life (PCS, while being a veteran (P Conclusion The study findings showed that veterans with SCI experienced lower HRQOL than their non-veteran counterparts. A qualitative study is recommended to evaluate why HRQOL was lower in veterans than in non-veterans with SCI although veterans had higher incomes as a result of their pensions and increased access to equipment, and medications. To improve quality of life in both veterans and non-veterans with spinal cord injuries, policy changes or implementation of new interventions may be essential so that veterans could receive additional support (e.g. counseling, recreation therapy, vocational therapy, etc. and non-veterans could meet their basic needs.

  9. Agent Orange exposure and disease prevalence in Korean Vietnam veterans: the Korean veterans health study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yi, Sang-Wook; Hong, Jae-Seok; Ohrr, Heechoul; Yi, Jee-Jeon

    2014-08-01

    Between 1961 and 1971, military herbicides were used by the United States and allied forces for military purposes. Agent Orange, the most-used herbicide, was a mixture of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid, and contained an impurity of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD). Many Korean Vietnam veterans were exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between Agent Orange exposure and the prevalence of diseases of the endocrine, nervous, circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems. The Agent Orange exposure was assessed by a geographic information system-based model. A total of 111,726 Korean Vietnam veterans were analyzed for prevalence using the Korea National Health Insurance claims data from January 2000 to September 2005. After adjusting for covariates, the high exposure group had modestly elevated odds ratios (ORs) for endocrine diseases combined and neurologic diseases combined. The adjusted ORs were significantly higher in the high exposure group than in the low exposure group for hypothyroidism (OR=1.13), autoimmune thyroiditis (OR=1.93), diabetes mellitus (OR=1.04), other endocrine gland disorders including pituitary gland disorders (OR=1.43), amyloidosis (OR=3.02), systemic atrophies affecting the nervous system including spinal muscular atrophy (OR=1.27), Alzheimer disease (OR=1.64), peripheral polyneuropathies (OR=1.09), angina pectoris (OR=1.04), stroke (OR=1.09), chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) including chronic bronchitis (OR=1.05) and bronchiectasis (OR=1.16), asthma (OR=1.04), peptic ulcer (OR=1.03), and liver cirrhosis (OR=1.08). In conclusion, Agent Orange exposure increased the prevalence of endocrine disorders, especially in the thyroid and pituitary gland; various neurologic diseases; COPD; and liver cirrhosis. Overall, this study suggests that Agent Orange/2,4-D/TCDD exposure several decades earlier may increase morbidity

  10. Psychological resilience in older U.S. veterans: results from the national health and resilience in veterans study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pietrzak, Robert H; Cook, Joan M

    2013-05-01

    Although a large body of empirical research has examined negative psychological outcomes in older veterans, relatively little is known about the prevalence and determinants of psychological resilience in this population. A nationally representative sample of 2,025 U.S. veterans aged 60 and older (mean = 71.0, standard deviation = 7.1, range = 60-96) completed a web-based survey as part of the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study (NHRVS). Cluster analysis of measures of lifetime potentially traumatic events, and current PTSD, major depression, and generalized anxiety symptoms was used to classify psychological outcomes. A three-group solution best fit the data: Control (low number of lifetime traumas, low current psychological distress; 60.4%); Resilient (high number of lifetime traumas, low current psychological distress; 27.5%); and distressed (high number of lifetime traumas, high current psychological distress; 12.1%). Among older veterans with a high number of traumas, 69.5% were in the Resilient group. Compared to the Distressed group, the Resilient group was more likely to have college or higher level of education, and to be married or living with a partner. They also scored higher on measures of emotional stability, social connectedness (i.e., secure attachment style, social support), protective psychosocial characteristics (e.g., community integration, purpose in life), and positive perceptions of the military's effect on one's life; and lower on measures of physical health difficulties and psychiatric problems, and openness to experiences. Among older U.S. veterans who have endured a high number of traumas in their lifetimes, nearly 70% are psychologically resilient in later life. Prevention efforts targeted toward bolstering social connectedness, community integration, and purpose in life may help promote psychological resilience in older veterans who endured a significant number of traumas in their lives. Published 2013. This article is a U

  11. Longitudinal Cognitive Trajectories of Women Veterans from the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Padula, Claudia B.; Weitlauf, Julie C.; Rosen, Allyson C.; Reiber, Gayle; Cochrane, Barbara B.; Naughton, Michelle J.; Li, Wenjun; Rissling, Michelle; Yaffe, Kristine; Hunt, Julie R.; Stefanick, Marcia L.; Goldstein, Mary K.; Espeland, Mark A.

    2016-01-01

    Purpose of the Study: A comparison of longitudinal global cognitive functioning in women Veteran and non-Veteran participants in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI). Design and Methods: We studied 7,330 women aged 65–79 at baseline who participated in the WHI Hormone Therapy Trial and its ancillary Memory Study (WHIMS). Global cognitive functioning (Modified Mini-Mental State Examination [3MSE]) in Veterans (n = 279) and non-Veterans (n = 7,051) was compared at baseline and annually for 8 years using generalized linear modeling methods. Results: Compared with non-Veterans, Veteran women were older, more likely to be Caucasian, unmarried, and had higher rates of educational and occupational attainment. Results of unadjusted baseline analyses suggest 3MSE scores were similar between groups. Longitudinal analyses, adjusted for age, education, ethnicity, and WHI trial assignment revealed differences in the rate of cognitive decline between groups over time, such that scores decreased more in Veterans relative to non-Veterans. This relative difference was more pronounced among Veterans who were older, had higher educational/occupational attainment and greater baseline prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors (e.g., smoking) and cardiovascular disease (e.g., angina, stroke). Implications: Veteran status was associated with higher prevalence of protective factors that may have helped initially preserve cognitive functioning. However, findings ultimately revealed more pronounced cognitive decline among Veteran relative to non-Veteran participants, likely suggesting the presence of risks that may impact neuropathology and the effects of which were initially masked by Veterans’ greater cognitive reserve. PMID:26615021

  12. Food insecurity and health: data from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Emily A; McGinnis, Kathleen A; Goulet, Joseph; Bryant, Kendall; Gibert, Cynthia; Leaf, David A; Mattocks, Kristin; Fiellin, Lynn E; Vogenthaler, Nicholas; Justice, Amy C; Fiellin, David A

    2015-01-01

    Food insecurity may be a modifiable and independent risk factor for worse control of medical conditions, but it has not been explored among veterans. We determined the prevalence of, and factors independently associated with, food insecurity among veterans in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS). Using data from VACS from 2002-2008, we determined the prevalence of food insecurity among veterans who have accessed health care in the Veterans Health Administration (VA) as defined by "concern about having enough food for you or your family in the past month." We used multivariable logistic regression to determine factors independently associated with food insecurity and tests of trend to measure the association between food insecurity and control of hypertension, diabetes, HIV, and depression. Of the 6,709 veterans enrolled in VACS, 1,624 (24%) reported being food insecure. Food insecurity was independently associated with being African American, earning food insecure was also associated with worse control of hypertension, diabetes, HIV, and depression (pFood insecurity is prevalent and associated with worse control of medical conditions among veterans who have accessed care in the VA.

  13. Motor neurone disease and military service: evidence from the Scottish Veterans Health Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bergman, Beverly P; Mackay, Daniel F; Pell, Jill P

    2015-12-01

    In 2003, it was reported that motor neurone disease was linked to military service in the 1990-1991 Gulf War. A large study in the US confirmed an association with military service but found no association with specific conflicts or length of service. Non-veteran studies have suggested an association with physical activity, smoking and other risk factors. We used data from the Scottish Veterans Health Study to investigate the association between motor neurone disease and military service in UK veterans. Retrospective cohort study of 57,000 veterans born 1945-1985, and 173,000 demographically matched civilians, using Cox proportional hazard models to compare the risk of motor neurone disease overall, and by sex, birth cohort, length of service and year of recruitment. We had no data on smoking prevalence. Veterans had an increased risk of motor neurone disease compared with non-veterans (adjusted HR 1.49, 95% CI 1.01 to 2.21, p=0.046). The increase was independent of birth cohort, length or period of service, or year of recruitment. Risk was associated with a history of trauma or road traffic accident in veterans and non-veterans. We confirmed an increased risk of motor neurone disease in military veterans, although the absolute risk is extremely low. We found no evidence that the increased risk was associated with any specific conflict. We could not rule out that smoking (and perhaps other lifestyle factors) may be responsible for our findings. Trauma may play a role in the increased risk but further studies are needed. Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://www.bmj.com/company/products-services/rights-and-licensing/

  14. Long-acting Reversible Contraception Among Homeless Women Veterans With Chronic Health Conditions: A Retrospective Cohort Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gawron, Lori M; Redd, Andrew; Suo, Ying; Pettey, Warren; Turok, David K; Gundlapalli, Adi V

    2017-09-01

    US women Veterans are at increased risk of homelessness and chronic health conditions associated with unintended pregnancy. Veterans Health Administration (VHA) provision of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) can assist in healthy pregnancy planning. To evaluate perinatal risk factors and LARC exposure in ever-homeless women Veterans. A retrospective cohort study of women Veterans using VHA administrative data from fiscal years 2002-2015. We included 41,747 ever-homeless women Veterans age 18-44 years and 46,391 housed women Veterans matched by military service period. A subgroup of 7773 ever-homeless and 8674 matched housed women Veterans deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan [Operations Enduring Freedom/Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND)] conflicts comprised a second analytic cohort. Descriptive statistics compared demographic, military, health conditions, and LARC exposure in ever-homeless versus housed women Veterans. Multivariable logistic regression explored factors associated with LARC exposure in the OEF/OIF/OND subgroup. All health conditions were significantly higher in ever-homeless versus housed Veterans: mental health disorder in 84.5% versus 48.7% (Phomeless women Veterans and providing LARC access. The prevalence of perinatal risk factors in ever-homeless women Veterans highlights a need for further programmatic enhancements to improve reproductive planning.

  15. Lessons from Initiating the First Veterans Health Administration (VA) Women's Health Practice-based Research Network (WH-PBRN) Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pomernacki, Alyssa; Carney, Diane V; Kimerling, Rachel; Nazarian, Deborah; Blakeney, Jill; Martin, Brittany D; Strehlow, Holly; Yosef, Julia; Goldstein, Karen M; Sadler, Anne G; Bean-Mayberry, Bevanne A; Bastian, Lori A; Bucossi, Meggan M; McLean, Caitlin; Sonnicksen, Shannan; Klap, Ruth; Yano, Elizabeth M; Frayne, Susan M

    2015-01-01

    The Veterans Health Administration (VA) Women's Health Practice-Based Research Network (WH-PBRN) was created to foster innovations for the health care of women veterans. The inaugural study by the WH-PBRN was designed to identify women veterans' own priorities and preferences for mental health services and to inform refinements to WH-PBRN operational procedures. Addressing the latter, this article reports lessons learned from the inaugural study. WH-PBRN site coordinators at the 4 participating sites convened weekly with the study coordinator and the WH-PBRN program manager to address logistical issues and identify lessons learned. Findings were categorized into a matrix of challenges and facilitators related to key study elements. Challenges to the conduct of PBRN-based research included tracking of regulatory documents; cross-site variability in some regulatory processes; and troubleshooting logistics of clinic-based recruitment. Facilitators included a central institutional review board, strong relationships between WH-PBRN research teams and women's health clinic teams, and the perception that women want to help other women veterans. Our experience with the inaugural WH-PBRN study demonstrated the feasibility of establishing productive relationships between local clinicians and researchers, and of recruiting a special population (women veterans) in diverse sites within an integrated health care system. This identified strengths of a PBRN approach. © Copyright 2015 by the American Board of Family Medicine.

  16. An Exploratory Study of Student Service Members/Veterans' Mental Health Characteristics by Sexual Orientation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pelts, Michael D; Albright, David L

    2015-01-01

    Explore the mental health differences of student veterans by sexual orientation. Student service members/veterans (N = 702) from the Fall 2011 National College Health Assessment. Descriptive statistics and 2-sample proportion and mean tests were used to compare mental health characteristics. Student veterans who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or unsure had higher levels of mental health symptoms and treatment. Results suggest a need for continued examination of student service members/veterans as related to disparities in mental health by sexual orientation.

  17. Organizational factors associated with Health Care Provider (HCP) influenza campaigns in the Veterans health care system: a qualitative study

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Razouki, Zayd; Knighton, Troy; Martinello, Richard A; Hirsch, Pamela R; McPhaul, Kathleen M; Rose, Adam J; McCullough, Megan

    2016-01-01

    .... We sought to characterize organizational factors and practices that were associated with vaccination campaign success among six sites within the Veterans Health Administration, where receipt of flu...

  18. Veterans and Military Family Health

    Science.gov (United States)

    Service members and veterans face some different health issues from civilians. Their families also face some unique challenges. Families may have to cope with Separation from their loved ones Anxiety over loved ones' safety in combat ...

  19. Veterans Health Administration (VHA)

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    Social Security Administration — The purpose of this agreement is for SSA to verify SSNs and other identifying information for the Department of Veterans Affairs, VHA. DVA will use the information...

  20. Results from the Veterans Health Administration ICD-10-CM/PCS Coding Pilot Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weems, Shelley; Heller, Pamela; Fenton, Susan H

    2015-01-01

    The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) of the US Department of Veterans Affairs has been preparing for the October 1, 2015, conversion to the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification and Procedural Coding System (ICD-10-CM/PCS) for more than four years. The VHA's Office of Informatics and Analytics ICD-10 Program Management Office established an ICD-10 Learning Lab to explore expected operational challenges. This study was conducted to determine the effects of the classification system conversion on coding productivity. ICD codes are integral to VHA business processes and are used for purposes such as clinical studies, performance measurement, workload capture, cost determination, Veterans Equitable Resource Allocation (VERA) determination, morbidity and mortality classification, indexing of hospital records by disease and operations, data storage and retrieval, research purposes, and reimbursement. The data collection for this study occurred in multiple VHA sites across several months using standardized methods. It is commonly accepted that coding productivity will decrease with the implementation of ICD-10-CM/PCS. The findings of this study suggest that the decrease will be more significant for inpatient coding productivity (64.5 percent productivity decrease) than for ambulatory care coding productivity (6.7 percent productivity decrease). This study reveals the following important points regarding ICD-10-CM/PCS coding productivity: 1. Ambulatory care ICD-10-CM coding productivity is not expected to decrease as significantly as inpatient ICD-10-CM/PCS coding productivity. 2. Coder training and type of record (inpatient versus outpatient) affect coding productivity. 3. Inpatient coding productivity is decreased when a procedure requiring ICD-10-PCS coding is present. It is highly recommended that organizations perform their own analyses to determine the effects of ICD-10-CM/PCS implementation on coding productivity.

  1. Results from the Veterans Health Administration ICD-10-CM/PCS Coding Pilot Study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weems, Shelley; Heller, Pamela; Fenton, Susan H.

    2015-01-01

    The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) of the US Department of Veterans Affairs has been preparing for the October 1, 2015, conversion to the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification and Procedural Coding System (ICD-10-CM/PCS) for more than four years. The VHA's Office of Informatics and Analytics ICD-10 Program Management Office established an ICD-10 Learning Lab to explore expected operational challenges. This study was conducted to determine the effects of the classification system conversion on coding productivity. ICD codes are integral to VHA business processes and are used for purposes such as clinical studies, performance measurement, workload capture, cost determination, Veterans Equitable Resource Allocation (VERA) determination, morbidity and mortality classification, indexing of hospital records by disease and operations, data storage and retrieval, research purposes, and reimbursement. The data collection for this study occurred in multiple VHA sites across several months using standardized methods. It is commonly accepted that coding productivity will decrease with the implementation of ICD-10-CM/PCS. The findings of this study suggest that the decrease will be more significant for inpatient coding productivity (64.5 percent productivity decrease) than for ambulatory care coding productivity (6.7 percent productivity decrease). This study reveals the following important points regarding ICD-10-CM/PCS coding productivity: Ambulatory care ICD-10-CM coding productivity is not expected to decrease as significantly as inpatient ICD-10-CM/PCS coding productivity.Coder training and type of record (inpatient versus outpatient) affect coding productivity.Inpatient coding productivity is decreased when a procedure requiring ICD-10-PCS coding is present. It is highly recommended that organizations perform their own analyses to determine the effects of ICD-10-CM/PCS implementation on coding productivity. PMID:26396553

  2. Comparing the health status of VA and non-VA ambulatory patients: the veterans' health and medical outcomes studies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, William H; Kazis, Lewis E; Miller, Donald R; Skinner, Katherine M; Clark, Jack A; Spiro, Avron; Fincke, R Graeme

    2004-01-01

    The purpose of this study was to compare health status and disease profiles of ambulatory patients in specific Veterans Administration (VA) and civilian healthcare settings. A random sample of 2425 male veterans seeking care at 4 Boston-area VA outpatient clinics, who took part in the Veterans Health Study (VHS) in 1993-1995, were compared to 1318 male patients seeking civilian outpatient care in 3 major metropolitan areas covered in the Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) in 1986. The MOS sampled patients who had 1 of 5 conditions--hypertension, noninsulin-dependent diabetes, recent myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, or depression. These 2 samples were age adjusted and compared in terms of the SF-36 Health Status/Quality of Life measures, and a list of 100 clinical variables (diagnostic, symptom, and medical event reports) collected with comparable instruments by a trained clinical observer. Individual odds ratios (VHS to MOS) were calculated for each measure and clinical variables. SF-36 measures of patient health in the VHS were lower than those in the MOS by more than one half of a standard deviation (SD) on 4 of 8 scales, by more than one quarter of a SD on the other 4, by 58% of a SD on the physical health summary scale, and by 37% of a SD on the mental health summary scale (P illness burden than did patients in the MOS. Current economic condition and service-connected disability explain most, if not all, of the differences. The differences were clinically and socially meaningful and would be consistent with substantially higher expected healthcare use.

  3. Deserving Veterans' Disability Compensation: A Qualitative Study of Veterans' Perceptions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    MacGregor, Casey; Heilemann, MarySue V

    2017-05-01

    Veterans recently returned from Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) experience many health and mental health problems after deployment. These OEF/OIF veterans are applying and appealing for veterans' disability compensation (VDC) at rapidly increasing rates, often for "invisible conditions" such as posttraumatic stress disorder. Little is known about how veterans experience the process of applying and receiving VDC. In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with OEF/OIF veterans ages 35 and younger (N = 18). This article addresses how veterans perceive themselves, and other veterans, of being deserving and undeserving of VDC. Veterans' rationales can be categorized into four primary areas: (1) risking and suffering, (2) the cause of the condition, (3) intentions to become self-sufficient, and (4) putting VDC to "good use." © 2017 National Association of Social Workers.

  4. A study to reduce readmissions after surgery in the Veterans Health Administration: design and methodology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Copeland, Laurel A; Graham, Laura A; Richman, Joshua S; Rosen, Amy K; Mull, Hillary J; Burns, Edith A; Whittle, Jeff; Itani, Kamal M F; Hawn, Mary T

    2017-03-14

    Hospital readmissions are associated with higher resource utilization and worse patient outcomes. Causes of unplanned readmission to the hospital are multiple with some being better targets for intervention than others. To understand risk factors for surgical readmission and their incremental contribution to current Veterans Health Administration (VA) surgical quality assessment, the study, Improving Surgical Quality: Readmission (ISQ-R), is being conducted to develop a readmission risk prediction tool, explore predisposing and enabling factors, and identify and rank reasons for readmission in terms of salience and mutability. Harnessing the rich VA enterprise data, predictive readmission models are being developed in data from patients who underwent surgical procedures within the VA 2007-2012. Prospective assessment of psychosocial determinants of readmission including patient self-efficacy, cognitive, affective and caregiver status are being obtained from a cohort having colorectal, thoracic or vascular procedures at four VA hospitals in 2015-2017. Using these two data sources, ISQ-R will develop readmission categories and validate the readmission risk prediction model. A modified Delphi process will convene surgeons, non-surgeon clinicians and quality improvement nurses to rank proposed readmission categories vis-à-vis potential preventability. ISQ-R will identify promising avenues for interventions to facilitate improvements in surgical quality, informing specifications for surgical workflow managers seeking to improve care and reduce cost. ISQ-R will work with Veterans Affairs Surgical Quality Improvement Program (VASQIP) to recommend potential new elements VASQIP might collect to monitor surgical complications and readmissions which might be preventable and ultimately improve surgical care.

  5. Grapheme-color synesthesia and posttraumatic stress disorder: preliminary results from the veterans health study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoffman, Stuart N; Zhang, Xiaopeng; Erlich, Porat M; Boscarino, Joseph A

    2012-01-01

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with altered neuropsychological function, possibly including complex visual information processing. Grapheme-color synesthesia refers to the phenomenon that a particular letter or number elicits the visual perception of a specific color. The study objective was to assess if grapheme-color synesthesia was associated with PTSD among US veterans. We surveyed 700 veterans who were outpatients in a multihospital system in Pennsylvania. All veterans had served at least one warzone deployment. PTSD and grapheme-color synesthesia were assessed using validated research instruments. The mean age of veterans was 59 years, and 96% were men. The prevalence of current PTSD was 7% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 5.1-8.8), and current partial PTSD was 11% (95% CI = 9.3-14.0). The prevalence of current depression was 6% (95% CI = 4.7-8.3). Altogether, 6% (95% CI = 4.8-8.5) of veterans screened positive for grapheme-color synesthesia. Bivariate analyses suggested that grapheme-color synesthesia was associated with current PTSD (odds ratio [OR] = 3.4, p = .004) and current partial PTSD (OR = 2.4, p = .013), but not current depression (OR = 1.1, p = .91). Multivariate logistic regression results, adjusting for age, sex, marital status, level of education, current psychotropic medication use, and concussion history, confirmed these results. Grapheme-color synesthesia seems to be associated with PTSD among veterans who had been deployed. This finding may have implications for PTSD diagnostic screening and treatment. Research is recommended to confirm this finding and to determine if synesthesia is a risk indicator for PTSD among nonveterans.

  6. Grapheme-color Synesthesia and PTSD: Preliminary Results from the Veterans Health Study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoffman, Stuart N.; Zhang, Xiaopeng; Erlich, Porat M.; Boscarino, Joseph A.

    2013-01-01

    Objective Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with altered neuropsychological function, possibly including complex visual information processing. Grapheme-color synesthesia refers to the phenomenon that a particular letter or number elicits the visual perception of a specific color. The study objective was to assess if grapheme-color synesthesia was associated with PTSD among US veterans. Method We surveyed 700 veterans who were outpatients in a multi-hospital system in Pennsylvania. All veterans had served at least one warzone deployment. PTSD and grapheme-color synesthesia were assessed using a validated research instruments. Results The mean age of veterans was 59 and 96% were men. The prevalence of current PTSD was 7% (95% C.I. = 5.1–8.8) and current partial PTSD was 11% (95% C.I. = 9.3–14.0). The prevalence of current depression was 6% (95% C.I. = 4.7–8.3). Altogether, 6% (95% C.I. = 4.8–8.5) of veterans screened positive for grapheme-color synesthesia. Bivariate analyses suggested that grapheme-color synesthesia was associated with current PTSD (odds ratio [OR] = 3.4, p = 0.004) and current partial PTSD (OR = 2.4, p = 0.013), but not current depression (OR = 1.1, p = 0.91). Multivariate logistic regression results, adjusting for age, gender, marital status, level of education, current psychotropic medication use, and concussion history, confirmed these results. Conclusion Grapheme-color synesthesia appears to be associated with PTSD among veterans who had been deployed. This finding may have implications for PTSD diagnostic screening and treatment. Research is recommended to confirm this finding and to determine if synesthesia is a risk indicator for PTSD among nonveterans. PMID:23115347

  7. Veterans and Military Health

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... sacrifices to our country, and they face different health issues than civilians. During their service, they are ... knees There may also be a risk of health problems from exposure to environmental hazards, such as ...

  8. Health care for homeless veterans. Final rule.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-08-23

    This final rule establishes regulations for contracting with community-based treatment facilities in the Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The HCHV program assists certain homeless veterans in obtaining treatment from non-VA community-based providers. The final rule formalizes VA's policies and procedures in connection with this program and clarifies that veterans with substance use disorders may qualify for the program.

  9. Health-Related Quality of Life Among U.S. Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom-Results From a Population-Based Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Díaz Santana, Mary Vanellys; Eber, Stephanie; Barth, Shannon; Cypel, Yasmin; Dursa, Erin; Schneiderman, Aaron

    2017-11-01

    Recent studies have demonstrated health problems among veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom). Veterans from these conflicts have a higher prevalence of mental disorders and physical diseases, though most studies were conducted using administrative data. This study analyzes data from the National Health Study for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans, a population-based survey that collected data on Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans between 2009 and 2011. Weighted prevalence estimates of deployed and nondeployed veterans were calculated for SF-12 general health perception and clinic and hospital visits. Weighted mean physical (PCS) and mental component summary (MCS) scores were calculated by demographic and military characteristics. Weighted, adjusted odds ratios (aORs), 95% confidence intervals (95% CI), and prevalence estimates were calculated for physician-diagnosed medical conditions comparing deployed to nondeployed veterans. Of 60,000 veterans sampled, 20,563 responded to the survey (response rate = 34%). Deployed veterans had increased odds for significant hearing loss (aOR = 1.48; 95% CI = 1.35, 1.63), and lower odds for arthritis (aOR = 0.90; 95% CI = 0.83, 0.98), diabetes (aOR = 0.70; 95% CI = 0.58, 0.84), and migraines (aOR = 0.88; 95% CI = 0.80, 0.97) compared to nondeployed veterans. The prevalence of clinic visits was nearly equal between deployed and nondeployed veterans, though nondeployed veterans reported a higher percentage of hospitalizations that were overnight or longer. The SF-12 MCS was higher among the nondeployed group compared to the deployed group (p < 0.0001), though the deployed group reported a higher PCS compared to the nondeployed (p < 0.0001). The SF-12 MCS and PCS were lower than the U.S. population mean of 50. Deployed veterans are at increased risk for some health conditions; however, nondeployed veterans also report a variety of health

  10. Psychosocial function and health in veteran families

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jensen, Mai Tødsø; Karmsteen, Kirstine; Jørgensen, Anne-Marie Klint

    to the veteran or the mental health of the partner while relatively few publications deal with the veteran family as a whole or its members social relations outside the primary family. Furthermore, there are relatively few publications focusing on relatives to veterans deployed other places than Iraq...... and Afghanistan, publications focusing on relatives of veterans with physical injuries and few publications dealing with relatives to female veterans. The overall conclusion is that there is a potential need for addressing psychosocial functioning and health among these groups of relatives in research to provide...

  11. A descriptive analysis of medical health services utilization of Veterans living in Ontario: a retrospective cohort study using administrative healthcare data.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aiken, Alice B; Mahar, Alyson L; Kurdyak, Paul; Whitehead, Marlo; Groome, Patti A

    2016-08-04

    Health services utilization by Veterans following release may be different than the general population as the result of occupational conditions, requirements and injuries. This study provides the first longitudinal overview of Canadian Veteran healthcare utilization in the Ontario public health system. This is a retrospective cohort study designed to use Ontario's provincial healthcare data to study the demographics and healthcare utilization of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) & RCMP Veterans living in Ontario. Veterans were eligible for the study if they released between January 1, 1990 and March 31, 2013. Databases at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences were linked by a unique identifier to study non-mental health related hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and physician visits. Overall and age-stratified descriptive statistics were calculated in five-year intervals following the date of release. The cohort is comprised of 23, 818 CAF or RCMP Veterans. Following entry into the provincial healthcare system, 82.6 % (95 % CI 82.1-83.1) of Veterans saw their family physician at least once over the first five years following release, 60.7 % (95 % CI 60.0-61.3) saw a non-mental health specialist, 40.8 % (95 % CI 40.2-41.5) went to the emergency department in that same time period and 9.9 % (9.5-10.3) were hospitalized for non-mental health related complaints. Patterns of non-mental health services utilization appeared to be time and service dependant. Stratifying health services utilization by age of the Veteran at entry into the provincial healthcare system revealed significant differences in service use and intensity. This study provides the first description of health services utilization by Veterans, following release from the CAF or RCMP. This work will inform the planning and delivery of support to Veterans in Ontario.

  12. Lower urinary tract dysfunction in male Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans: association with mental health disorders: a population-based cohort study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Breyer, Benjamin N; Cohen, Beth E; Bertenthal, Daniel; Rosen, Raymond C; Neylan, Thomas C; Seal, Karen H

    2014-02-01

    To determine the prevalence and correlates of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) among returned Iraq and Afghanistan veterans; in particular its association with mental health diagnoses and medication use. We performed a retrospective cohort study of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who were new users of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health care. Mental health diagnoses were defined by International Classification of Disease, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) codes from medical records. LUTS was defined by ICD-9-CM code, use of prescription medication for LUTS, or procedure for LUTS. We determined the independent association of mental health diagnoses and LUTS after adjusting for sociodemographic and military service characteristics, comorbidities, and medications. Of 519,189 veterans, 88% were men and the mean age was 31.8 years (standard deviation ± 9.3). The overall prevalence of LUTS was 2.2% (11,237/519,189). Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were significantly more likely to have a LUTS diagnosis, prescription, or related procedure (3.5%) compared with veterans with no mental health diagnoses (1.3%) or a mental health diagnosis other than PTSD (3.1%, P <.001). In adjusted models, LUTS was significantly more common in veterans with PTSD with and without other mental health disorders vs those without mental health disorders (adjusted relative risk [ARR] = 2.04, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.94-2.15) and in veterans prescribed opioids (ARR = 2.46, 95% CI = 2.36-2.56). In this study of young returned veterans, mental health diagnoses and prescription for opioids were independently associated with increased risk of receiving a diagnosis, treatment, or procedure for LUTS. Provider awareness may improve the detection and treatment of LUTS, and improve patient care and quality of life. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  13. Cigarette Smoking and Sociodemographic, Military, and Health Characteristics of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans: 2009-2011 National Health Study for a New Generation of US Veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cypel, Yasmin S; Hamlett-Berry, Kim; Barth, Shannon K; Christofferson, Dana E; Davey, Victoria J; Eber, Stephanie; Schneiderman, Aaron I; Bossarte, Robert M

    2016-09-01

    We examined the sociodemographic, military, and health characteristics of current cigarette smokers, former smokers, and nonsmokers among Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) / Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) veterans and estimated smoking prevalence to better understand cigarette use in this population. We analyzed data from the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) 2009-2011 National Health Study for a New Generation of US Veterans. On the basis of a stratified random sample of 60 000 OEF/OIF veterans, we sought responses to a 72-item questionnaire via mail, telephone, or Internet. Cigarette smoking status was based on self-reported cigarette use in the past year. We used multinomial logistic regression to evaluate associations between smoking status and sociodemographic, military, and health characteristics. Among 19 911 veterans who provided information on cigarette smoking, 5581 were current smokers (weighted percentage: 32.5%, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 31.7-33.2). Current smokers were more likely than nonsmokers or former smokers to be younger, to have less education or income, to be separated/divorced or never married/single, and to have served on active duty or in the army. Comparing current smokers and nonsmokers, some significant associations from adjusted analyses included the following: having a Mental Component Summary score (a measure of overall mental health) above the mean of the US population relative to below the mean (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 0.81, 95% CI: 0.73-0.90); having physician-diagnosed depression (aOR = 1.52, 95% CI: 1.33-1.74), respiratory conditions (aOR = 1.16, 95% CI: 1.04-1.30), or repeated seizures/blackouts/convulsions (aOR = 1.80, 95% CI: 1.22-2.67); heavy alcohol use vs never use (aOR = 5.49, 95% CI: 4.57-6.59); a poor vs excellent perception of overall health (aOR = 3.79, 95% CI: 2.60-5.52); and being deployed vs nondeployed (aOR = 0.87, 95% CI: 0.78-0.96). Using health care services from the VA protected against current

  14. Oxytocin receptor gene polymorphisms, attachment, and PTSD: Results from the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sippel, Lauren M; Han, Shizhong; Watkins, Laura E; Harpaz-Rotem, Ilan; Southwick, Steven M; Krystal, John H; Olff, Miranda; Sherva, Richard; Farrer, Lindsay A; Kranzler, Henry R; Gelernter, Joel; Pietrzak, Robert H

    2017-11-01

    The human oxytocin system is implicated in social behavior and stress recovery. Polymorphisms in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) may interact with attachment style to predict stress-related psychopathology like posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The objective of this study was to examine independent and interactive effects of the OXTR single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs53576, which has been associated with stress reactivity, support-seeking, and PTSD in prior studies, and attachment style on risk for PTSD in a nationally representative sample of 2163 European-American (EA) U.S. military veterans who participated in two independent waves of the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study (NHRVS). Results revealed that insecure attachment style [adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 4.29; p attachment style (OR = 2.58, p = 0.02) were associated with probable lifetime PTSD. Among individuals with the minor A allele, the prevalence of probable PTSD was significantly higher among those with an insecure attachment style (23.9%) than those with a secure attachment style (2.0%), equivalent to an adjusted OR of 10.7. We attempted to replicate these findings by utilizing dense marker data from a genome-wide association study of 2215 high-risk civilians; one OXTR variant, though not rs53576, was associated with PTSD. Exploratory analyses in the veteran sample revealed that the interaction between this variant and attachment style predicting probable PTSD approached statistical significance. Results indicate that polymorphisms in the OXTR gene and attachment style may contribute to vulnerability to PTSD in U.S. military veterans. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  15. Sexual Trauma: Women Veterans Health Care

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... Enter ZIP code here Health Awareness Campaigns: Sexual Trauma Sexual Trauma Women Veterans Health Care has created materials to ... 10-320LG Dimensions: 11" x 17" Effects of Sexual Trauma One in five women in the United States ...

  16. Defining "Rural" for Veterans' Health Care Planning

    Science.gov (United States)

    West, Alan N.; Lee, Richard E.; Shambaugh-Miller, Michael D.; Bair, Byron D.; Mueller, Keith J.; Lilly, Ryan S.; Kaboli, Peter J.; Hawthorne, Kara

    2010-01-01

    Purpose: The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) devised an algorithm to classify veterans as Urban, Rural, or Highly Rural residents. To understand the policy implications of the VHA scheme, we compared its categories to 3 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and 4 Rural-Urban Commuting Area (RUCA) geographical categories. Method: Using…

  17. Processes and outcomes of the veterans health administration safe patient handling program: study protocol.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rugs, Deborah; Toyinbo, Peter; Patel, Nitin; Powell-Cope, Gail; Hahm, Bridget; Elnitsky, Christine; Besterman-Dahan, Karen; Campbell, Robert; Sutton, Bryce

    2013-11-18

    Health care workers, such as nurses, nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants, who manually move patients, are consistently listed in the top professions for musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs) by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These MSIs are typically caused by high-risk patient caregiving activities. In 2008, a safe patient handling (SPH) program was implemented in all 153 Veterans Administration Medical Centers (VAMCs) throughout the United States to reduce patient handling injuries. The goal of the present study is to evaluate the effects associated with the national implementation of a comprehensive SPH program. The primary objectives of the research were to determine the effectiveness of the SPH program in improving direct care nursing outcomes and to provide a context for understanding variations in program results across sites over time. Secondary objectives of the present research were to evaluate the effectiveness of the program in reducing direct and indirect costs associated with patient handling, to explore the potential mediating and moderating mechanisms, and to identify unintended consequences of implementing the program. This 3-year longitudinal study used mixed methods of data collection at 6- to 9-month intervals. The analyses will include data from surveys, administrative databases, individual and focus group interviews, and nonparticipant observations. For this study, a 3-tiered measurement plan was used. For Tier 1, the unit of analysis was the facility, the data source was the facility coordinator or administrative data, and all 153 VAMCs participated. For Tier 2, frontline caregivers and program peer leaders at 17 facilities each completed different surveys. For Tier 3, six facilities completed qualitative site visits, which included individual interviews, focus groups, and nonparticipant observations. Multiple regression models were proposed to test the effects of SPH components on nursing outcomes related to patient handling. Content analysis

  18. Update on Key Studies - The Millennium Cohort Study, The STAMPEDE Study, The Million Veteran Program, and The National Health Study for a New Generation of US Veterans

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-01-01

    bronchitis, emphysema, and bronchiolitis ), • medical care visits, and • quality of life. Because respiratory diseases may cause substantial health- care...exposure data. Additional studies are underway to help clarify the role of deployment experi- ences and respiratory outcomes. In summary, the MCS has...health outcomes of interest to help inform DoD/ VA leaders and policies. 311 THE STAMPEDE STUDY emphysematous changes in one patient, and

  19. US veterans and their unique issues: enhancing health care professional awareness

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Olenick M

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Maria Olenick,1 Monica Flowers,1 Valerie J Diaz1,21Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Science, Florida International University, Miami, FL, USA; 2Operational Health Support Unit Jacksonville, United States Navy Nurse Corps, Jacksonville, FL, USAAbstract: United States veterans are a multifaceted population with a distinct culture that includes, but is not limited to, values, customs, ethos, selfless duty, codes of conduct, implicit patterns of communication, and obedience to command. Veterans experience mental health disorders, substance use disorders, post-traumatic stress, and traumatic brain injury at disproportionate rates compared to their civilian counterparts. Eighteen to 22 American veterans commit suicide daily and young veterans aged 18–44 are most at risk. Health care professionals must be aware of patients' military history and be able to recognize suicide-risk factors, regardless of age. Advancement in medical technology has allowed servicemen to survive their injuries but, for many, at the cost of a traumatic limb amputation and associated mental scarring. Health care professionals must be able to address physical safety concerns, as well as, emotional health of veterans. Approximately 49,933 American veterans are homeless and face the same difficulties as non-veterans in addition to service-related matters. Separation from military service and issues related to complex multiple deployments are among specifically identified veteran issues. Successful veteran reintegration into civilian life rests upon providing veterans with training that builds on their military knowledge and skill, employment post-separation from service, homelessness prevention, and mental health programs that promote civilian transition. Preparing health care providers to meet the complex needs of a vast veteran population can be facilitated by implementing veteran content into curricula that includes veteran patient simulations and case studies

  20. Veterans' Mental Health in Higher Education Settings: Services and Clinician Education Needs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Niv, Noosha; Bennett, Lauren

    2017-06-01

    Utilization of the GI Bill and attendance at higher education institutions among student veterans have significantly increased since passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Campus counseling centers should be prepared to meet the mental health needs of student veterans. This study identified the mental health resources and services that colleges provide student veterans and the education needs of clinical staff on how to serve student veterans. Directors of mental health services from 80 California colleges completed a semistructured phone interview. Few schools track the number, demographic characteristics, or presenting needs of student veterans who utilize campus mental health services or offer priority access or special mental health services for veterans. Directors wanted centers to receive education for an average of 5.8 veteran-related mental health topics and preferred workshops and lectures to handouts and online training. Significant training needs exist among clinical staff of campus mental health services to meet the needs of student veterans.

  1. US veterans and their unique issues: enhancing health care professional awareness.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olenick, Maria; Flowers, Monica; Diaz, Valerie J

    2015-01-01

    United States veterans are a multifaceted population with a distinct culture that includes, but is not limited to, values, customs, ethos, selfless duty, codes of conduct, implicit patterns of communication, and obedience to command. Veterans experience mental health disorders, substance use disorders, post-traumatic stress, and traumatic brain injury at disproportionate rates compared to their civilian counterparts. Eighteen to 22 American veterans commit suicide daily and young veterans aged 18-44 are most at risk. Health care professionals must be aware of patients' military history and be able to recognize suicide-risk factors, regardless of age. Advancement in medical technology has allowed servicemen to survive their injuries but, for many, at the cost of a traumatic limb amputation and associated mental scarring. Health care professionals must be able to address physical safety concerns, as well as, emotional health of veterans. Approximately 49,933 American veterans are homeless and face the same difficulties as non-veterans in addition to service-related matters. Separation from military service and issues related to complex multiple deployments are among specifically identified veteran issues. Successful veteran reintegration into civilian life rests upon providing veterans with training that builds on their military knowledge and skill, employment post-separation from service, homelessness prevention, and mental health programs that promote civilian transition. Preparing health care providers to meet the complex needs of a vast veteran population can be facilitated by implementing veteran content into curricula that includes veteran patient simulations and case studies, and utilizes veteran clinical faculty.

  2. Transgender Veterans' Satisfaction With Care and Unmet Health Needs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lehavot, Keren; Katon, Jodie G; Simpson, Tracy L; Shipherd, Jillian C

    2017-09-01

    Transgender individuals are overrepresented among Veterans. However, little is known regarding their satisfaction with Veterans Administration (VA) care and unmet health needs. This study examined transgender Veterans' satisfaction with VA medical and mental health care, prevalence of delaying care, and correlates of these outcomes. We used data from transgender Veterans collected in 2014 through an online, national survey. In total, 298 transgender Veterans living in the United States. We assessed patient satisfaction with VA medical and mental health care and self-reported delays in seeking medical and mental health care in the past year. Potential correlates associated with these 4 outcomes included demographic, health, and health care variables. Over half of the sample used VA (56%) since their military discharge. Among transgender Veterans who had used VA, 79% were satisfied with medical care and 69% with mental health care. Lower income was associated with dissatisfaction with VA medical care, and being a transgender man was associated with dissatisfaction with VA mental health care. A substantial proportion reported delays in seeking medical (46%) or mental (38%) health care in the past year (not specific to VA). Screening positive for depression and/or posttraumatic stress disorder was associated with delays in seeking both types of care. Although the majority of transgender Veterans are satisfied with VA health care, certain subgroups are less likely to be satisfied with care. Further, many report delaying accessing care, particularly those with depression and/or posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. Adapting health care settings to better engage these vulnerable Veterans may be necessary.

  3. Mental Health Among Military Personnel and Veterans

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Pickett, Treven; Rothman, David; Crawford, Eric F; Brancu, Mira; Fairbank, John A; Kudler, Harold S

    2015-01-01

    This commentary describes the prevalence of mental health problems affecting military service members and veterans in North Carolina and the rest of the nation, with a special emphasis on those who...

  4. "We Are Disaster Response Experts": A Qualitative Study on the Mental Health Impact of Volunteering in Disaster Settings Among Combat Veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kranke, Derrick; Weiss, Eugenia L; Heslin, Kevin C; Dobalian, Aram

    2017-01-01

    Volunteers serving in a disaster context may experience harmful mental health effects that could impede rescue operations. Exploratory research suggests that combat veterans who volunteer in Team Rubicon (TR)-a disaster relief social service organization with the mission of uniting the skills and experiences of military Veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams-have positive mental health responses when providing disaster relief. The objective of this qualitative study was to identify those nuances associated with combat veterans' mental health response in TR. The study consisted of (N = 9) male combat Veterans who volunteered with TR. Data was thematically analyzed. Results suggested that members did not experience negative mental health effects because of prior military training and preparedness relevant to disaster situations. Positive outcomes in mental health were associated with the uniqueness of peer support in TR and applying skills from military training. Veterans in TR reported that providing disaster relief afforded them the opportunity to continue serving others after having served in the military. Implications for public health social work are discussed as well as the need for further research.

  5. Relationships of Stress Exposures to Health in Gulf War Veterans

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-10-01

    tender glands, difficulty sleeping, muscle pain, headache, joint pain or a neurologic symptom. The study measure of chronic fatigue did not rule out ...AD_ Award Number: DAMD17-98-1-8662 TITLE: Relationships of Stress Exposures to Health in Gulf War Veterans PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: John A. Fairbank... Stress Exposures to Health in Gulf War DAMD17-98-1-8662 Veterans 6. AUTHOR(S) John A. Fairbank, Ph.D. 7. PERFORMING ORGANIZA TION NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES

  6. Moral injury, meaning making, and mental health in returning veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Currier, Joseph M; Holland, Jason M; Malott, Jesse

    2015-03-01

    This study examined whether exposure to morally injurious experiences (MIEs) contribute to mental health problems among returning Veterans via meaning made of possible traumas. A total of 131 Iraq and/or Afghanistan Veterans completed assessments of exposure to possible warzone traumas, meaning made of a salient stressor from their lives, and mental health symptomatology (e.g., posttraumatic stress, depression, suicidality). Structural equation modeling findings revealed that MIEs were indirectly linked with mental health outcomes via the extent to which Veterans were able to make meaning of their identified stressors. However, we also found that the direct path from MIEs to mental health problems was statistically significant. These findings provide preliminary evidence that difficulties with meaning making could serve as a mediating pathway for how MIEs increase the risk for adjustment problems after warzone service, but that other factors associated with moral injury also have a bearing on psychological functioning among Veterans. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  7. Women Veterans and Mental Health

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... even make it worse. Return to top Military sexual trauma and women veterans Military sexual trauma (MST) is ... any lost self-esteem. Getting help for military sexual trauma If you've experience military sexual trauma (MST), ...

  8. Implementing the MOVE! weight-management program in the Veterans Health Administration, 2007-2010: a qualitative study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weiner, Bryan J; Haynes-Maslow, Lindsey; Kahwati, Leila C; Kinsinger, Linda S; Campbell, Marci K

    2012-01-01

    One-third of US veterans receiving care at Veterans Health Administration (VHA) medical facilities are obese and, therefore, at higher risk for developing multiple chronic diseases. To address this problem, the VHA designed and nationally disseminated an evidence-based weight-management program (MOVE!). The objective of this study was to examine the organizational factors that aided or inhibited the implementation of MOVE! in 10 VHA medical facilities. Using a multiple, holistic case study design, we conducted 68 interviews with medical center program coordinators, physicians formally appointed as program champions, managers directly responsible for overseeing the program, clinicians from the program's multidisciplinary team, and primary care physicians identified by program coordinators as local opinion leaders. Qualitative data analysis involved coding, memorandum writing, and construction of data displays. Organizational readiness for change and having an innovation champion were most consistently the 2 factors associated with MOVE! implementation. Other organizational factors, such as management support and resource availability, were barriers to implementation or exerted mixed effects on implementation. Barriers did not prevent facilities from implementing MOVE! However, they were obstacles that had to be overcome, worked around, or accepted as limits on the program's scope or scale. Policy-directed implementation of clinical weight-management programs in health care facilities is challenging, especially when no new resources are available. Instituting powerful, mutually reinforcing organizational policies and practices may be necessary for consistent, high-quality implementation.

  9. Gender and the use of Veterans Health Administration homeless services programs among Iraq/Afghanistan veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blackstock, Oni J; Haskell, Sally G; Brandt, Cynthia A; Desai, Rani A

    2012-04-01

    Female Veterans comprise 12% of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) Veterans, the largest proportion of women to serve of any prior cohort. We sought to determine the sex-specific risk of using a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) homeless program among OEF/OIF Veterans and to identify factors associated with increased risk of program use for women compared with men. We included OEF/OIF Veterans with at least 1 VHA clinical visit between October 1, 2001, and September 30, 2009. The study's outcome was the time to first use of a VHA homeless program. Cox proportional-hazards regression was used to estimate the relative risk of using a homeless program by sex, adjusting for relevant sociodemographic and clinical variables. Exploratory analyses examined interactions between sex and all covariates. Of 445,319 Veterans, 7431 (1.7%) used a VHA homeless program, of which 961 were females (1.8%), and 6470 were males (1.7%) during a median follow-up period of 3.20 years. Women were as likely as men to use a homeless program (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.02; 95% confidence interval, 0.95-1.09); median time to first use was similar for female and male Veterans (1.88 vs. 1.88 y, respectively, P=0.53). In exploratory analyses, we found increased risk of program use for women compared with men for the following subgroups: ages 26-35 years, 100% service-connected disability rating, posttraumatic stress disorder diagnosis, and northeast location. Overall, there was no substantial difference in the sex-specific risk of using a VHA homeless program. In light of this finding, VHA homeless programs must be prepared to recognize and address the unique needs of female OEF/OIF Veterans.

  10. Major reproductive health characteristics in male Gulf War Veterans. The Danish Gulf War Study

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ishøy, T; Andersson, A M; Suadicani, Poul Vilhelm

    2001-01-01

    The male reproductive system could have been affected by various hazardous agents and exposures during and in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War scenario. We tested the hypothesis that, compared to controls, male Danish Gulf War Veterans would have adverse sex hormone levels, decreased fertility...

  11. Rural women veterans demographic report: defining VA users' health and health care access in rural areas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brooks, Elizabeth; Dailey, Nancy; Bair, Byron; Shore, Jay

    2014-01-01

    While many women choose to live in rural areas after retiring from active military duty, a paucity of studies examine rural women veterans' health care needs. This report is the first of its kind to describe the population demographics and health care utilization of rural female veteran patients enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Using the National Patient Care Datasets (n = 327,785), we ran adjusted regression analyses to examine service utilization between (1) urban and rural and (2) urban and highly rural women veterans. Rural and highly rural women veterans were older and more likely to be married than their urban counterparts. Diagnostic rates were generally similar between groups for several mental health disorders, hypertension, and diabetes, with the exception of nonposttraumatic stress anxiety that was significantly lower for highly rural women veterans. Rural and highly rural women veterans were less likely to present to the VA for women's specific care than urban women veterans; highly rural women veterans were less likely to present for mental health care compared to urban women veterans. Among the users of primary care, mental health, women's specific, and all outpatient services, patients' annual utilization rates were similar. Improved service options for women's specific care and mental health visits may help rural women veterans access care. Telehealth technologies and increased outreach, perhaps peer-based, should be considered. Other recommendations for VA policy and planning include increasing caregiver support options, providing consistency for mental health services, and revising medical encounter coding procedures. © 2013 National Rural Health Association.

  12. Characteristics and Health Needs of Veterans in Jails and Prisons: What We Know and Do Not Know about Incarcerated Women Veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCall, Janice D; Tsai, Jack

    2017-12-04

    The majority of U.S. veterans in prisons and local jails are men, but incarcerated women veterans remain an important and understudied group. This study reported differences in sociodemographic, health, and criminal justice characteristics using Veterans Affairs (VA) administrative data on a national sample of 30,964 incarcerated veterans (30,440 men and 524 women) who received outreach from the VA Health Care for Reentry Veterans program between 2007 and 2011. Descriptive statistics and multivariable logistic regressions determined gender and racial differences in this population. Compared with incarcerated veterans who were men, incarcerated women veterans were younger (d = 0.68), had significantly lower lifetime arrests (AOR, 0.65; p problems, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and seizure disorder, and were more likely to receive a preliminary diagnosis of mood disorder than men. Women were more likely to have received VA benefits, used VA health care before, and be willing to use VA services after release. A few important differences emerged when stratified by race. These findings suggest that incarcerated women veterans are interested in VA health care services, but there is lack of information about women's health needs through the Health Care for Reentry Veterans program. The inclusion of Health Care for Reentry Veterans screening questions about women's health issues may support the VA's interests to better engage women veterans in care. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  13. Design and methods of the national Vietnam veterans longitudinal study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schlenger, William E; Corry, Nida H; Kulka, Richard A; Williams, Christianna S; Henn-Haase, Clare; Marmar, Charles R

    2015-09-01

    The National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study (NVVLS) is the second assessment of a representative cohort of US veterans who served during the Vietnam War era, either in Vietnam or elsewhere. The cohort was initially surveyed in the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS) from 1984 to 1988 to assess the prevalence, incidence, and effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other post-war problems. The NVVLS sought to re-interview the cohort to assess the long-term course of PTSD. NVVLS data collection began July 3, 2012 and ended May 17, 2013, comprising three components: a mailed health questionnaire, a telephone health survey interview, and, for a probability sample of theater Veterans, a clinical diagnostic telephone interview administered by licensed psychologists. Excluding decedents, 78.8% completed the questionnaire and/or telephone survey, and 55.0% of selected living veterans participated in the clinical interview. This report provides a description of the NVVLS design and methods. Together, the NVVRS and NVVLS constitute a nationally representative longitudinal study of Vietnam veterans, and extend the NVVRS as a critical resource for scientific and policy analyses for Vietnam veterans, with policy relevance for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  14. Reproductive health of male Australian veterans of the 1991 Gulf War

    OpenAIRE

    Glass Deborah C; McKenzie Dean P; Forbes Andrew B; Ikin Jillian F; Sim Malcolm R; Kelsall Helen L; Ittak Peter

    2007-01-01

    Abstract Background Since the 1991 Gulf War concerns have been raised about the effects of deployment to the Gulf War on veterans' health. Studies of the reproductive health of Gulf War veterans have reported varied findings. Methods We undertook a cross-sectional study of male Australian Gulf War veterans (n = 1,424) and a randomly sampled military comparison group (n = 1,548). The study was conducted from August 2000 to April 2002. A postal questionnaire included questions about difficultie...

  15. US veterans and their unique issues: enhancing health care professional awareness

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olenick, Maria; Flowers, Monica; Diaz, Valerie J

    2015-01-01

    United States veterans are a multifaceted population with a distinct culture that includes, but is not limited to, values, customs, ethos, selfless duty, codes of conduct, implicit patterns of communication, and obedience to command. Veterans experience mental health disorders, substance use disorders, post-traumatic stress, and traumatic brain injury at disproportionate rates compared to their civilian counterparts. Eighteen to 22 American veterans commit suicide daily and young veterans aged 18–44 are most at risk. Health care professionals must be aware of patients’ military history and be able to recognize suicide-risk factors, regardless of age. Advancement in medical technology has allowed servicemen to survive their injuries but, for many, at the cost of a traumatic limb amputation and associated mental scarring. Health care professionals must be able to address physical safety concerns, as well as, emotional health of veterans. Approximately 49,933 American veterans are homeless and face the same difficulties as non-veterans in addition to service-related matters. Separation from military service and issues related to complex multiple deployments are among specifically identified veteran issues. Successful veteran reintegration into civilian life rests upon providing veterans with training that builds on their military knowledge and skill, employment post-separation from service, homelessness prevention, and mental health programs that promote civilian transition. Preparing health care providers to meet the complex needs of a vast veteran population can be facilitated by implementing veteran content into curricula that includes veteran patient simulations and case studies, and utilizes veteran clinical faculty. PMID:26664252

  16. Veterans health administration vocational services for operation iraqi freedom/operation enduring freedom veterans with mental health conditions

    OpenAIRE

    Elizabeth W. Twamley, PhD; Dewleen G. Baker, MD; Sonya B. Norman, PhD; James O. E. Pittman, MSW; James B. Lohr, MD; Sandra G. Resnick, PhD

    2013-01-01

    High rates of mental health conditions and unemployment are significant problems facing Veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF). We examined two national Veterans Health Administration (VHA) databases from fiscal years 2008–2009: a larger database (n = 75,607) of OIF/OEF Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, substance use disorder, or traumatic brain injury (TBI) and a smaller subset (n = 1,010) of those Veterans whose employment was tracked...

  17. Adverse Childhood Experiences and Adult Health Outcomes Among Veteran and Non-Veteran Women.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCauley, Heather L; Blosnich, John R; Dichter, Melissa E

    2015-09-01

    Women veterans represent a vulnerable population with unique health needs and disparities in access to care. One constellation of exposures related to subsequent poor health includes adverse childhood experiences (ACEs; e.g., physical and sexual child abuse), though research on impacts of ACEs among women veterans is limited. Data were drawn from the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for the 11 states that included the ACE module (n=36,485). Weighted chi-squared tests and multivariable logistic regression were used to assess the prevalence of ACEs among women veterans compared with women non-veterans and differences in the following outcomes, controlling for ACEs: social support, inadequate sleep, life satisfaction, mental distress, smoking, heavy alcohol use, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease symptoms, asthma, and disability. Women veterans (1.6% of the total sample) reported a higher prevalence of 7 out of 11 childhood adversities and higher mean ACE score than women non-veterans. Women veterans were more likely to be current smokers and report a disability, associations which were attenuated when controlling for ACE. Despite women veterans' higher prevalence of ACE, their health outcomes did not differ substantially from non-veterans. Further research is needed to understand the intersections of traumatic experiences and sources of resilience over the lifecourse among women veterans.

  18. Adapting a weight management tool for Latina women: a usability study of the Veteran Health Administration's MOVE!23 tool.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perez, Hector R; Nick, Michael W; Mateo, Katrina F; Squires, Allison; Sherman, Scott E; Kalet, Adina; Jay, Melanie

    2016-10-05

    Obesity disproportionately affects Latina women, but few targeted, technology-assisted interventions that incorporate tailored health information exist for this population. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) uses an online weight management tool (MOVE!23) which is publicly available, but was not designed for use in non-VHA populations. We conducted a qualitative study to determine how interactions between the tool and other contextual elements impacted task performance when the target Latina users interacted with MOVE!23. We sought to identify and classify specific facilitators and barriers that might inform design changes to the tool and its context of use, and in turn promote usability. Six English-speaking, adult Latinas were recruited from an inner city primary care clinic and a nursing program at a local university in the United States to engage in a "Think-Aloud" protocol while using MOVE!23. Sessions were recorded, transcribed, and coded to identify interactions between four factors that contribute to usability (Tool, Task, User, Context). Five themes influencing usability were identified: Technical Ability and Technology Preferences; Language Confusion and Ambiguity; Supportive Tool Design and Facilitator Guidance; Relevant Examples; and Personal Experience. Features of the tool, task, and other contextual factors failed to fully support participants at times, impeding task completion. Participants interacted with the tool more readily when its language was familiar and content was personally relevant. When faced with ambiguity and uncertainty, they relied on the tool's visual cues and examples, actively sought relevant personal experiences, and/or requested facilitator support. The ability of our participants to successfully use the tool was influenced by the interaction of individual characteristics with those of the tool and other contextual factors. We identified both tool-specific and context-related changes that could overcome barriers to the

  19. Veteran Status, Sociodemographic Characteristics, and Healthcare Factors Associated with Visiting a Mental Health Professional.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frenk, Steven M; Sautter, Jessica M; Woodring, Joseph V; Kramarow, Ellen A

    2017-07-01

    Using data from a nationally representative study of the community-dwelling U.S. population, we estimated the percentage of male veterans who visited a mental health professional in the past year, compared it to an estimate from non-veteran males, and examined factors associated with visiting a mental health professional. We found that 10.5% of male veterans visited a mental health professional in the past year, compared to only 5.6% of male non-veterans. In the regression models, veteran status, sociodemographic factors, and healthcare utilization were independently associated with visiting a mental health professional. These findings demonstrate the importance of using nationally representative data to assess the mental healthcare needs of veterans.

  20. The association of posttraumatic stress disorder and metabolic syndrome: a study of increased health risk in veterans

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hauger Richard L

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background There is accumulating evidence for a link between trauma exposure, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD and diminished health status. To assess PTSD-related biological burden, we measured biological factors that comprise metabolic syndrome, an important established predictor of morbidity and mortality, as a correlate of long-term health risk in PTSD. Methods We analyzed clinical data from 253 male and female veterans, corresponding to five factors linked to metabolic syndrome (systolic and diastolic blood pressure, waist-to-hip ratio and fasting measures of high-density lipoprotein (HDL cholesterol, serum triglycerides and plasma glucose concentration. Clinical cut-offs were defined for each biological parameter based on recommendations from the World Health Organization and the National Cholesterol Education Program. Controlling for relevant variables including sociodemographic variables, alcohol/substance/nicotine use and depression, we examined the impact of PTSD on metabolic syndrome using a logistic regression model. Results Two-fifths (40% of the sample met criteria for metabolic syndrome. Of those with PTSD (n = 139, 43% met criteria for metabolic syndrome. The model predicted metabolic syndrome well (-2 log likelihood = 316.650, chi-squared = 23.731, p = 0.005. Veterans with higher severity of PTSD were more likely to meet diagnostic criteria for metabolic syndrome (Wald = 4.76, p = 0.03. Conclusion These findings provide preliminary evidence linking higher severity of PTSD with risk factors for diminished health and increased morbidity, as represented by metabolic syndrome.

  1. Reproductive health and pregnancy outcomes among French gulf war veterans

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bégassat Marion

    2008-04-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Since 1993, many studies on the health of Persian Gulf War veterans (PGWVs have been undertaken. Some authors have concluded that an association exists between Gulf War service and reported infertility or miscarriage, but that effects on PGWV's children were limited. The present study's objective was to describe the reproductive outcome and health of offspring of French Gulf War veterans. Methods The French Study on the Persian Gulf War (PGW and its Health Consequences is an exhaustive cross-sectional study on all French PGWVs conducted from 2002 to 2004. Data were collected by postal self-administered questionnaire. A case-control study nested in this cohort was conducted to evaluate the link between PGW-related exposures and fathering a child with a birth defect. Results In the present study, 9% of the 5,666 Gulf veterans who participated reported fertility disorders, and 12% of male veterans reported at least one miscarriage among their partners after the PGW. Overall, 4.2% of fathers reported at least one child with a birth defect conceived after the mission. No PGW-related exposure was associated with any birth defect in children fathered after the PGW mission. Concerning the reported health of children born after the PGW, 1.0% of children presented a pre-term delivery and 2.7% a birth defect. The main birth defects reported were musculoskeletal malformations (0.5% and urinary system malformations (0.3%. Birth defect incidence in PGWV children conceived after the mission was similar to birth defect incidence described by the Paris Registry of Congenital Malformations, except for Down syndrome (PGWV children incidence was lower than Registry incidence. Conclusion This study did not highlight a high frequency of fertility disorders or miscarriage among French PGW veterans. We found no evidence for a link between paternal exposure during the Gulf War and increased risk of birth defects among French PGWV children.

  2. Caring with Honor: A Grounded Theory of Caring for Veterans within the Veterans Health Administration

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alvita K. Nathaniel

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available Veterans comprise a unique culture. Through their military experience, Veterans become ingrained with shared values, beliefs and attitudes that characterize their everyday existence. Health care providers must take into consideration that culture impacts health care seeking behaviors. The theory of Caring with Honor is emerging through the classic GT method. A team of investigators within the VA health care system gathered data from 19 health care professionals via one-on-one interviews. The emerging theory, Caring with Honor, represents an amplifying process whereby health care professionals engage with Veterans through a process of enculturating, witnessing, connecting, honoring, and caring with purpose.

  3. Association Between Mental Health Burden and Coronary Artery Disease in U.S. Women Veterans Over 45: A National Cross-Sectional Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gerber, Megan R; King, Matthew W; Iverson, Katherine M; Pineles, Suzanne L; Haskell, Sally G

    2017-10-05

    The women Veteran population accessing Veterans Health Administration (VA) care has grown rapidly. Women Veterans exhibit high rates of mental health conditions that increase coronary artery disease (CAD) risk; however, the relationship between specific conditions and increasing mental health burden to CAD in this population is unknown. Using VA National Patient Care Data for 2009, we identified women Veterans over 45 (N = 157,195). Logistic regression models examined different mental health diagnoses and increasing mental health burden (number of diagnostic clusters) as predictors of CAD. CAD prevalence was 4.16%, and 36% of women Veterans were current smokers. Depression exhibited the strongest association with CAD (odds ratio [OR] 1.60, 95% confidence interval [CI] [1.50-1.71]), similar to that of current smoking (OR 1.68 [1.58-1.78]). Controlling for demographic variables, smoking, diabetes, and obesity, each additional mental health diagnosis increased the odds of CAD by 44%. Women Veterans over age 45 accessing VA care exhibited a high degree of mental health burden, which is associated with elevated odds of CAD; those with depression alone had 60% higher odds of CAD. For women Veterans using VA, mental health diagnoses may act as CAD risk factors that are potentially modifiable. Novel interventions in primary care and mental health are needed to address heart disease in this growing and aging population.

  4. The Health and Social Isolation of American Veterans Denied Veterans Affairs Disability Compensation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fried, Dennis Adrian; Passannante, Marian; Helmer, Drew; Holland, Bart K; Halperin, William E

    2017-02-01

    Authors comparatively analyzed health and social isolation between U.S. military veterans denied Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation and veterans awarded VA disability compensation. The 2001 National Survey of Veterans was used to create a sample of 4,522 veterans denied or awarded VA disability compensation. Using the Andersen health services utilization model as a conceptual framework, multivariate logistic regression was applied to assess relationships between VA disability compensation award status, three separate domains of health, and correlates of social isolation. Results indicate that denied applicants were more likely than those awarded to have poor overall health (odds ratio [OR] = 1.45, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.23, 1.70), and limitations in activities of daily living (OR = 1.12, 95% CI: 1.03, 1.21). Denied applicants' physical functioning (40.3) and mental functioning (41.2) composite summary scores were not clinically different from those of awarded applicants (39.0 and 40.1, respectively), indicating that both were comparably impaired. Veterans denied VA disability compensation had poor health and functional impairments. They also experienced poverty and isolation, suggesting that they may be in need of additional supportive services. Connecting veterans to community resources could be a vital service to provide to all veterans applying for disability compensation. © 2016 National Association of Social Workers.

  5. Mental health utilization among older Veterans with coexisting depression and dementia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elizabeth A DiNapoli

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Objective: We compared mental health service utilization among older, depressed Veterans (60 years or older with and without coexisting dementia. Methods: This retrospective study examined data from the 2010 Veterans Health Administration National Patient Care Database outpatient treatment files of Veterans with a newly recognized diagnosis of depression (N = 177,710. Results: Approximately 48.84% with coexisting depression and dementia and 32.00% with depression only received mental health services within 12 months of diagnosis (p < .0001. Veterans with coexisting depression and dementia were more likely to receive medication-management appointments (33.40% vs 20.62%, individual therapy (13.39% vs 10.91%, and family therapy (3.77% vs 1.19% than depressed Veterans without dementia. Conclusion: In general, Veterans with recently diagnosed depression are significantly underusing Veterans Affairs mental health treatment services. Those Veterans who have comorbid dementia are more likely than those with just depression to be enrolled in mental health treatments. Systemic improvements are needed to increase use of mental health services for older, depressed Veterans.

  6. Increased risk for substance use and health-related problems among homeless veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dunne, Eugene M; Burrell, Larry E; Diggins, Allyson D; Whitehead, Nicole Ennis; Latimer, William W

    2015-10-01

    The first aim of this study was to compare self-reported causes of homelessness between veterans and nonveterans. A second aim examined whether homeless male veterans were more likely than homeless male nonveterans to experience current problems with addictions, mental health, and physical health. Additionally, a third aim was to compare frequency of emergency room visits and treatment needs between the two groups. Secondary data analyses compared male homeless veterans and nonveterans (N = 353) enrolled in the Alachua County Point in Time study in central Florida. Participants completed a questionnaire on demographics and health variables. Additional questions included recent emergency room visits and medical or other needs not being met. Veterans reported higher rates of substance use and mental health problems as a primary cause of homelessness when compared to nonveterans. Homeless veterans were more likely than nonveterans to report current problems with addictions (OR = 6.29, 95% CI: 3.43-11.53, p homeless veterans (53.1%) reported an ER visit in the past year compared to only 40.9% of nonveterans (OR = 1.73, 95% CI: 1.07-2.80, p Veterans may be more likely to become homeless due to addiction and mental health and over half of homeless veterans are presenting to hospital emergency rooms. Given the greater utilization among homeless veterans, emergency rooms may serve as a prime opportunity to provide brief treatment and referrals for needed services. © American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry.

  7. Engagement in mental health treatment among veterans returning from Iraq

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tracy Stecker

    2010-03-01

    Full Text Available Tracy Stecker1,2, John Fortney3,4, Francis Hamilton1,2, Cathy D Sherbourne5, Icek Ajzen61Psychiatric Research Center, Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, NH, USA; 2VA Health Services Research and Development, White River Junction Veterans Administration, White River Junction, VT, USA; 3VA Health Services Research and Development (HR S&D, Center for Mental Health and Outcomes Research, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, North Little Rock, AR, USA; 4Division of Health Services Research, Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR, USA; 5RAND, Santa Monica, CA, USA; 6Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USAObjectives: Many veterans return from combat experiencing a variety of mental health concerns. Previous research has documented a stigma associated with seeking treatment that interferes with the decision to seek treatment. This study, conceptualized using the theory of planned behavior, assessed beliefs about mental health treatment in order to understand mental health treatment seeking behavior among a group of returning National Guard soldiers who served in the war in Iraq.Methods: Participants were one hundred and fifty Operation Iraqi Freedom National Guard soldiers who screened positive for depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder or alcohol abuse disorder on the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI. Participants were asked to complete a questionnaire assessing beliefs about mental health treatment and treatment-seeking behavior.Results: Beliefs related to symptom reduction and work were significantly related to mental health treatment-seeking behavior. Conclusions: Interventions developed to engage veterans into care must be directed toward cognitive factors that motivate treatment seeking in addition to traditionally targeted structural barriers.Keywords: treatment

  8. Caring with Honor: A Grounded Theory of Caring for Veterans within the Veterans Health Administration

    OpenAIRE

    Alvita K. Nathaniel; Lisa Hardman

    2017-01-01

    Veterans comprise a unique culture. Through their military experience, Veterans become ingrained with shared values, beliefs and attitudes that characterize their everyday existence. Health care providers must take into consideration that culture impacts health care seeking behaviors. The theory of Caring with Honor is emerging through the classic GT method. A team of investigators within the VA health care system gathered data from 19 health care professionals via one-on-one interviews. T...

  9. Health risk factors and differences in outcomes between younger and older veterans using VA transitional housing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Lisa M; Barnett, Scott D; Frahm, Kathryn A; Schinka, John A; Schonfeld, Lawrence; Casey, Roger J

    2015-01-01

    This study examined age-related differences in general medical and mental health risk factors for veterans participating in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Grant Per Diem (GPD) transitional supportive housing program. The subpopulation of older homeless veterans is growing, and little is known about the implications of this fact for health care providers and for supportive programs intended to meet homeless veterans' needs. Data were obtained from the VA records of all veterans (N=40,820) who used the GPD program during fiscal years 2003 to 2009. Unconditional adjusted and unadjusted odds ratios for general medical and psychiatric characteristics were calculated and were the primary study focus. Significant predictors of homeless program completion assessed from univariate models were then evaluated in multivariate models. Younger (homeless veterans reported an equal number of days homeless before enrollment. Younger veterans averaged 19 fewer days in GPD. Older veterans had more general medical problems and approximately $500 more in program costs. Findings from this study indicate that older homeless veterans are at increased risk of serious medical problems. This group is especially vulnerable to experiencing negative consequences related to homelessness. Addressing these complex needs will allow the VA to provide enhanced care to older homeless veterans.

  10. Comparing Mobile Health Strategies to Improve Medication Adherence for Veterans With Coronary Heart Disease (Mobile4Meds): Protocol for a Mixed-Methods Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Park, Linda G; Collins, Eileen G; Shim, Janet K; Whooley, Mary A

    2017-07-18

    Adherence to antiplatelet medications is critical to prevent life threatening complications (ie, stent thrombosis) after percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs), yet rates of nonadherence range from 21-57% by 12 months. Mobile interventions delivered via text messaging or mobile apps represent a practical and inexpensive strategy to promote behavior change and enhance medication adherence. The Mobile4Meds study seeks to determine whether text messaging or a mobile app, compared with an educational website control provided to all Veterans, can improve adherence to antiplatelet therapy among patients following acute coronary syndrome (ACS) or PCI. The three aims of the study are to: (1) determine preferences for content and frequency of text messaging to promote medication adherence through focus groups; (2) identify the most patient-centered app that promotes adherence, through a content analysis of all commercially available apps for medication adherence and focus groups centered on usability; and (3) compare adherence to antiplatelet medications in Veterans after ACS/PCI via a randomized clinical trial (RCT). We will utilize a mixed-methods design that uses focus groups to achieve the first and second aims (N=32). Patients will be followed for 12 months after being randomly assigned to one of three arms: (1) customized text messaging, (2) mobile app, or (3) website-control groups (N=225). Medication adherence will be measured with electronic monitoring devices, pharmacy records, and self-reports. Enrollment for the focus groups is currently in progress. We expect to enroll patients for the RCT in the beginning of 2018. Determining the efficacy of mobile technology using a Veteran-designed protocol to promote medication adherence will have a significant impact on Veteran health and public health, particularly for individuals with chronic diseases that require strict medication adherence. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03022669.

  11. The mental health of partners of Australian Vietnam veterans three decades after the war and its relation to veteran military service, combat, and PTSD.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Toole, Brian I; Outram, Sue; Catts, Stanley V; Pierse, Katherine R

    2010-11-01

    This study assessed psychiatric diagnoses in female partners of Australian Vietnam veterans, compared these with national Australian population statistics, and assessed their relationship with veterans' military service and mental health. Independent assessments of 240 veteran-partner couples used standardized physical and psychiatric diagnostic interviews that permitted comparison with Australian population data. Multivariate regression modeling examined associations of veterans' war service, combat, and psychiatric status with women's mental health. Anxiety disorders and severe recurrent depression were among 11 of 17 psychiatric diagnoses that were significantly in excess of population expectations. Veterans' combat and post-traumatic stress disorder were significant predictors of women's depressive disorder, particularly severe depression. We conclude that veterans' war service and mental health sequelae including post-traumatic stress disorder are associated with higher rates of mental disorder in their female partners 3 decades after the war.

  12. Using facebook to recruit young adult veterans: online mental health research.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pedersen, Eric R; Helmuth, Eric D; Marshall, Grant N; Schell, Terry L; PunKay, Marc; Kurz, Jeremy

    2015-06-01

    Veteran research has primarily been conducted with clinical samples and those already involved in health care systems, but much is to be learned about veterans in the community. Facebook is a novel yet largely unexplored avenue for recruiting veteran participants for epidemiological and clinical studies. In this study, we utilized Facebook to recruit a sample of young adult veterans for the first phase of an online alcohol intervention study. We describe the successful Facebook recruitment process, including data collection from over 1000 veteran participants in approximately 3 weeks, procedures to verify participation eligibility, and comparison of our sample with nationally available norms. Participants were young adult veterans aged 18-34 recruited through Facebook as part of a large study to document normative drinking behavior among a large community sample of veterans. Facebook ads were targeted toward young veterans to collect information on demographics and military characteristics, health behaviors, mental health, and health care utilization. We obtained a sample of 1023 verified veteran participants over a period of 24 days for the advertising price of approximately US $7.05 per verified veteran participant. Our recruitment strategy yielded a sample similar to the US population of young adult veterans in most demographic areas except for race/ethnicity and previous branch of service, which when we weighted the sample on race/ethnicity and branch a sample better matched with the population data was obtained. The Facebook sample recruited veterans who were engaged in a variety of risky health behaviors such as binge drinking and marijuana use. One fourth of veterans had never since discharge been to an appointment for physical health care and about half had attended an appointment for service compensation review. Only half had attended any appointment for a mental health concern at any clinic or hospital. Despite more than half screening positive for

  13. Using Facebook to Recruit Young Adult Veterans: Online Mental Health Research

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-01-01

    Background Veteran research has primarily been conducted with clinical samples and those already involved in health care systems, but much is to be learned about veterans in the community. Facebook is a novel yet largely unexplored avenue for recruiting veteran participants for epidemiological and clinical studies. Objective In this study, we utilized Facebook to recruit a sample of young adult veterans for the first phase of an online alcohol intervention study. We describe the successful Facebook recruitment process, including data collection from over 1000 veteran participants in approximately 3 weeks, procedures to verify participation eligibility, and comparison of our sample with nationally available norms. Methods Participants were young adult veterans aged 18-34 recruited through Facebook as part of a large study to document normative drinking behavior among a large community sample of veterans. Facebook ads were targeted toward young veterans to collect information on demographics and military characteristics, health behaviors, mental health, and health care utilization. Results We obtained a sample of 1023 verified veteran participants over a period of 24 days for the advertising price of approximately US $7.05 per verified veteran participant. Our recruitment strategy yielded a sample similar to the US population of young adult veterans in most demographic areas except for race/ethnicity and previous branch of service, which when we weighted the sample on race/ethnicity and branch a sample better matched with the population data was obtained. The Facebook sample recruited veterans who were engaged in a variety of risky health behaviors such as binge drinking and marijuana use. One fourth of veterans had never since discharge been to an appointment for physical health care and about half had attended an appointment for service compensation review. Only half had attended any appointment for a mental health concern at any clinic or hospital. Despite more

  14. A study of ambulatory care education in medical schools and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health care facilities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robbins, A S; Lussier, R R; Koser, K

    1989-10-01

    A study of ambulatory care and education was conducted by sending questionnaires to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals (75) and medical schools (65) prior to the Conference on Ambulatory Care and Education. Responses from 48% of medical schools indicated that there was little required clinical time in ambulatory care (15-20%), as well as faculty resistance and lack of medical school commitment to ambulatory care education. VA respondents (35% sample) also documented relatively little training in ambulatory care at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Numerous barriers to ambulatory care education are mentioned and strategies for overcoming the problems found are discussed.

  15. Gender disparities in Veterans Health Administration care: importance of accounting for veteran status.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frayne, Susan M; Yano, Elizabeth M; Nguyen, Vu Q; Yu, Wei; Ananth, Lakshmi; Chiu, Victor Y; Phibbs, Ciaran S

    2008-05-01

    In an effort to assess and reduce gender-related quality gaps, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has promoted gender-based research. Historically, such appraisals have often relied on secondary databases, with little attention to methodological implications of the fact that VHA provides care to some nonveteran patients. To determine whether conclusions about gender differences in utilization and cost of VHA care change after accounting for veteran status. Cross-sectional. All users of VHA in 2002 (N = 4,429,414). Veteran status, outpatient/inpatient utilization and cost, from centralized 2002 administrative files. Nonveterans accounted for 50.7% of women (the majority employees) but only 3.0% of men. Among all users, outpatient and inpatient utilization and cost were far lower in women than in men, but in the veteran subgroup these differences decreased substantially or, in the case of use and cost of outpatient care, reversed. Utilization and cost were very low among women employees; women spouses of fully disabled veterans had utilization and costs similar to those of women veterans. By gender, nonveterans represent a higher proportion of women than of men in VHA, and some large nonveteran groups have low utilization and costs; therefore, conclusions about gender disparities change substantially when veteran status is taken into account. Researchers seeking to characterize gender disparities in VHA care should address this methodological issue, to minimize risk of underestimating health care needs of women veterans and other women eligible for primary care services.

  16. 76 FR 21107 - Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-04-14

    ... AFFAIRS Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting The Department of Veterans Affairs... VA health care to enrolled Veterans residing in rural areas and discusses ways to improve and enhance... Secretary, VA Veteran Centers services, rural women Veteran health care, and the meeting agenda and planning...

  17. Health and Health Care Access of Rural Women Veterans: Findings From the National Survey of Women Veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cordasco, Kristina M; Mengeling, Michelle A; Yano, Elizabeth M; Washington, Donna L

    2016-09-01

    Disparities in health and health care access between rural and urban Americans are well documented. There is evidence that these disparities are mirrored within the US veteran population. However, there are few studies assessing this issue among women veterans (WVs). Using the 2008-2009 National Survey of Women Veterans, a population-based cross-sectional national telephone survey, we examined rural WVs' health and health care access compared to urban WVs. We measured health using the Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form (SF-12); access using measures of regular source of care (RSOC), health care utilization, and unmet needs; and barriers to getting needed care. Rural WVs have significantly worse physical health functioning compared to urban WVs (mean physical component score of 43.6 for rural WVs versus 47.2 for urban WVs; P = .007). Rural WVs were more likely to have a VA RSOC (16.4% versus 10.6%; P = .009) and use VA health care (21.7% versus 12.9%; P care visits compared with urban WVs (mean 4.2 versus 5.9; P = .021). They had similar overall numbers of health care visits (mean 5.8 versus 7.1; P = .11 ). Access barriers were affordability for rural WVs and work release time for urban WVs. Rural WVs additionally reported that transportation was a major factor affecting health care decisions. Our findings demonstrate VA's crucial role in addressing disparities in health and health care access for rural WVs. As VA continues to strive to optimally meet the needs of all WVs, innovative care models need to account for their high health care needs and persistent barriers to care. © 2016 National Rural Health Association.

  18. Nicotine dependence and its risk factors among users of veterans health services, 2008-2009.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsai, Jack; Edens, Ellen L; Rosenheck, Robert A

    2011-11-01

    Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States and is disproportionately higher among veterans than nonveterans. We examined the prevalence of nicotine dependence and its associated risk factors among veterans who used health services in the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) system. Using a case-control design, we compared all VA health service users in fiscal year 2008-2009 (N = 5,031,381) who received a nicotine dependence diagnosis with those who did not. Independent risk and protective factors associated with receiving a nicotine dependence diagnosis were identified using logistic regression analysis. We conducted subgroup analyses on 2 groups of particular policy concern: homeless veterans and veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Among all recent VA health service users, 15% (n = 749,353) received a diagnosis of nicotine dependence. Substance abuse, other mental health diagnoses, and homelessness were identified as major risk factors. Veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan were not found to be at increased risk compared to veterans from other war eras. Major risk and protective factors within the subgroups of homeless veterans and veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan were broadly similar to those in the general VA population. Given that other studies have found higher rates of nicotine dependence among veterans, this risk behavior may be underdiagnosed in VA medical records. Veterans who are homeless or have mental health or substance abuse problems are at highest risk and should be targeted for smoking prevention and cessation interventions. These results support, in principle, efforts to integrate smoking cessation programs with mental health and homeless services.

  19. Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA)

    Data.gov (United States)

    Department of Veterans Affairs — Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) is a health care benefit program designed for the dependents of certain Veterans....

  20. A participatory approach to designing and enhancing integrated health information technology systems for veterans: protocol.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haun, Jolie N; Nazi, Kim M; Chavez, Margeaux; Lind, Jason D; Antinori, Nicole; Gosline, Robert M; Martin, Tracey L

    2015-02-27

    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has developed health information technologies (HIT) and resources to improve veteran access to health care programs and services, and to support a patient-centered approach to health care delivery. To improve VA HIT access and meaningful use by veterans, it is necessary to understand their preferences for interacting with various HIT resources to accomplish health management related tasks and to exchange information. The objective of this paper was to describe a novel protocol for: (1) developing a HIT Digital Health Matrix Model; (2) conducting an Analytic Hierarchy Process called pairwise comparison to understand how and why veterans want to use electronic health resources to complete tasks related to health management; and (3) developing visual modeling simulations that depict veterans' preferences for using VA HIT to manage their health conditions and exchange health information. The study uses participatory research methods to understand how veterans prefer to use VA HIT to accomplish health management tasks within a given context, and how they would like to interact with HIT interfaces (eg, look, feel, and function) in the future. This study includes two rounds of veteran focus groups with self-administered surveys and visual modeling simulation techniques. This study will also convene an expert panel to assist in the development of a VA HIT Digital Health Matrix Model, so that both expert panel members and veteran participants can complete an Analytic Hierarchy Process, pairwise comparisons to evaluate and rank the applicability of electronic health resources for a series of health management tasks. This protocol describes the iterative, participatory, and patient-centered process for: (1) developing a VA HIT Digital Health Matrix Model that outlines current VA patient-facing platforms available to veterans, describing their features and relevant contexts for use; and (2) developing visual model simulations based on

  1. Prevalence of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Vietnam-Era Women Veterans: The Health of Vietnam-Era Women's Study (HealthVIEWS).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Magruder, Kathryn; Serpi, Tracey; Kimerling, Rachel; Kilbourne, Amy M; Collins, Joseph F; Cypel, Yasmin; Frayne, Susan M; Furey, Joan; Huang, Grant D; Gleason, Theresa; Reinhard, Matthew J; Spiro, Avron; Kang, Han

    2015-11-01

    Many Vietnam-era women veterans served in or near war zones and may have experienced stressful or traumatic events during their service. Although posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is well studied among men who served in Vietnam, no major epidemiologic investigation of PTSD among women has been performed. To assess (1) the onset and prevalence of lifetime and current PTSD for women who served during the Vietnam era, stratified by wartime location (Vietnam, near Vietnam, or the United States), and (2) the extent to which wartime location was associated with PTSD, with adjustment for demographics, service characteristics, and wartime exposures. Survey of 8742 women who were active-duty military personnel in the US Armed Forces at any time from July 4, 1965, through March 28, 1973, and alive as of survey receipt as part of Department of Veterans Affairs Cooperative Study 579, HealthVIEWS. Data were obtained from mailed and telephone surveys from May 16, 2011, through August 5, 2012, and analyzed from June 26, 2013, through July 30, 2015. Lifetime and current PTSD as measured by the PTSD module of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview, version 3.0; onset of PTSD; and wartime experiences as measured by the Women's Wartime Exposure Scale-Revised. Among the 4219 women (48.3%) who completed the survey and a telephone interview, the weighted prevalence (95% CI) of lifetime PTSD was 20.1% (18.3%-21.8%), 11.5% (9.1%-13.9%), and 14.1% (12.4%-15.8%) for the Vietnam, near-Vietnam, and US cohorts, respectively. The weighted prevalence (95% CI) of current PTSD was 15.9% (14.3%-17.5%), 8.1% (6.0%-10.2%), and 9.1% (7.7%-10.5%) for the 3 cohorts, respectively. Few cases of PTSD among the Vietnam or near-Vietnam cohorts were attributable to premilitary onset (weighted prevalence, 2.9% [95% CI, 2.2%-3.7%] and 2.9% [95% CI, 1.7%-4.2%], respectively). Unadjusted models for lifetime and current PTSD indicated that women who served in Vietnam were more likely to meet PTSD

  2. Health Correlates of Criminal Justice Involvement in 4,793 Transgender Veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, George R; Jones, Kenneth T

    2015-12-01

    Transgender (TG) persons are overrepresented in prison settings and in the U.S. veteran population. Health disparities studies of large populations of transgender people involved with the criminal justice system have not been published to date. We studied a large cohort of TG veterans who received care in Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facilities during 2007-2013 (n = 4,793) and a 3:1 matched control group of veterans without known TG identification (n = 13,625). Three hundred twenty six (n = 138 TG, 188 non-TG) had received VHA services in programs designed to address the needs of justice involved (JI) veterans. We linked patients in each of the three groups to their medical and administrative data. TG veterans were more likely to be justice involved than controls (2.88% vs. 1.38%; P history of homelessness (80% vs. 67%; P < .05) and to have reported sexual trauma while serving in the military (23% vs. 12%; P < .01). Significant health disparities were noted for TG JI veterans for depression, hypertension, obesity, posttraumatic stress disorder, serious mental illness, and suicidal ideation/attempts. These data suggest that TG veterans experience a number of health risks compared to non-TG veterans, including an increased likelihood of justice involvement. TG veterans involved with the criminal justice system are a particularly vulnerable group and services designed to address the health care needs of this population, both while incarcerated and when in the community, should take these findings into account in the development of health screenings and treatment plans.

  3. Veterans Health Administration Behavioral Health Data

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Department of Health & Human Services — A list of VHA hospitals with behavioral health measure data. VHA reports data on a set of core performance measures for Hospital-Based Inpatient Psychiatric Services...

  4. Use of Veterans Health Administration Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Treatment After Exiting Prison: The Health Care for Reentry Veterans Program.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Finlay, Andrea K; Stimmel, Matthew; Blue-Howells, Jessica; Rosenthal, Joel; McGuire, Jim; Binswanger, Ingrid; Smelson, David; Harris, Alex H S; Frayne, Susan M; Bowe, Tom; Timko, Christine

    2017-03-01

    The Veterans Health Administration (VA) Health Care for Reentry Veterans (HCRV) program links veterans exiting prison with treatment. Among veterans served by HCRV, national VA clinical data were used to describe contact with VA health care, and mental health and substance use disorder diagnoses and treatment use. Of veterans seen for an HCRV outreach visit, 56 % had contact with VA health care. Prevalence of mental health disorders was 57 %; of whom 77 % entered mental health treatment within a month of diagnosis. Prevalence of substance use disorders was 49 %; of whom 37 % entered substance use disorder treatment within a month of diagnosis. For veterans exiting prison, increasing access to VA health care, especially for rural veterans, and for substance use disorder treatment, are important quality improvement targets.

  5. Mental Health, Quality of Life, and Health Functioning in Women Veterans: Differential Outcomes Associated with Military and Civilian Sexual Assault

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suris, Alina; Lind, Lisa; Kashner, T. Michael; Borman, Patricia D.

    2007-01-01

    The present study examined psychiatric, physical, and quality-of-life functioning in a sample of 270 women veterans receiving outpatient treatment at a Veterans Affairs medical center. Participants were interviewed regarding their civilian (CSA) and military sexual assault (MSA) histories, and data regarding quality of life and health outcomes…

  6. Barriers and Facilitators Related to Mental Health Care Use Among Older Veterans in the United States

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Blais, Rebecca K; Tsai, Jack; Southwick, Steven M; Pietrzak, Robert H

    2015-01-01

    Objective: Psychiatric disorders are more prevalent among older veterans compared with their civilian counterparts, but many veterans with symptoms of psychiatric disorders do not utilize mental health services...

  7. Prevalence of Intimate Partner Violence among Women Veterans who Utilize Veterans Health Administration Primary Care.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kimerling, Rachel; Iverson, Katherine M; Dichter, Melissa E; Rodriguez, Allison L; Wong, Ava; Pavao, Joanne

    2016-08-01

    The objectives of this study were to identify the prevalence of past-year intimate partner violence (IPV) among women Veterans utilizing Veterans Health Administration (VHA) primary care, and to document associated demographic, military, and primary care characteristics. This was a retrospective cohort design, where participants completed a telephone survey in 2012 (84% participation rate); responses were linked to VHA administrative data for utilization in the year prior to the survey. A national stratified random sample of 6,287 women Veteran VHA primary care users participated in the study. Past-year IPV was assessed using the HARK screening tool. Self-report items and scales assessed demographic and military characteristics. Primary care characteristics were assessed via self-report and VHA administrative data. The prevalence of past-year IPV among women Veterans was 18.5% (se = 0.5%), with higher rates (22.2% - 25.5%) among women up to age 55. Other demographic correlates included indicators of economic hardship, lesbian or bisexual orientation, and being a parent/guardian of a child less than 18 years old. Military correlates included service during Vietnam to post-Vietnam eras, less than 10 years of service, and experiences of Military Sexual Trauma (MST). Most (77.3%, se = 1.2%) women who experienced IPV identified a VHA provider as their usual provider. Compared with women who did not report past-year IPV, women who reported IPV had more primary care visits, yet experienced lower continuity of care across providers. The high prevalence of past-year IPV among women beyond childbearing years, the majority of whom primarily rely on VHA as a source of health care, reinforces the importance of screening all women for IPV in VHA primary care settings. Key considerations for service implementation include sensitivity with respect to sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, and other aspects of diversity, as well as care coordination and linkages with social

  8. Mixed-Methods Study of Uptake of the Extension for Community Health Outcomes (ECHO) Telemedicine Model for Rural Veterans With HIV.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moeckli, Jane; Stewart, Kenda R; Ono, Sarah; Alexander, Bruce; Goss, Tyler; Maier, Marissa; Tien, Phyllis C; Howren, M Bryant; Ohl, Michael E

    2017-06-01

    Extension for Community Health Outcomes (ECHO) is a provider-level telemedicine model successfully applied to hepatitis C care, but little is known about its application to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) care. We performed a mixed-methods evaluation of 3 HIV ECHO programs in the Veterans Health Administration, focusing on uptake by primary care clinics and veterans. Administrative data were used to assess program uptake, including adoption (ie, proportion of primary care clinics participating) and reach (ie, proportion of eligible veterans participating). Veterans were considered eligible if they had an HIV diagnosis and lived nearer to a primary care clinic than to the HIV specialty clinic. We interviewed 31 HIV specialists, primary care providers (PCPs), and administrators engaged in HIV ECHO, and we analyzed interview transcripts to identify factors that influenced program adoption and reach. Nine (43%) of 21 primary care clinics adopted HIV ECHO (range 33%-67% across sites). Program reach was limited, with 47 (6.1%) of 776 eligible veterans participating. Reach was similar among rural and urban veterans (5.3% vs 6.3%). In interviews, limited adoption and reach were attributed partly to: (1) a sense of "HIV exceptionalism" that complicated shifting ownership of care from HIV specialists to PCPs, and (2) low HIV prevalence and long treatment cycles that prevented rapid learning loops for PCPs. There was limited uptake of HIV ECHO telemedicine programs in settings where veterans historically traveled to distant specialty clinics. Other telemedicine models should be considered for HIV care. © 2016 National Rural Health Association.

  9. Afghanistan and Iraq War Veterans: Mental Health Diagnoses are Associated with Respiratory Disease Diagnoses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Slatore, Christopher G; Falvo, Michael J; Nugent, Shannon; Carlson, Kathleen

    2018-02-06

    Many veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have concomitant respiratory conditions and mental health conditions. We wanted to evaluate the association of mental health diagnoses with respiratory disease diagnoses among post-deployment veterans. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of all Afghanistan and Iraq War veterans who were discharged from the military or otherwise became eligible to receive Veterans Health Administration services. The primary exposure was receipt of a mental health diagnosis and the primary outcome was receipt of a respiratory diagnosis as recorded in the electronic health record. We used multivariable adjusted logistic regression to measure the associations of mental health diagnoses with respiratory diagnoses and conducted several analyses exploring the timing of the diagnoses. Among 182,338 post-deployment veterans, 14% were diagnosed with a respiratory condition, 77% of whom had a concomitant mental health diagnosis. The incidence rates were 5,363/100,000 person-years (p-y), 587/100,000 p-y, 1,450/100,000 p-y, and 233/100,000 p-y for any respiratory disease diagnosis, bronchitis, asthma, and chronic obstructive lung disease diagnoses, respectively, after the date of first Veterans Health Administration utilization. Any mental health diagnosis was associated with increased odds for any respiratory diagnosis (adjusted odds ratio 1.41, 95% confidence interval 1.37-1.46). The association of mental health diagnoses and subsequent respiratory disease diagnoses was stronger and more consistent than the converse. Many Afghanistan and Iraq War veterans are diagnosed with both respiratory and mental illnesses. Comprehensive plans that include care coordination with mental health professionals and treatments for mental illnesses may be important for many veterans with respiratory diseases.

  10. 76 FR 30244 - Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-05-24

    ... AFFAIRS Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting The Department of Veterans Affairs... provision of VA health care to enrolled Veterans residing in rural areas, and discusses ways to improve and... Healthcare Coordinator, Montana and surrounding region rural health project managers, the Veterans Rural...

  11. 77 FR 13390 - Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee, Notice of Meeting

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-03-06

    ... AFFAIRS Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee, Notice of Meeting The Department of Veterans Affairs... Affairs on health care issues affecting enrolled Veterans residing in rural areas. The Committee examines programs and policies that impact the provision of VA health care to enrolled Veterans residing in rural...

  12. 75 FR 39333 - Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-07-08

    ... AFFAIRS Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting The Department of Veterans Affairs... health care issues affecting enrolled Veterans residing in rural areas. The Committee examines programs and policies that impact the provision of VA health care to enrolled Veterans residing in rural areas...

  13. Perspectives on Sexual Health and Function of Recent Male Combat Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan

    OpenAIRE

    Helmer, Drew A.; Beaulieu, Gregory; Powers, Catherine; Houlette, Cheryl; Latini, David; Kauth, Michael

    2015-01-01

    Background: U.S. veterans of recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may be at greater risk for sexual dysfunction due to injuries, mental health conditions, medications used to treat those conditions, and psychosocial factors. Objective: To explore the perceptions of recent Veterans about sexual health and dysfunction, contributing factors, its impact and solutions. Design: Qualitative study. Participants: Eight men who screened positive for sexual dysfunction at initial presentation to...

  14. Engagement in mental health treatment among veterans returning from Iraq.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stecker, Tracy; Fortney, John; Hamilton, Francis; Sherbourne, Cathy D; Ajzen, Icek

    2010-03-24

    Many veterans return from combat experiencing a variety of mental health concerns. Previous research has documented a stigma associated with seeking treatment that interferes with the decision to seek treatment. This study, conceptualized using the theory of planned behavior, assessed beliefs about mental health treatment in order to understand mental health treatment seeking behavior among a group of returning National Guard soldiers who served in the war in Iraq. Participants were one hundred and fifty Operation Iraqi Freedom National Guard soldiers who screened positive for depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder or alcohol abuse disorder on the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI). Participants were asked to complete a questionnaire assessing beliefs about mental health treatment and treatment-seeking behavior. Beliefs related to symptom reduction and work were significantly related to mental health treatment-seeking behavior. Interventions developed to engage veterans into care must be directed toward cognitive factors that motivate treatment seeking in addition to traditionally targeted structural barriers.

  15. Traffic density as a surrogate measure of environmental exposures in studies of air pollution health effects: Long-term mortality in a cohort of US veterans

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lipfert, F. W.; Wyzga, R. E.; Baty, J. D.; Miller, J. P.

    Vehicular traffic is an ubiquitous source of air pollution in developed nations, yet relatively few epidemiology studies have considered its long-term health effects. This paper uses an areal measure of traffic density as a surrogate index of exposure to vehicular traffic. We present associations between county-level traffic density (annual vehicle-km traveled km -2), ambient air quality, and mortality in a cohort of about 70,000 male US veterans (the Washington University-EPRI Veterans Cohort) who were enrolled in 1976 and followed through 2001. Traffic density is seen to be a significant and robust predictor of survival in this cohort, more so than ambient air quality, with the possible exception of ozone. Stronger effects of traffic density are seen in the counties that have ambient air quality monitoring data, which also tend to have higher levels of traffic density. These proportional-hazard modeling results indicate only modest changes in traffic-related mortality risks over time, from 1976-2001, despite the decline in regulated tailpipe emissions per vehicle since the mid-1970s. This suggests that other environmental effects may be involved, such as particles from brake, tire, and road wear, traffic noise, psychological stress, and spatial gradients in socioeconomic status.

  16. Staff Perceptions of Key Factors Guiding Nursing Home Search and Selection Within the Veterans Health Administration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Edward Alan; Gidmark, Stefanie; Gadbois, Emily; Rudolph, James L; Intrator, Orna

    2017-06-21

    Veterans enter nursing homes (NHs) for short-term postacute, rehabilitation, respite, or end-of-life care. They also enter NHs on a long-term basis due to frailty, disability, functional deficits, and cognitive impairment. Little is known about how a particular NH is chosen once the decision to enter a NH has been made. This study identified VA staff perceptions of the key factors influencing the search and selection of NHs within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Data derived from 35 semistructured interviews with discharge planning and contracting staff from 12 Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs). VA staff placed a premium on Veteran and family preferences in the NH selection process, though VA staff knowledge and familiarity with placement options established the general parameters within which NH placement decisions were made. Geographic proximity to Veterans' homes and families was a major factor in NH choice. Other key considerations included Veterans' specialty care needs (psychiatric, postacute, ventilator) and Veteran/facility demographics (age, race/ethnicity, Veteran status). VA staff tried to remain neutral in NH selection, thus instructing families to visit facilities and review publicly available quality data. VA staff report that amenities (private rooms, activities, smoking) and aesthetics (cleanliness, smell, layout, décor) often outweighed objective quality indicators in Veteran and family decision making. Findings suggest that VAMCs facilitate Veteran and family decision making around NH selection. They also suggest that VAMCs endeavor to identify and recruit a broader array of higher quality NHs to better match the specific needs of Veterans and families to the choice set available.

  17. Exploring Rural Disparities in Medical Diagnoses Among Veterans With Transgender-related Diagnoses Utilizing Veterans Health Administration Care.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bukowski, Leigh A; Blosnich, John; Shipherd, Jillian C; Kauth, Michael R; Brown, George R; Gordon, Adam J

    2017-09-01

    Research shows transgender individuals experience pronounced health disparities compared with their nontransgender peers. Yet, there remains insufficient research about health differences within transgender populations. This study seeks to fill this gap by exploring how current urban/rural status is associated with lifetime diagnosis of mood disorder, alcohol dependence disorder, illicit drug abuse disorder, tobacco use, posttraumatic stress disorder, human immunodeficiency virus, and suicidal ideation or attempt among veterans with transgender-related diagnoses. This study used a retrospective review of The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administrative data for transgender patients who received VA care from 1997 through 2014. Transgender patients were defined as individuals that had a lifetime diagnosis of any of 4 International Classification of Diseases-9 diagnosis codes associated with transgender status. Independent multivariable logistic regression models were used to explore associations of rural status with medical conditions. Veterans with transgender-related diagnoses residing in small/isolated rural towns had increased odds of tobacco use disorder (adjusted odds ratio=1.39; 95% confidence intervals, 1.09-1.78) and posttraumatic stress disorder (adjusted odds ratio=1.33; 95% confidence intervals, 1.03-1.71) compared with their urban transgender peers. Urban/rural status was not significantly associated with other medical conditions of interest. This study contributes the first empirical investigations of how place of residence is associated with medical diagnoses among veterans with transgender-related diagnoses. The importance of place as a determinant of health is increasingly clear, but for veterans with transgender-related diagnoses this line of research is currently limited. The addition of self-reported sex identity data within VA electronic health records is one way to advance this line of research.

  18. A pilot study to evaluate the magnitude of association of the use of electronic personal health records with patient activation and empowerment in HIV-infected veterans

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pierre-Cédric B. Crouch

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available The HITECH Act signed into law in 2009 requires hospitals to provide patients with electronic access to their health information through an electronic personal health record (ePHR in order to receive Medicare/Medicaid incentive payments. Little is known about who uses these systems or the impact these systems will have on patient outcomes in HIV care. The health care empowerment model provides rationale for the hypothesis that knowledge from an electronic personal health record can lead to greater patient empowerment resulting in improved outcomes. The objective was to determine the patient characteristics and patient activation, empowerment, satisfaction, knowledge of their CD4, Viral Loads, and antiretroviral medication, and medication adherence outcomes associated with electronic personal health record use in Veterans living with HIV at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. The participants included HIV-Infected Veterans receiving care in a low volume HIV-clinic at the San Francisco VA Medical Center, divided into two groups of users and non-users of electronic personal health records. The research was conducted using in-person surveys either online or on paper and data abstraction from medical records for current anti-retroviral therapy (ART, CD4 count, and plasma HIV-1 viral load. The measures included the Patient Activation Measure, Health Care Empowerment Inventory, ART adherence, provider satisfaction, current CD4 count, current plasma viral load, knowledge of current ART, knowledge of CD4 counts, and knowledge of viral load. In all, 40 participants were recruited. The use of electronic personal health records was associated with significantly higher levels of patient activation and levels of patient satisfaction for getting timely appointments, care, and information. ePHR was also associated with greater proportions of undetectable plasma HIV-1 viral loads, of knowledge of current CD4 count, and of knowledge of current viral load. The

  19. Effect of center-based counseling for veterans and veterans' families on long-term mental health outcomes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Donnell, Meaghan; Varker, Tracey; Perry, Desmond; Phelps, Andrea

    2013-12-01

    The Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS), established by the Australian government, plays a pivotal role in providing mental health services to veterans and their families. This research explored the impact of center-based psychological counseling on depression, anxiety, stress, and alcohol use severity. A stratified sample of VVCS clients were invited to participate in this study. Data were collected on intake to the program, at the fifth counseling session, and 12 months after the commencement of counseling. Repeated-measures general linear model analyses were conducted to examine the impact of center-based counseling on depression, anxiety, stress, and alcohol severity over time. VVCS center-based counseling resulted in a significant reduction in depression, anxiety, stress, and alcohol use severity after five sessions, and these improvements were maintained over the next 12 months. Despite these improvements, however, participants continued to report moderate-to-severe levels of mental health problems. VVCS center-based counseling successfully reduced depression, anxiety, stress, and alcohol use symptom severity of veterans and their families. However, the clinical profiles of this population are often complex and challenges remain in terms of addressing the mental health needs of this group. Reprint & Copyright © 2013 Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S.

  20. Health effects of depleted uranium on exposed Gulf War veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McDiarmid, M A; Keogh, J P; Hooper, F J; McPhaul, K; Squibb, K; Kane, R; DiPino, R; Kabat, M; Kaup, B; Anderson, L; Hoover, D; Brown, L; Hamilton, M; Jacobson-Kram, D; Burrows, B; Walsh, M

    2000-02-01

    A small group of Gulf War veterans possess retained fragments of depleted uranium (DU) shrapnel, the long-term health consequences of which are undetermined. We evaluated the clinical health effects of DU exposure in Gulf War veterans compared with nonexposed Gulf War veterans. History and follow-up medical examination were performed on 29 exposed veterans and 38 nonexposed veterans. Outcome measures employed were urinary uranium determinations, clinical laboratory values, and psychiatric and neurocognitive assessment. DU-exposed Gulf War veterans with retained metal shrapnel fragments are excreting elevated levels of urinary uranium 7 years after first exposure (range 0.01-30.7 microg/g creatinine vs 0.01- 0.05 microg/g creatinine in the nonexposed). The persistence of the elevated urine uranium suggests on-going mobilization from a storage depot which results in a chronic systemic exposure. Adverse effects in the kidney, a presumed target organ, are not present at this time, though other effects are observed. Neurocognitive examinations demonstrated a statistical relationship between urine uranium levels and lowered performance on computerized tests assessing performance efficiency. Elevated urinary uranium was statistically related to a high prolactin level (>1.6 ng/ml; P=0.04). More than 7 years after first exposure, DU-exposed Gulf War veterans with retained metal fragments continue to excrete elevated concentrations of urinary uranium. Effects related to this are subtle perturbations in the reproductive and central nervous systems. Copyright 2000 Academic Press.

  1. Utilization of Mental Health Services by Veterans Living in Rural Areas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Teich, Judith; Ali, Mir M; Lynch, Sean; Mutter, Ryan

    2017-06-01

    There is concern that veterans living in rural areas may not be receiving the mental health (MH) treatment they need. This study uses recent national survey data to examine the utilization of MH treatment among military veterans with a MH condition living in rural areas, providing comparisons with estimates of veterans living in urban areas. Multivariable logistic regression is utilized to examine differences in MH service use by urban/rural residence, controlling for other factors. Rates of utilization of inpatient and outpatient treatment, psychotropic medication, any MH treatment, and perceived unmet need for MH care are examined. There were significant differences in MH treatment utilization among veterans by rural/urban residence. Multivariate estimates indicate that compared to veterans with a MH condition living in urban areas, veterans in rural areas had 70% lower odds of receiving any MH treatment. Veterans with a MH condition in rural areas have approximately 52% and 64% lower odds of receiving outpatient treatment and prescription medications, respectively, compared to those living in urban areas. Differences in perceived unmet need for mental health treatment were not statistically significant. While research indicates that recent efforts to improve MH service delivery have resulted in improved access to services, this study found that veterans' rates of MH treatment are lower in rural areas, compared to urban areas. Continued efforts to support the provision of behavioral health services to rural veterans are needed. Telemedicine, using rural providers to their maximum potential, and engagement with community stakeholder groups are promising approaches. © 2016 National Rural Health Association.

  2. Serving Our Homeless Veterans: Patient Perpetrated Violence as a Barrier to Health Care Access

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luz M. Semeah

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available In 2009, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA set a goal to end veteran homelessness by 2015. Since then there has been a 36% reduction in homelessness due, in part, to the VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH program. These services include the receipt of home-based services to the veterans’ home. However, safety concerns and the threat of violence toward health care workers remain problematic in non-institutional care settings. This article discusses the concept of access to care and how safety concerns act as a barrier to services and optimal patient outcomes. Our study provides information on the prevalence of patient violence toward health care workers in the HUD-VASH program in a large veterans’ health system. Results suggest 70% of home-based service providers were exposed to violence and aggression. Providing services to veterans outside of institutional care settings, and the goal of eradicating homelessness among veterans, warrants further examination of access barriers.

  3. Health care utilization and costs after entry into an outreach program for homeless mentally ill veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosenheck, R; Gallup, P; Frisman, L K

    1993-12-01

    This study evaluated the impact of a Department of Veterans Affairs outreach and residential treatment program for homeless mentally ill veterans on utilization and cost of health care services provided by the VA. Veterans at nine program sites (N = 1,748) were assessed with a standard intake instrument. Services provided by the outreach program were documented in quarterly clinical reports and in residential treatment discharge summaries. Data on nonprogram VA health service utilization and health care costs were obtained from national VA data bases. Changes in use of services and cost of services from the year before initial contact with the program to the year after were analyzed by t test. Multivariate analyses were used to examine the relationship of these changes to indicators of clinical need and to participation in the outreach program. Although utilization of inpatient service did not increase after veterans' initial contact with the program, use of domiciliary and outpatient services increased substantially. Total annual costs to the VA also increased by 35 percent, from $6,414 to $8,699 per veteran per year. Both clinical need and participation in the program were associated with increased use of health services and increased cost. Veterans with concomitant psychiatric and substance abuse problems used fewer health care services than others. Specialized programs to improve the access of homeless mentally ill persons to health care services appear to be effective, but costly. Dually diagnosed persons seem especially difficult to engage in treatment.

  4. Health Care for Homeless Veterans program. Final rule.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-05-01

    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) amends its medical regulations concerning eligibility for the Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) program. The HCHV program provides per diem payments to non-VA community-based facilities that provide housing, outreach services, case management services, and rehabilitative services, and may provide care and/or treatment to homeless veterans who are enrolled in or eligible for VA health care. The rule modifies VA's HCHV regulations to conform to changes enacted in the Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012. Specifically, the rule removes the requirement that homeless veterans be diagnosed with a serious mental illness or substance use disorder to qualify for the HCHV program. This change makes the program available to all homeless veterans who are enrolled in or eligible for VA health care. The rule also updates the definition of homeless to match in part the one used by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The rule further clarifies that the services provided by the HCHV program through non-VA community-based providers must include case management services, including non-clinical case management, as appropriate.

  5. Gender-specific mental health care needs of women veterans treated for psychiatric disorders in a Veterans Administration Women's Health Clinic.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Laura J; Ghadiali, Nafisa Y

    2015-04-01

    This pilot study aims to ascertain the prevalence of self-reported premenstrual, perinatal, and perimenopausal influences on mental health, and of gynecologic conditions that could interact with psychiatric conditions, among women veterans receiving psychiatric care within a Veterans Administration (VA) Women's Health Clinic (WHC). Participants included all women veterans (N=68) who received psychiatric evaluations within a VA WHC over a 5-month period. This setting encompasses colocated and coordinated primary care, gynecologic and mental health services. Evaluations included a Women's Mental Health Questionnaire, a psychiatric interview, and medical record review. Deidentified data were extracted from a clinical data repository for this descriptive study. High proportions of study participants reported that their emotional problems intensified premenstrually (42.6%), during pregnancy (33.3%), in the postpartum period (33.3%), or during perimenopause (18.2%). Unintended pregnancy (70.0% of pregnancies) and pregnancy loss (63.5% of women who had been pregnant) were prominent sex-linked stressors. Dyspareunia (22.1% of participants) and pelvic pain (17.6% of participants) were frequent comorbidities. Among women veterans receiving psychiatric care within a VA WHC, there are high rates of self-reported premenstrual, perinatal, and perimenopausal influences on mental health. This population also has substantial comorbidity of psychiatric disorders with dyspareunia and pelvic pain. This underscores the importance of recognizing and addressing women veterans' sex-specific care needs, including interactions among reproductive cycle phases, gynecologic pain, and psychiatric symptoms. The findings support the need for greater awareness of the sex-specific mental health needs of women veterans, and for more definitive studies to further characterize these needs.

  6. Obesity and Associated Adverse Health Outcomes Among U.S. Military Members and Veterans: Findings from the Millennium Cohort Study

    Science.gov (United States)

    2016-06-27

    I. Conceptual framework and item selection. Med Care 1992;30:473-483. 20. LeardMann CA, Smith TC, Smith B, Wells TS, Ryan MA. Baseline self reported...veterans (14%–32%). Participants with obesity were significantly more likely to be male, older, less educated, in the Army or Navy, and sep- arated/ retired ...to completing the 2007 survey. Military separation/ retirement was determined using official military personnel files provided by Defense Man- power

  7. Pilot Data of a Brief Veteran Peer Intervention and Its Relationship to Mental Health Treatment Engagement.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goetter, Elizabeth M; Bui, Eric; Weiner, Travis P; Lakin, Laura; Furlong, Thomas; Simon, Naomi M

    2017-05-11

    Underutilization of mental health care is a significant problem among veterans. Offering peer support may improve mental health care engagement. This observational pilot study was conducted using an institutional review board-approved data repository to preliminarily evaluate the association and potential impact of a clinic-based veteran peer outreach strategy on treatment engagement and dropout. Veteran peer outreach coordinators (VPOCs) provided systematic contact (a) within 1 week after clinical evaluation and (b) 1 month after the patient's first treatment session to patients entering treatment at a specialty mental health clinic that provides military-informed mental health care to post-9/11 veterans and service members. Individuals were 102 consecutive Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn veteran psychotherapy referrals seen at an outpatient clinic. At 6 months, participants who received both contacts from VPOC had more psychotherapy sessions (M = 10.85, SD = 8.25) compared with those who had received no contact (M = 5.47, SD = 6.41) from VPOCs, t = 2.56, p < .05. The dropout rate was also significantly lower for those who received both peer outreach contacts (17.39%) compared with those who received only 1 VPOC contact (51.11%) or no VPOC contact (43.75%), χ2 = 7.27, p < .05. Veteran peer outreach may be associated with better engagement in mental health treatment and lower dropout. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved).

  8. Use of outpatient mental health services by homeless veterans after hurricanes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Lisa M; Barnett, Scott; Hickling, Edward; Frahm, Kathryn; Campbell, Robert R; Olney, Ronald; Schinka, John A; Casey, Roger

    2013-05-01

    Little is known about the impact of hurricanes on people who are homeless at the time a disaster occurs. Although researchers have extensively studied the psychosocial consequences of disaster produced homelessness on the general population, efforts focused on understanding how homeless people fare have been limited to a few media reports and the gray literature. In the event of a hurricane, homeless veterans may be at increased risk for negative outcomes because of their cumulative vulnerabilities. Health care statistics consistently document that homeless veterans experience higher rates of medical, emotional, substance abuse, legal, and financial problems compared with the general population. This study used the 2004 to 2006 Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Outpatient Medical Dataset to examine the effects of hurricanes on use of outpatient mental health services by homeless veterans. Homeless veterans residing in hurricane-affected counties were significantly more likely to participate in group psychotherapy (32.4% vs. 13.4%, p homeless programs and the provision of VHA mental health services to homeless veterans postdisaster. PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved.

  9. Mental Health and Self-directed Violence Among Student Service Members/Veterans in Postsecondary Education

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blosnich, John R.; Kopacz, Marek S.; McCarten, Janet; Bossarte, Robert M.

    2014-01-01

    Objectives Using a sample of student service members/veterans, the current study aimed to examine the prevalence of psychiatric diagnoses and suicide-related outcomes and the association of hazardous duty with mental health. Participants Data are from the Fall 2011 National College Health Assessment (n=27,774). Methods Logistic regression was used to examine (1) the association of student service member/veteran status with mental health outcomes and (2) the association of hazardous duty with mental health outcomes among student service members/veterans (n=706). Results Student service members/veterans had higher odds of self-harm than students without military experience. Among student service members/veterans, hazardous duty was positively associated (OR=2.00, 95% CI: 1.30–3.07) with having a psychiatric diagnosis but negatively associated (OR=0.41, 95% CI: 0.20–0.85) with suicidal ideation. Conclusions Self-harm may be a unique phenomenon among service members/veterans. Suicide prevention with this population should include information about self-harm, and future research should explore whether suicidal intent underlies self-harm. PMID:24918517

  10. Sexual trauma in the military: Exploring PTSD and mental health care utilization in female veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kintzle, Sara; Schuyler, Ashley C; Ray-Letourneau, Diana; Ozuna, Sara M; Munch, Christopher; Xintarianos, Elizabeth; Hasson, Anthony M; Castro, Carl A

    2015-11-01

    Sexual trauma remains a pervasive problem in the military. The deleterious mental health outcomes related to incidents of sexual assault have been well-documented in the literature, with particular attention given to the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and utilization of mental health services. Much effort has focused on addressing issues of sexual trauma in the military. The purpose of this study was to examine the incidences of sexual assault in female veterans, the relationship to PTSD and mental health care utilization. The research explored differences in pre- and post-9/11 veterans. Data were collected using a 6-prong recruitment strategy to reach veterans living in Southern California. A total of 2,583 veterans completed online and in-person surveys, of which 325 female veterans were identified for inclusion in the analysis. Forty percent of the sample reported experiencing sexual assault during their military service. A history of military sexual trauma was found to be a substantial contributor to symptoms of PTSD. A majority of female veterans who indicated being sexually assaulted during their military service met the cutoff for a diagnosis of PTSD. Although only a minority of participants who indicated being a victim of sexual assault reported receiving immediate care after the incident, most had received mental health counseling within the past 12 months. Findings point to the need for additional prevention programs within the military and opportunities for care for victims of military sexual assault. (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).

  11. Mental health and functional impairment outcomes following a 6-week intensive treatment programme for UK military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): a naturalistic study to explore dropout and health outcomes at follow-up.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Murphy, Dominic; Hodgman, Georgina; Carson, Carron; Spencer-Harper, Lucy; Hinton, Mark; Wessely, Simon; Busuttil, Walter

    2015-03-20

    Combat Stress, a UK national charity for veterans with mental health problems, has been funded by the National Health Service (NHS) to provide a national specialist service to deliver treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This paper reports the efficacy of a PTSD treatment programme for UK veterans at 6 months follow-up. A within subject design. UK veterans with a diagnosis of PTSD who accessed Combat Stress. 246 veterans who received treatment between late 2012 and early 2014. An intensive 6-week residential treatment programme, consisting of a mixture of individual and group sessions. Participants were offered a minimum of 15 individual trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy sessions. In addition, participants were offered 55 group sessions focusing on psychoeducational material and emotional regulation. Clinicians completed measures of PTSD and functional impairment and participants completed measures of PTSD, depression, anger and functional impairment. We observed significant reductions in PTSD scores following treatment on both clinician completed measures (PSS-I: -13.0, 95% CI -14.5 to -11.5) and self-reported measures (Revised Impact of Events Scale (IES-R): -16.5, 95% CI -19.0 to -14.0). Significant improvements in functional impairment were also observed (eg, Health of the Nation Outcome Scales (HONOS): -6.85, 95% CI -7.98 to -5.72). There were no differences in baseline outcomes between those who completed and those who did not complete the programme, or post-treatment outcomes between those we were able to follow-up at 6 months and those lost to follow-up. In a naturalistic study we observed a significant reduction in PTSD scores and functional impairment following treatment. These improvements were maintained at 6 month follow-up. Our findings suggest it may be helpful to take a closer look at combining individual trauma-focused cognitive behaviour therapy and group sessions when treating veterans with PTSD. This is the first

  12. Health care expenditures attributable to smoking in military veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barnett, Paul G; Hamlett-Berry, Kim; Sung, Hai-Yen; Max, Wendy

    2015-05-01

    The health effects of cigarette smoking have been estimated to account for between 6%-8% of U.S. health care expenditures. We estimated Veterans Health Administration (VHA) health care costs attributable to cigarette smoking. VHA survey and administrative data provided the number of Veteran enrollees, current and former smoking prevalence, and the cost of 4 types of care for groups defined by age, gender, and region. Cost and smoking status could not be linked at the enrollee level, so we used smoking attributable fractions estimated in sample of U.S. residents where the linkage could be made. The 7.7 million Veterans enrolled in VHA received $40.2 billion in VHA provided health services in 2010. We estimated that $2.7 billion in VHA costs were attributable to the health effects of smoking. This was 7.6% of the $35.3 billion spent on the types of care for which smoking-attributable fractions could be determined. The fraction of inpatient costs that was attributable to smoking (11.4%) was greater than the fraction of ambulatory care cost attributable to smoking (5.3%). More cost was attributable to current smokers ($1.7 billion) than to former smokers ($983 million). The fraction of VHA costs attributable to smoking is similar to that of other health care systems. Smoking among Veterans is slowly decreasing, but prevalence remains high in Veterans with psychiatric and substance use disorders, and in younger and female Veterans. VHA has adopted a number of smoking cessation programs that have the potential for reducing future smoking-attributable costs. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco 2014. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.

  13. 77 FR 58913 - Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee, Notice of Meeting

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-09-24

    ... AFFAIRS Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee, Notice of Meeting The Department of Veterans Affairs... provision of VA health care to enrolled Veterans residing in rural areas, and discusses ways to improve and... Office of Rural Health (ORH) Telehealth Projects funded; Louis A. Johnson Medical Center Women's Health...

  14. Measuring sustainability within the Veterans Administration Mental Health System Redesign initiative.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ford, James H; Krahn, Dean; Wise, Meg; Oliver, Karen Anderson

    2011-01-01

    To examine how attributes affecting sustainability differ across Veterans Health Administration organizational components and by staff characteristics. Surveys of 870 change team members and 50 staff interviews within the Veterans Affairs' Mental Health System Redesign initiative. A 1-way ANOVA with a Tukey post hoc test examined differences in sustainability by Veteran Integrated Service Networks, job classification, and tenure from staff survey data of the Sustainability Index. Qualitative interviews used an iterative process to identify "a priori" and "in vivo" themes. A simple stepwise linear regression explored predictors of sustainability. Sustainability differed across Veteran Integrated Service Networks and staff tenure. Job classification differences existed for the following: (1) benefits and credibility of the change and (2) staff involvement and attitudes toward change. Sustainability barriers were staff and institutional resistance and nonsupportive leadership. Facilitators were commitment to veterans, strong leadership, and use of quality improvement tools. Sustainability predictors were outcomes tracking, regular reporting, and use of Plan, Do, Study, Adjust cycles. Creating homogeneous implementation and sustainability processes across a national health system is difficult. Despite the Veterans Affairs' best evidence-based implementation efforts, there was significant variance. Locally tailored interventions might better support sustainability than "one-size-fits-all" approaches. Further research is needed to understand how participation in a quality improvement collaborative affects sustainability.

  15. Compensation and wellness: a conflict for veterans' health.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ellis, Niki; Mackenzie, Alison; Mobbs, Robyn

    2008-05-01

    In Australia greater attention is being given to health determinants, and the dominance of treatment in health policy and budgets is giving away some ground to prevention, health promotion, rehabilitation and disability management. This creates a dilemma for compensation systems: should the inclusion criteria be broadened to match the new thinking or should a narrower definition of "disease, injury or death" be retained? This issue is explored in the context of war syndromes among veterans. While veterans experience symptoms more frequently and more severely than military and community controls, their patterns of symptoms are not unique. Current compensation and benefit programs can create iatrogenic effects. It is concluded that compensation systems should be kept as safety nets while resources are provided to improve the capacity of primary health care caregivers, community organisations and veterans with war syndromes and their families to better deal with these problems. Adapting compensation systems to promote wellness through self-management health partnerships is one way of directing resources to individuals and their families. Action research at the community level with veterans, their families, their organisations, primary health care organisations, policy makers and researchers would allow this sector to work out the best way to apply existing efficacious tools to these modern health problems.

  16. First World War and Mental Health: a retrospective comparative study of veterans admitted to a psychiatric hospital between 1915 and 1918.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lagonia, Paolo; Aloi, Matteo; Magliocco, Fabio; Cerminara, Gregorio; Segura-Garcia, Cristina; Del Vecchio, Valeria; Luciano, Mario; Fiorillo, Andrea; De Fazio, Pasquale

    2017-01-01

    The association between mental illness and war has been repeatedly investigated. Higher levels of depressive symptoms and an increased suicidal risk have been found in veterans. In this study we investigated the mental health conditions among Italian soldiers during the “Great War”, who were hospitalized in a mental health hospital in Italy. The study sample consists of 498 soldiers who were admitted during the World War I between 1915 and 1918, and 498 civilian patients admitted in two different periods (1898-1914, 1919- 1932). Psychiatric diagnoses have been recorded retrospectively by a detailed examination of clinical records. Socio-demographic informations, diagnosis at first admission, number of admissions, and deployment in war zones were collected. A logistic regression analysis was performed, the diagnosis of depression was considered as dependent variable while clinical and demographic variables as independent predictors. Soldiers deployed in war zones were more likely to have a diagnosis of depression compared to those not serving on the frontline. The logistic regression analysis showed that the diagnosis of depression is predicted by being a soldier and being deployed in a war area. Our data confirm that soldiers engaged in war are at higher risk of developing depression compared to non-deployed soldiers.

  17. Mental health and health service use among post-national service veterans: results from the 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey of England.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Woodhead, C; Rona, R J; Iversen, A; MacManus, D; Hotopf, M; Dean, K; McManus, S; Meltzer, H; Brugha, T; Jenkins, R; Wessely, S; Fear, N T

    2011-02-01

    There is concern surrounding the psychological health and uptake of treatment services among veterans of the UK Armed Forces. Data from a cross-sectional, nationally representative sample were used to compare health outcomes and treatment seeking among 257 post-national service veterans aged 16-64 years and 504 age and sex frequency-matched non-veterans living in the community in England. Early leavers (<4 years service) were compared with longer serving veterans. Male veterans reported more childhood adversity and were more likely to have experienced a major trauma in adulthood than non-veterans. There was no association between any measure of mental health and veteran status in males, except reporting more violent behaviours [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1.44, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01-2.06]. In females, a significant association was found between veteran status and ever having suicidal thoughts (aOR 2.82, 95% CI 1.13-7.03). No differences in treatment-seeking behaviour were identified between veterans and non-veterans with any mental disorder. Early service leavers were more likely to be heavy drinkers (aOR 4.16, 95% CI 1.08-16.00), to have had suicidal thoughts (aOR 2.37, 95% CI 1.21-4.66) and to have self-harmed (aOR 12.36, 95% CI 1.61-94.68) than longer serving veterans. The findings of this study do not suggest that being a veteran is associated with adversity in terms of mental health, social disadvantage or reluctance to seek treatment compared with the general population. Some evidence implies that early service leavers may experience more mental health problems than longer-serving veterans.

  18. Identifying US veterans who access services from health care for the homeless clinics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knopf-Amelung, Sarah M; Jenkins, Darlene M

    2013-12-01

    Research on veterans experiencing homelessness is predominantly focused on the US Department of Veterans Affairs setting, despite the fact that substantial numbers receive services from Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) clinics. We explored how HCH clinics identified veteran patients through a survey of administrators (49% response rate). The majority (98%) identified veterans but used varied language and approaches. Implementing a streamlined, culturally competent identification process is vital to collecting accurate data, connecting veterans with benefits, and informing treatment plans.

  19. 77 FR 30593 - Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee, Notice of Meeting

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-05-23

    ... AFFAIRS Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee, Notice of Meeting The Department of Veterans Affairs... Friday, June 22, 2012, in Room GL20 of the Office of Rural Health (ORH), 1722 I Street NW., Washington... on health care issues affecting enrolled Veterans residing in rural areas. The Committee examines...

  20. 77 FR 3327 - Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-01-23

    ... No: 2012-1173] DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee; Notice of... Committee Act) that the Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee will conduct a telephone conference call meeting from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Monday, January 30, 2012, in Room GL20 of the Office of Rural Health...

  1. 77 FR 77185 - Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee, Notice of Meeting

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-12-31

    ... AFFAIRS Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee, Notice of Meeting The Department of Veterans Affairs... Tuesday, January ] 29, 2013, in Room GL20 of the Office of Rural Health (ORH), 1722 I Street, NW... on health care issues affecting enrolled Veterans residing in rural areas. The Committee examines...

  2. 76 FR 60965 - Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-09-30

    ... AFFAIRS Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting The Department of Veterans Affairs... VA health care to enrolled Veterans residing in rural areas, and discusses ways to improve and...HealthyVet; and Office of Rural Health. In the afternoon, the Committee ] will receive a briefing on the...

  3. 76 FR 44091 - Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-07-22

    ... AFFAIRS Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting The...) that the Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee will conduct a teleconference call meeting on Tuesday, August 2, 2011, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., in Room GL20 of the Office of Rural Health, 1722 I Street...

  4. 75 FR 61574 - Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-10-05

    ... AFFAIRS Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting The Department of Veterans Affairs... policies that impact the provision of VA health care to enrolled Veterans residing in rural areas, and... Committee will hear from its Chairman, ] the Director of the VA Office of Rural Health and the VA Under...

  5. Mental Health Symptoms Among Student Service Members/Veterans and Civilian College Students.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cleveland, Sandi D; Branscum, Adam J; Bovbjerg, Viktor E; Thorburn, Sheryl

    2015-01-01

    The aim of this study was to investigate if and to what extent student service members/veterans differ from civilian college students in the prevalence of self-reported symptoms of poor mental health. The Fall 2011 implementation of the American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment included 27,774 respondents from 44 colleges and universities. Participants were matched using propensity scores, and the prevalence of symptoms was compared using logistic regression and zero-inflated negative binomial regression models. The odds of feeling overwhelmed in the last 12 months were significantly lower among student service members/veterans with a history of hazardous duty (odd ratio [OR] = 0.46, adjusted p value students. Military service, with and without hazardous duty deployment, was not a significant predictor of the total number of symptoms of poor mental health. Current student service members/veterans may not be disproportionately affected by poor psychological functioning.

  6. Experiences with VHA care: a qualitative study of U.S. women veterans with self-reported trauma histories

    OpenAIRE

    Kehle-Forbes, Shannon M.; Harwood, Eileen M.; Spoont, Michele R.; Sayer, Nina A.; Gerould, Heather; Murdoch, Maureen

    2017-01-01

    Background Women veterans in the United States, particularly those with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or a history of military sexual assault, have unique health care needs, but their minority status in the US Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has led to documented healthcare disparities when compared to men. This study?s objective was to obtain a richer understanding of the challenges and successes encountered by women veterans with self-reported service-related trauma histories (p...

  7. Do medical house officers value the health of veterans differently from the health of non-veterans?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luckhaupt Sara

    2004-04-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Little information is available regarding medical residents' perceptions of patients' health-related quality of life. Patients cared for by residents have been shown to receive differing patterns of care at Veterans Affairs facilities than at community or university settings. We therefore examined: 1 how resident physicians value the health of patients; 2 whether values differ if the patient is described as a veteran; and 3 whether residency-associated variables impact values. Methods All medicine residents in a teaching hospital were asked to watch a digital video of an actor depicting a 72-year-old patient with mild-moderate congestive heart failure. Residents were randomized to 2 groups: in one group, the patient was described as a veteran of the Korean War, and in the other, he was referred to only as a male. The respondents assessed the patient's health state using 4 measures: rating scale (RS, time tradeoff (TTO, standard gamble (SG, and willingness to pay (WTP. We also ascertained residents' demographics, risk attitudes, residency program type, post-graduate year level, current rotation, experience in a Veterans Affairs hospital, and how many days it had been since they were last on call. We performed univariate and multivariable analyses using the RS, TTO, SG and WTP as dependent variables. Results Eighty-one residents (89.0% of eligible participated, with 36 (44.4% viewing the video of the veteran and 45 (55.6% viewing the video of the non-veteran. Their mean (SD age was 28.7 (3.1 years; 51.3% were female; and 67.5% were white. There were no differences in residents' characteristics or in RS, TTO, SG and WTP scores between the veteran and non-veteran groups. The mean RS score was 0.60 (0.14; the mean TTO score was 0.80 (0.20; the mean SG score was 0.91 (0.10; and the median (25th, 75th percentile WTP was $10,000 ($7600, $20,000 per year. In multivariable analyses, being a resident in the categorical program was

  8. Correlates of major depressive disorder with and without comorbid alcohol use disorder nationally in the veterans health administration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yoon, Gihyun; Petrakis, Ismene L; Rosenheck, Robert A

    2015-08-01

    This study assesses medical and psychiatric comorbidities, service utilization, and psychotropic medication prescriptions in veterans with comorbid major depressive disorder (MDD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) relative to veterans with MDD alone. Using cross-sectional administrative data (fiscal year [FY]2012: October 1, 2011-September 30, 2012) from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), we identified veterans with a diagnosis of current (12-month) MDD nationally (N = 309,374), 18.8% of whom were also diagnosed with current (12-month) AUD. Veterans with both MDD and AUD were compared to those with MDD alone on sociodemographic characteristics, current (12-month) medical and psychiatric disorders, service utilization, and psychotropic prescriptions. We then used logistic regression analyses to calculate odds ratio and 95% confidence interval of characteristics that were independently different between the groups. Dually diagnosed veterans with MDD and AUD, relative to veterans with MDD alone, had a greater number of comorbid health conditions, such as liver disease, drug use disorders, and bipolar disorder as well as greater likelihood of homelessness and higher service utilization. Dually diagnosed veterans with MDD and AUD had more frequent medical and psychiatric comorbidities and more frequently had been homeless. These data suggest the importance of assessing the presence of comorbid medical/psychiatric disorders and potential homelessness in order to provide appropriately comprehensive treatment to dually diagnosed veterans with MDD and AUD and indicate a need to develop more effective treatments for combined disorders. © American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry.

  9. Reproductive health of male Australian veterans of the 1991 Gulf War

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Glass Deborah C

    2007-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Since the 1991 Gulf War concerns have been raised about the effects of deployment to the Gulf War on veterans' health. Studies of the reproductive health of Gulf War veterans have reported varied findings. Methods We undertook a cross-sectional study of male Australian Gulf War veterans (n = 1,424 and a randomly sampled military comparison group (n = 1,548. The study was conducted from August 2000 to April 2002. A postal questionnaire included questions about difficulties achieving pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes including live births, stillbirths, miscarriages and terminations; and for all live births gestation, birth weight, sex, and any cancers, birth defects, chromosomal abnormalities or serious health problems. Results Male Gulf War veterans reported slightly increased risk of fertility difficulties following the Gulf War (odds ratio [OR] 1.4; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.0–1.8, but were more successful at subsequently fathering a child (OR 1.8; 95% CI 1.3–2.6. The study groups reported similar rates of pregnancies and live births. There was no increased risk in veterans of miscarriage, stillbirth, or terminations. Children of male Gulf War veterans born after the period of the Gulf War were not at greater risk of being born prematurely, having a low birth weight, or having a birth defect or chromosomal abnormality (OR 1.0; 95% CI 0.6–1.6. The numbers of cancers and deaths in children were too small to draw any firm conclusions. Conclusion The results of this study do not show an increased risk of adverse reproductive outcome in Australian male Gulf War veterans.

  10. A study of Danish veterans

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    2014-01-01

    From 2009 to 2012, Danish soldiers from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Team 7 participated in a research study (USPER PSYK) aimed at investigating the long-term psychological and social consequences of military deployment. The 743 soldiers who participated in the study were...... deployed to Afghanistan from February to August 2009. The soldiers were assessed before and during deployment, as well as at home coming and 3 months, 7 months, and 2.5 years after home coming. All assessments included a wide range of self-report measures, and at the final assessment, the majority...

  11. Evidence of greater health care needs among older veterans of the Vietnam War.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brooks, Matthew S; Laditka, Sarah B; Laditka, James N

    2008-08-01

    This study examined self-rated health, impairments in activities of daily living, and treatment for eight health conditions among Vietnam War-era veterans, comparing those who served in Vietnam with those who served elsewhere. Data were from the nationally representative 2001 National Survey of Veterans (N = 7,907; 3,923 veterans served in Vietnam). Age-stratified ( or =60 years) analyses included multivariate logistic regression. In adjusted analyses, among those Vietnam had notably poorer self-rated health and higher stroke risk (odds ratio, 1.51; 95% confidence interval, 1.48-1.53); odds of most other conditions were lower. Among those > or =60 years of age, those who served in Vietnam had poorer self-rated health, higher cancer risk (odds ratio, 1.33; 95% confidence interval, 1.32-1.35), and more treatment for hypertension, lung conditions, stroke, and hearing loss. Results suggest greater resource use among older veterans who served in Vietnam. Clinicians and the Department of Veterans Affairs should especially note their substantially higher cancer risk.

  12. Lifestyle and health-related risk factors and risk of cognitive aging among older veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yaffe, Kristine; Hoang, Tina D; Byers, Amy L; Barnes, Deborah E; Friedl, Karl E

    2014-06-01

    Lifestyle and health-related factors are critical components of the risk for cognitive aging among veterans. Because dementia has a prolonged prodromal phase, understanding effects across the life course could help focus the timing and duration of prevention targets. This perspective may be especially relevant for veterans and health behaviors. Military service may promote development and maintenance of healthy lifestyle behaviors, but the period directly after active duty has ended could be an important transition stage and opportunity to address some important risk factors. Targeting multiple pathways in one intervention may maximize efficiency and benefits for veterans. A recent review of modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer's disease estimated that a 25% reduction of a combination of seven modifiable risk factors including diabetes, hypertension, obesity, depression, physical inactivity, smoking, and education/cognitive inactivity could prevent up to 3 million cases worldwide and 492,000 cases in the United States. Lifestyle interventions to address cardiovascular health in veterans may serve as useful models with both physical and cognitive activity components, dietary intervention, and vascular risk factor management. Although the evidence is accumulating for lifestyle and health-related risk factors as well as military risk factors, more studies are needed to characterize these factors in veterans and to examine the potential interactions between them. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  13. Racial Differences in Mental Health Recovery among Veterans with Serious Mental Illness.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ali, Mana K; Hack, Samantha M; Brown, Clayton H; Medoff, Deborah; Fang, Lijuan; Klingaman, Elizabeth A; Park, Stephanie G; Dixon, Lisa B; Kreyenbuhl, Julie A

    2017-04-14

    Black consumers with serious mental illness (SMI) face significant challenges in obtaining quality mental health care and are at risk for experiencing significant disparities in mental health care outcomes, including recovery from mental illness. Patient-provider interactions may partly contribute to this disparity. The purpose of the current study was to understand the effects of race, psychosis, and therapeutic alliance on mental health recovery orientation among Veterans with SMI. Participants were Veterans who had an SMI being treated at two Veteran Affairs outpatient mental health clinics by a psychiatrist or nurse practitioner. Participants completed the Behavior and Symptom Identification Scale (BASIS-24), Mental Health Recovery Measure, and patient-report Scale to Assess the Therapeutic Relationship (STAR-P) which includes three subscales: positive collaboration, positive clinician input, and non-supportive clinician input. Regression analyses were used to determine interactive effects of race, psychosis severity, and therapeutic alliance variables. The sample was 226 Veterans (50% black, 50% white). Black participants were slightly older (p mental health recovery (p mental health recovery orientation for black participants. Conversely, for white participants, positive collaboration had little effect on the negative relationship between psychosis severity and mental health recovery orientation. Increased levels of psychosis may inhibit patients' perceptions of their ability to recover from SMI. However, for black participants, positive collaboration with mental health providers may moderate the effects of psychotic symptomatology.

  14. Burnout among psychiatrists in the Veterans Health Administration

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hector A. Garcia

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Research suggests that mental health workers are at high risk for burnout, and that burnout can increase staff turnover and reduce quality of care. The Veterans Administration (VA employs over 3000 psychiatrists across the United States, but little is known about burnout in this population. This study was conducted to examine predictors of burnout and intent to leave the VA among a national sample of VA psychiatrists. Participants (N = 125 responded to an anonymous online survey. Regression analyses were used to examine relationships between workplace variables, patient characteristics, and burnout as measured by the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey – which includes sub-scales for cynicism, exhaustion, and professional efficacy – as well as intent to leave the VA. Based on established cut-off scores, 90% of the sample reported high cynicism, 86% reported high exhaustion, and 74% reported high professional efficacy. High cynicism predicted the intent to leave the VA (p = .004. Not feeling part of a coherent team predicted greater cynicism (p = .01, and patient characteristics such as suspected malingering showed a positive trend with cynicism (p = .05. Workplace characteristics such as unfair treatment by supervisors (p = .03 and insufficient resources (p = .001 predicted greater exhaustion. The current findings suggest that burnout is prevalent in the VA psychiatry workforce. Specific administrative measures to reduce burnout may have potential to improve the emotional health of that workforce and ensure high quality of care for the veteran population it serves. The size of both the VA psychiatry workforce and patient population underscores the importance of greater understanding of burnout as it occurs in the VA.

  15. Challenges to Enrollment and Participation in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Among Veterans: A Qualitative Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martinez, Michelle E; Kearney, David J; Simpson, Tracy; Felleman, Benjamin I; Bernardi, Nicole; Sayre, George

    2015-07-01

    Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is associated with reduced depressive symptoms, quality of life improvements, behavioral activation, and increased acceptance among veterans. This study was conducted to increase the reach and impact of a veterans' MBSR program by identifying barriers to enrollment and participation to inform modifications in program delivery. Verify or challenge suspected barriers, and identify previously unrecognized barriers, to enrollment and participation in MBSR among veterans. A retrospective qualitative analysis of semistructured interviews. VA Puget Sound Health Care System (Seattle, WA). 68 interviewed, and 48 coded and analyzed before reaching saturation. Content analysis of semistructured interviews. Of the participants who enrolled, most (78%) completed the program and described MBSR positively. Veterans identified insufficient or inaccurate information, scheduling issues, and an aversion to groups as barriers to enrollment. Participants who discontinued the program cited logistics (e.g., scheduling and medical issues), negative reactions to instructors or group members, difficulty understanding the MBSR practice purposes, and struggling to find time for the practices as barriers to completion. Other challenges (cohort dynamics, teacher impact on group structure and focus, instructor lack of military service, and physical and psychological challenges) did not impede participation; we interpreted these as growth-facilitating challenges. Common conditions among veterans (chronic pain, posttraumatic stress disorder, and depression) were not described as barriers to enrollment or completion. Women-only MBSR groups and tele-health MBSR groups could improve accessibility to MBSR for veterans by addressing barriers such as commute anxiety, time restrictions, and an aversion to mixed gender groups among women. Educating MBSR teachers about veteran culture and health challenges faced by veterans, adding psychoeducation materials that

  16. Impact of panic disorder on quality of life among veterans in a primary care pilot study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barrera, Terri L; Hiatt, Emily L; Dunn, Nancy Jo; Teng, Ellen J

    2013-04-01

    Panic disorder is a debilitating and costly mental health condition which commonly presents in primary care settings; however, little is known about the impact of panic disorder on quality of life and health utility valuations among Veterans in primary care. A cross-sectional investigation of quality of life was conducted in a sample of 21 Veterans with panic disorder in a VA primary care clinic. Health utilities were determined using an algorithm based upon the Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36). Veterans in the current sample reported significantly greater impairment on all eight of the SF-36 subscales in comparison to published norms. Veterans with panic and comorbid mood disorders reported significantly greater impairment on the Vitality, Social Functioning, and Mental Health subscales, while Veterans with panic and comorbid anxiety disorders reported significantly greater impairment on the Physical Functioning and Bodily pain subscales. Health utilities for the current sample were comparable to previous reports of Veterans with PTSD and depression, as well as health utilities of persons with chronic pulmonary disease and irritable bowel syndrome. The findings from this study highlight the devastating nature of panic disorder and reflect the need for increased attention to the identification and treatment of panic disorder in VA primary care settings. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  17. Ensuring Appropriate Care for LGBT Veterans in the Veterans Health Administration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sharpe, Virginia Ashby; Uchendu, Uchenna S

    2014-09-01

    Within health care systems, negative perceptions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons have often translated into denial of services, denial of visitation rights to same-sex partners, reluctance on the part of LGBT patients to share personal information, and failure of workers to assess and recognize the unique health care needs of these patients. Other bureaucratic forms of exclusion have included documents, forms, and policies that fail to acknowledge a patient's valued relationships because of, for example, a narrow definition of "spouse," "parent," or "family." Bureaucratic exclusion has taken a particularly prominent form in the U.S. military. Until its repeal and termination in 2011, the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy had for eighteen years barred openly gay men and lesbians from serving in the military. Among the effects of DADT is a dearth of information about the number and needs of LGBT service members who transition to the Veterans Health Administration for health care at the end of their military service. The long-standing social stigma against LGBT persons, the silence mandated by DADT, and the often unrecognized bias built into the fabric of bureaucratic systems make the task of creating a welcoming culture in the VHA urgent and challenging. The VHA has accepted a commitment to that task. Its Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2013 through 2018 stipulates that "[v]eterans will receive timely, high quality, personalized, safe, effective and equitable health care irrespective of geography, gender, race, age, culture or sexual orientation." To achieve this goal, the VHA undertook a number of coordinated initiatives to create an environment and culture that is informed, welcoming, positive, and empowering for the LGBT veterans and families whom the agency serves. © 2014 by The Hastings Center.

  18. A Health Assessment Survey of Veteran Students: Utilizing a Community College-Veterans Affairs Medical Center Partnership.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Misra-Hebert, Anita D; Santurri, Laura; DeChant, Richard; Watts, Brook; Sehgal, Ashwini R; Aron, David C

    2015-10-01

    To assess health status among student veterans at a community college utilizing a partnership between a Veterans Affairs Medical Center and a community college. Student veterans at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio, in January to April 2013. A health assessment survey was sent to 978 veteran students. Descriptive analyses to assess prevalence of clinical diagnoses and health behaviors were performed. Logistic regression analyses were performed to assess for independent predictors of functional limitations. 204 students participated in the survey (21% response rate). Self-reported depression and unhealthy behaviors were high. Physical and emotional limitations (45% and 35%, respectively), and pain interfering with work (42%) were reported. Logistic regression analyses confirmed the independent association of self-reported depression with functional limitation (odds ratio [OR] = 3.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.4-7.8, p student veterans at a community college. A partnership between a Veterans Affairs Medical Center and a community college can be utilized to help understand the health needs of veteran students. Reprint & Copyright © 2015 Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S.

  19. Comparing life experiences in active addiction and recovery between veterans and non-veterans: a national study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laudet, Alexandre; Timko, Christine; Hill, Thomas

    2014-01-01

    The costs of addiction are well documented, but the potential benefits of recovery are less well known. Similarly, substance use issues among both active duty military personnel and veterans are well known but their recovery experiences remain underinvestigated. Furthermore, little is known about whether and how addiction and recovery experiences differ between veterans and non-veterans. This knowledge can help refine treatment and recovery support services. Capitalizing on a national study of individuals in recovery (N = 3,208), we compare addiction and recovery experiences among veterans (n = 481) and non-veterans. Veterans' addiction phase was 4 years longer than non-veterans and they experienced significantly more financial and legal problems. Dramatic improvements in functioning were observed across the board in recovery with subgroup differences leveling off. We discuss possible strategies to address the specific areas where veterans are most impaired in addiction and note study limitations including the cross-sectional design.

  20. Pilot Investigation of PTSD, Autonomic Reactivity, and Cardiovascular Health in Physically Healthy Combat Veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clausen, Ashley N; Aupperle, Robin L; Sisante, Jason-Flor V; Wilson, David R; Billinger, Sandra A

    2016-01-01

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and combat-related PTSD in particular, has been associated with increased rates of cardiovascular disease, and cardiovascular-related death. However, less research has examined possible factors that may link PTSD to poorer cardiovascular health in combat veteran populations. The current pilot study investigated whether psychological symptomology and autonomic reactivity to emotional scripts would relate to poorer cardiovascular health in combat veterans without a current diagnosis of cardiovascular disease. Male veterans (N = 24), who served in combat since Operation Iraqi Freedom, completed a semi-structured interview and self-report measures to assess psychological symptomology. Autonomic reactivity, measured using heart rate variability (HRV; low to high frequency ratio), was obtained during script-driven imagery of emotional memories. Cardiovascular health was assessed using flow-mediated dilation (FMD) of the brachial artery. Correlational analyses and discriminant analysis were used to assess the relationship between psychological symptoms (PTSD, depression, anger, as measured via self-report), autonomic reactivity to emotional scripts (HRV), and FMD. Overall, veterans in the current study showed poor cardiovascular health despite their relatively young age and lack of behavioral risk factors, with 15/24 exhibiting impaired FMD (FMD Psychological symptomology was not associated with FMD; whereas autonomic reactivity to emotional (compared to neutral) scripts was found to relate to FMD. Autonomic reactivity to negative scripts correctly classified 76.5% of veterans as having impaired versus normative FMD. Results from this pilot study highlight the importance of cardiovascular screening with combat veterans despite psychological diagnosis. Results also support the need for longitudinal research assessing the use of autonomic reactivity to emotionally valenced stimuli as a potential risk factor for poorer cardiovascular

  1. A Health Services Research Agenda for Bariatric Surgery Within the Veterans Health Administration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Funk, L M; Gunnar, W; Dominitz, J A; Eisenberg, D; Frayne, S; Maggard-Gibbons, M; Kalarchian, M A; Livingston, E; Sanchez, V; Smith, B R; Weidenbacher, H; Maciejewski, Matthew L

    2017-04-01

    In 2016, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) held a Weight Management State of the Art conference to identify evidence gaps and develop a research agenda for population-based weight management for veterans. Included were behavioral, pharmacologic, and bariatric surgery workgroups. This article summarizes the bariatric surgery workgroup (BSWG) findings and recommendations for future research. The BSWG agreed that there is evidence from randomized trials and large observational studies suggesting that bariatric surgery is superior to medical therapy for short- and intermediate-term remission of type 2 diabetes, long-term weight loss, and long-term survival. Priority evidence gaps include long-term comorbidity remission, mental health, substance abuse, and health care costs. Evidence of the role of endoscopic weight loss options is also lacking. The BSWG also noted the limited evidence regarding optimal timing for bariatric surgery referral, barriers to bariatric surgery itself, and management of high-risk bariatric surgery patients. Clinical trials of pre- and post-surgery interventions may help to optimize patient outcomes. A registry of overweight and obese veterans and a workforce assessment to determine the VHA's capacity to increase bariatric surgery access were recommended. These will help inform policy modifications and focus the research agenda to improve the ability of the VHA to deliver population-based weight management.

  2. Agent Orange exposure and attributed health effects in Vietnam veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Young, Alvin L; Cecil, Paul F

    2011-07-01

    Serum dioxin studies of Vietnam (VN) veterans, military historical records of tactical herbicide use in Vietnam, and the compelling evidence of the photodegradation of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) and other aspects of environmental fate and low bioavailability of TCDD are consistent with few, if any, ground troop veterans being exposed to Agent Orange. That conclusion, however, is contrary to the presumption by the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) that military service in Vietnam anytime from January 9, 1962 to May 7, 1975 is a proxy for exposure to Agent Orange. The DVA assumption is inconsistent with the scientific principles governing determinations of disease causation. The DVA has nonetheless awarded Agent Orange-related benefits and compensation to an increasing number of VN veterans based on the presumption of exposure and the published findings of the Institute of Medicine that there is sufficient evidence of a "statistical association" (a less stringent standard than "causal relationship") between exposure to tactical herbicides or TCDD and 15 different human diseases. A fairer and more valid approach for VN veterans would have been to enact a program of "Vietnam experience" benefits for those seriously ill, rather than benefits based on the dubious premise of injuries caused by Agent Orange.

  3. Outcome by Gender in the Veterans Health Administration Motivating Overweight/Obese Veterans Everywhere Weight Management Program.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Batch, Bryan C; Goldstein, Karen; Yancy, William S; Sanders, Linda L; Danus, Susanne; Grambow, Steven C; Bosworth, Hayden B

    2017-07-21

    Few evaluations of the Veterans Health Administration Motivating Overweight/Obese Veterans Everywhere (MOVE!) weight management program have assessed 6-month weight change or factors associated with weight change by gender. Analysis of administrative data from a national sample of veterans in the VA MOVE! A total of 62,882 participants were included, 14.6% were women. Compared with men, women were younger (49.6 years [standard deviation, SD, 10.8] vs. 59.3 years [SD, 9.8], p stress disorder (26.0% vs. 22.4%, p women was lower than men (5.6 [SD, 5.3] vs. 6.0 [SD, 5.9], p Women, compared with men, reported lower rates of being able to rely on family or friends (35.7% vs. 40.8%, p women was -1.5% (SD, 5.2) and for men was -1.9% (SD, 4.8, p women (body-mass index [BMI] >25 kg/m(2)) compared with men (BMI >25 kg/m(2); odds ratio, 1.05 [95% confidence interval, 0.99-1.11; p = 0.13]). Women veterans lost less weight overall compared with men. There was no difference in the odds of achieving clinically significant weight loss by gender. The majority of women and men enrolled lost <5% weight despite being enrolled in a lifestyle intervention. Future studies should focus on identifying program- and participant-level barriers to weight loss.

  4. Roles of physical and mental health in suicidal ideation in Canadian Armed Forces Regular Force veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thompson, James M; Zamorski, Mark A; Sweet, Jill; VanTil, Linda; Sareen, Jitender; Pietrzak, Robert H; Hopman, Wilma H; MacLean, Mary Beth; Pedlar, Dave

    2014-04-09

    Suicide in recent veterans is an international concern. An association between mental disorders and suicide has been established, but less information is available about an association between physical health problems and suicide among veterans. This study extends this area of inquiry by examining the relationship of both physical and mental health problems with suicidal ideation in a representative national sample of Canadian veterans. Subjects were a stratified random sample of 2,658 veterans who had been released from the Canadian Armed Forces Regular Force during 1998-2007 and had participated in the 2010 Survey on Transition to Civilian Life. Associations between physical and mental health and past-year suicidal ideation were explored in multivariable regression models using three measures of physical and mental health. The prevalence of suicidal ideation was 5.8% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 5.0%-6.8%). After adjustment for covariates, ideation was associated with gastrointestinal disorders (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 1.66, CI: 1.03-2.65), depression or anxiety (AOR 5.06, CI: 2.97-8.62) and mood disorders (AOR 2.91, CI: 1.67-5.07); number of physical (AOR 1.22, CI: 1.05-1.42) and mental conditions (AOR 2.32, CI: 2.01-2.68); and SF-12 Health Survey physical health (AOR 0.98, CI: 0.96-0.99 for each 1 point increase) and mental health (AOR 0.88, CI: 0.87-0.89). Physical health was independently associated with suicidal ideation after adjustment for mental health status and socio-demographic characteristics. The findings underscore the importance of considering physical health in population-based suicide prevention efforts and in mitigating suicide risk in individual veterans.

  5. Mental Health Concerns: Veterans & Active Duty

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... dialing 1-800-273-8255 and pressing 1. Mental Health Concerns There are three primary mental health concerns ... care or call 911. How Will Asking for Mental Health Treatment Affect My Career? Military personnel have always ...

  6. Women Veterans Health Care: Frequently Asked Questions

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... Groups Health and Wellness Outreach Materials Posters Safety Gun Safety Medication Safety Reproductive Health Healthy Pregnancy Preconception ... where specific authority is given to VA by law. Contact your nearest VA health care facility (found ...

  7. Agent Orange Exposure and Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance: An Operation Ranch Hand Veteran Cohort Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Landgren, Ola; Shim, Youn K; Michalek, Joel; Costello, Rene; Burton, Debra; Ketchum, Norma; Calvo, Katherine R; Caporaso, Neil; Raveche, Elizabeth; Middleton, Dan; Marti, Gerald; Vogt, Robert F

    2015-11-01

    Multiple myeloma has been classified as exhibiting "limited or suggestive evidence" of an association with exposure to herbicides in Vietnam War veterans. Occupational studies have shown that other pesticides (ie, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides) are associated with excess risk of multiple myeloma and its precursor state, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS); however, to our knowledge, no studies have uncovered such an association in Vietnam War veterans. To examine the relationship between MGUS and exposure to Agent Orange, including its contaminant 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), in Vietnam War veterans. This was a prospective cohort study conducted in 2013 to 2014, testing for MGUS in serum specimens collected and stored in 2002 by the Air Force Health Study (AFHS). The relevant exposure data collected by the AFHS was also used. We tested all specimens in 2013 without knowledge of the exposure status. The AFHS included former US Air Force personnel who participated in Operation Ranch Hand (Ranch Hand veterans) and other US Air Force personnel who had similar duties in Southeast Asia during the same time period (1962 to 1971) but were not involved in herbicide spray missions (comparison veterans). Agent Orange was used by the US Air Force personnel who conducted aerial spray missions of herbicides (Operation Ranch Hand) in Vietnam from 1962 to 1971. We included 479 Ranch Hand veterans and 479 comparison veterans who participated in the 2002 follow-up examination of AFHS. Agent Orange and TCDD. Serum TCDD levels were measured in 1987, 1992, 1997, and 2002. Risk of MGUS measured by prevalence, odds ratios (ORs), and 95% CIs. The 479 Ranch Hand veterans and 479 comparison veterans had similar demographic and lifestyle characteristics and medical histories. The crude prevalence of overall MGUS was 7.1% (34 of 479) in Ranch Hand veterans and 3.1% (15 of 479) in comparison veterans. This translated into a 2.4-fold increased risk

  8. A Study of Interpersonal Intimacy and Meaning of Life Among Elderly Institutionalized Veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Niu, Chen-Chun; Huang, Hui-Man; Hung, Yun-Ying; Lee, Hsiu-Li

    2016-12-01

    Most senior veterans who live in veterans' homes in Taiwan are single and have few intimate, interpersonal relationships. Aging is often accompanied by solitude and illness, which causes senior veterans to doubt the meaning of life and to lose confidence in the value of life. This study investigated the personal characteristics that influence interpersonal intimacy and the meaning of life as well as the relationship between interpersonal intimacy and the meaning of life among senior veterans living in veterans' homes. A cross-sectional design was used, and 120 senior male veterans were convenience sampled from three veterans' homes in southern Taiwan. Three structured questionnaires were used in this study: personal characteristics questionnaire, interpersonal intimacy scale, and purpose in life test. (a) Interpersonal intimacy was influenced by source of income or funds, type of residence institution, religious affiliation, and the quality of the participant's relationships with family, friends, and fellow residents. Educational level and self-perceived health status correlated positively with interpersonal intimacy, and period of residence correlated negatively with interpersonal intimacy. (b) Meaning of life was influenced by the quality of relationships with family and friends. Educational level and self-perceived health status correlated significantly and positively with meaning of life, and period of residence correlated negatively with meaning of life. (c) Significant, positive correlations were found among interpersonal intimacy, the four domains of interpersonal intimacy, and meaning of life. Health professionals involved in the care of senior veterans in institutions may use the results of this study to develop and implement interventions that promote a higher degree of interpersonal intimacy and a higher appreciation of the meaning of life, thus enabling senior veterans to confront old age in a more positive manner.

  9. Diet quality is associated with mental health, social support, and neighborhood factors among Veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoerster, Katherine D; Wilson, Sarah; Nelson, Karin M; Reiber, Gayle E; Masheb, Robin M

    2016-12-01

    United States Veterans have a higher prevalence of overweight and related chronic conditions compared to the general population. Although diet is a primary and modifiable contributor to these conditions, little is known about factors influencing diet quality among Veterans. The goal of this study is to examine individual, social environment, and physical environment correlates of general diet quality among Veterans. Study participants (N=653) received care at an urban VA Medical Center in Seattle, WA and completed a mailed survey in 2012 and 2013. Diet quality was assessed with Starting the Conversation, an instrument that measures consumption of unhealthy snacks, fast food, desserts, sugar-sweetened beverages, and fats; fruits and vegetables; and healthy proteins. Variables significantly (p<0.05) associated with diet quality in bivariate analyses were included in a multivariate regression. In the multivariate model, higher level of depressive symptom severity (Diff=0.05; CI=0.01, 0.09; p=0.017); not having others eat healthy meals with the Veteran (Diff=-0.81; CI=-1.5, -0.1; p=0.022); and reduced availability of low-fat foods in neighborhood stores where the Veteran shops (Diff=-0.37; CI=-0.6, -0.2; p<0.001) were associated with poorer diet quality. Consistent with prior research in the general population, this study identified multiple domains associated with Veterans' diet quality, including psychological comorbidity, the social environment, and the physical environment. Findings from this study suggest that interventions aimed at mental health, social support, and neighborhood access to healthy foods are needed to improve Veteran diet quality. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  10. 78 FR 48543 - Veterans Health Administration Fund Availability Under the VA's Homeless Providers Grant and Per...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-08-08

    ... AFFAIRS Veterans Health Administration Fund Availability Under the VA's Homeless Providers Grant and Per... continue to deliver services to the homeless Special Need veteran population as outlined in their FY 2009.... Quarles, Director, VA's Homeless Providers GPD Program, Department of Veterans Affairs, 10770 N. 46th...

  11. 77 FR 37839 - Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) No-Health Period Extension

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-06-25

    ... AFFAIRS 38 CFR Part 9 RIN 2900-AO24 Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) No-Health Period Extension... Affairs (VA) proposes to amend its regulations governing eligibility for Veterans' Group Life Insurance... indicate that they are submitted in response to ``RIN 2900-AO24--Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) No...

  12. Universal screening for homelessness and risk for homelessness in the Veterans Health Administration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Montgomery, Ann Elizabeth; Fargo, Jamison D; Byrne, Thomas H; Kane, Vincent R; Culhane, Dennis P

    2013-12-01

    We examined data for all veterans who completed the Veterans Health Administration's national homelessness screening instrument between October 1, 2012, and January 10, 2013. Among veterans who were not engaged with the US Department of Veterans Affairs homeless system and presented for primary care services, the prevalence of recent housing instability or homelessness was 0.9% and homelessness risk was 1.2%. Future research will refine outreach strategies, targeting of prevention resources, and development of novel interventions.

  13. Physical and Mental Health and Access to Care among Nonmetropolitan Veterans Health Administration Patients Younger than 65 Years

    Science.gov (United States)

    West, Alan; Weeks, William B.

    2006-01-01

    Context: The 4.5 million military veterans treated by the Veterans Health Administration (VA) are believed to experience poorer physical and mental health than nonveterans. Furthermore, nonmetropolitan residents have less access to medical services, whether or not they are veterans in VA care. A direct comparison of metropolitan and…

  14. Veterans and Homelessness

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-11-29

    health care and rehabilitation services for homeless veterans (the Health Care for Homeless Veterans and Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans...Health Care for Homeless Veterans ................................................................................... 19 Domiciliary Care for Homeless...for Homeless Veterans (HCHV), Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans (DCHV), the Compensated Work Therapy/Therapeutic Residences Program, and the

  15. Cognitive dysfunction and poor health literacy are common in veterans presenting with acute coronary syndrome: insights from the MEDICATION study

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marzec LN

    2015-06-01

    Full Text Available Lucas N Marzec,1 Evan P Carey,1 Anne C Lambert-Kerzner,1 Eric J Del Giacco,2 Stephanie D Melnyk,3 Chris L Bryson,4 Ibrahim E Fahdi,2 Hayden B Bosworth,3 Fran Fiocchi,5 P Michael Ho11Division of Cardiology, Denver VA Medical Center, Denver, CO, USA; 2Department of Medicine, Little Rock VA Medical Center, Little Rock, AR, USA; 3Department of Medicine, Durham VA Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA; 4Department of Medicine, Puget Sound VA Medical Center, Seattle, WA, USA; 5American College of Cardiology, Washington, DC, USABackground: Patient nonadherence to cardiac medications following acute coronary syndrome (ACS is associated with increased risk of recurrent events. However, the prevalence of cognitive dysfunction and poor health literacy among ACS patients and their association with medication nonadherence are poorly understood.Methods: We assessed rates of cognitive dysfunction and poor health literacy among participants of a clinical trial that tested the effectiveness of an intervention to improve medication adherence in patients hospitalized with ACS. Of 254 patients, 249 completed the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine, Revised (REALM-R survey, an assessment of risk for poor literacy, and the St Louis University Mental Status (SLUMS exam, a tool assessing for neurocognitive deficits, during ACS hospitalization. We assessed if SLUMS or REALM-R scores were associated with medication adherence.Results: Based on SLUMS score, 14% of patients were categorized as having dementia, and 52% with mild neurocognitive disorder (MNCD. Based on REALM-R score of ≤6, 34% of patients were categorized as at risk for poor health literacy. There was no association between poor health literacy and medication nonadherence. Of those with MNCD, 35.5% were nonadherent, compared to 17.5% with normal cognitive function and 6.7% with dementia. In multivariable analysis, cognitive dysfunction was associated with medication nonadherence (P=0.007, mainly due to

  16. Brief alcohol counseling improves mental health functioning in veterans with alcohol misuse: results from a randomized trial.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cucciare, Michael A; Boden, Matthew Tyler; Weingardt, Kenneth R

    2013-05-01

    Alcohol misuse occurs at high rates among U.S. Military Veterans presenting to primary care and is linked to numerous negative social and health consequences. The Veterans Health Administration has recently implemented brief alcohol interventions (BAI) in VA primary care settings. An emerging literature suggests that BAIs that target alcohol consumption may also have secondary health benefits such as reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety in civilian samples. The present study sought to examine whether secondary health benefits of BAIs observed in civilians generalize to a sample of alcohol misusing Veterans presenting to primary care. Veterans (N=167) screening positive for alcohol misuse during a routine primary care visit were randomized to receive treatment-as-usual (TAU) or TAU plus a web-delivered BAI. Assessment of overall mental health functioning, posttraumatic stress disorder, and depression occurred at baseline, three- and six-month post-treatment. Veterans receiving both BAI protocols demonstrated significant improvements in mental health functioning, depressive symptoms, and use of approach coping from baseline to six-month follow-up. No differential treatment effects on these outcomes were observed. Findings are limited by the lack of a no-treatment control group, and the potential impact of regression to the mean and assessment effects on outcomes. Our findings replicate prior studies suggesting that a single-dose BAI may have some secondary mental health benefits for Veterans presenting to primary care with alcohol misuse. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  17. Physical health condition and physical organism readiness levels of sports veteran wrestlers

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Oleksiy Goncharov

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available Purpose: study and an assessment of the physical state of health and the degree of physical fitness of the organism among active veteran wrestlers. Material & Methods: participants: 16 active veteran athletes, 7 of them judoka and 9 sambo wrestlers aged 36–45. Sports qualification of athletes: MS – 10 people, MSIC – 6 people. The stability of the organism to the conditions of hypoxia and hypercapnia was assessed by the results of the Stange and Genci tests. To determine the statistical balancing, the Bondarevsky trial was used. The degree of physical readiness was evaluated by the results of the distance traveled on the treadmill of Kettler, comparing it with the Cooper table. To assess the level of physical state, the formula was used by E. A. Pirogova. Results: investigation determined that the actions of the wrestlers – sports veterans of the body's resistance to the conditions of hypoxia and hypercapnia, as well as the indicator VC indices correspond young people. Indicators of statistical balancing among the acting veterans of judoists and sambo wrestlers corresponded to those of 20–30-year-old people. Level of physical condition (LPC of health in 71,4% of veteran-judoists at the average level and only 28,6% is of a high level. Sambo veterans observed the following: 44,4% of sportsmen of the LPC are above the average; 33,3% have an average level of physical health; in 11,1% of athletes the average LPC and 11,1% of the judo veterans have indicators corresponding to the level below the average. Conclusion: conducted step-by-step medical and pedagogical control allowed to reveal some violations of the adaptive mechanisms of the cardiovascular system, which once again confirms the possibility of using the data of heart rate, blood pressure, Cooper's test for studying and analyzing the physical state of health and the degree of physical preparedness, as well as forecasting the health status of veterans sports.

  18. Evidence of poorer life-course mental health outcomes among veterans of the Korean War cohort.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brooks, Matthew Stephen; Fulton, Lawrence

    2010-03-01

    Comparing the outcomes of veterans who served in Korea and those who served elsewhere, we examined the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), other mental health conditions, psychiatric treatment locations, and six mental health well-being measures. The analytic sample consisted of nationally representative data from the 2001 National Survey of Veterans (NSV). Analyses included multiple logistic regressions that controlled for sociodemographic characteristics. Korean era veterans in the NSV (n = 4030): 1498 served in Korea; 2532 elsewhere during the era. Veterans who served in Korea have notably poorer mental health than those who served elsewhere. These results suggest higher resource needs among aging Korean era veterans. Clinicians, policy makers and the Department of Veterans Affairs should focus on mental health services to older veterans.

  19. Racial and Sociodemographic Disparities in Internet Access and eHealth Intervention Utilization Among Veteran Smokers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Calhoun, Patrick S; Wilson, Sarah M; Hicks, Terrell A; Thomas, Shaun P; Dedert, Eric A; Hair, Lauren P; Bastian, Lori A; Beckham, Jean C

    2016-09-15

    Access to the internet at home may be an important barrier to electronic health (eHealth) smoking cessation interventions. The current study explored possible sociodemographic disparities in access to the internet at home among veteran smokers. Data from participants proactively recruited and enrolled in a randomized smoking cessation effectiveness trial (N = 408) that compared a web-based smoking cessation intervention to Veterans Affairs (VA) usual care were used to examine the demographic attributes of smokers with and without internet access at home. Multivariable logistic regression was used to examine associations between demographic factors and home internet access. Data from patients randomized to the internet arm of the study (N = 205) were used to ascertain correlates of utilization of the intervention website. While the majority of the sample (82 %) endorsed access to the internet at home, veterans who were African-American, older, and not married were significantly less likely to have home internet access. Veterans who were African-American, older, less educated, had longer travel times to the nearest VA facility, and increased nicotine dependence were less likely to access the internet on a daily basis. While several sociodemographic variables (e.g., age, race, education, employment) were related to utilization of a free membership to a commercial, web-based smoking cessation intervention in bivariate analyses, only access to the internet at home was related to use of the smoking cessation site in adjusted results. These results highlight gaps in internet access and use among veterans and additionally underscore the importance of improving accessibility of eHealth interventions for low-income, minority, and socially disadvantaged veteran populations.

  20. Communication and psychological safety in veterans health administration work environments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yanchus, Nancy J; Derickson, Ryan; Moore, Scott C; Bologna, Daniele; Osatuke, Katerine

    2014-01-01

    The purpose of this paper is to explore employee perceptions of communication in psychologically safe and unsafe clinical care environments. Clinical providers at the USA Veterans Health Administration were interviewed as part of planning organizational interventions. They discussed strengths, weaknesses, and desired changes in their workplaces. A subset of respondents also discussed workplace psychological safety (i.e. employee perceptions of being able to speak up or report errors without retaliation or ostracism--Edmondson, 1999). Two trained coders analysed the interview data using a grounded theory-based method. They excerpted passages that discussed job-related communication and summarized specific themes. Subsequent analyses compared frequencies of themes across workgroups defined as having psychologically safe vs unsafe climate based upon an independently administered employee survey. Perceptions of work-related communication differed across clinical provider groups with high vs low psychological safety. The differences in frequencies of communication-related themes across the compared groups matched the expected pattern of problem-laden communication characterizing psychologically unsafe workplaces. Previous research implied the existence of a connection between communication and psychological safety whereas this study offers substantive evidence of it. The paper summarized the differences in perceptions of communication in high vs low psychological safety environments drawing from qualitative data that reflected clinical providers' direct experience on the job. The paper also illustrated the conclusions with multiple specific examples. The findings are informative to health care providers seeking to improve communication within care delivery teams.

  1. Help-Seeking Stigma and Mental Health Treatment Seeking Among Young Adult Veterans

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kulesza, Magdalena; Corrigan, Patrick; Marshall, Grant

    2015-01-01

    Veterans underutilize mental health services. We investigated the association between treatment seeking stigma and utilization of mental health services in a sample of 812 young adult veterans. Higher perceived public stigma of treatment seeking was significantly related to lower treatment utilization. Although many veterans were concerned about negative perceptions if they were to seek treatment, a much smaller number of them endorsed that they would judge a fellow veteran negatively in similar situation. Targeting perceived public stigma of treatment seeking, through perceived norms interventions, might help in narrowing the gap between the need and receipt of help among veterans. PMID:26664795

  2. Access to mental health care among women Veterans: is VA meeting women's needs?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kimerling, Rachel; Pavao, Joanne; Greene, Liberty; Karpenko, Julie; Rodriguez, Allison; Saweikis, Meghan; Washington, Donna L

    2015-04-01

    Patient-centered access to mental health describes the fit between patient needs and resources of the system. To date, little data are available to guide implementation of services to women veterans, an underrepresented minority within Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) health care. The current study examines access to mental health care among women veterans, and identifies gender-related indicators of perceived access to mental health care. A population-based sample of 6287 women veterans using VA primary care services participated in a survey of past year perceived need for mental health care, mental health utilization, and gender-related mental health care experiences. Subjective rating of how well mental health care met their needs was used as an indicator of perceived access. Half of all women reported perceived mental health need; 84.3% of those women received care. Nearly all mental health users (90.9%) used VA services, although only about half (48.8%) reported that their mental health care met their needs completely or very well. Gender related experiences (availability of female providers, women-only treatment settings, women-only treatment groups, and gender-related comfort) were each associated with 2-fold increased odds of perceived access, and associations remained after adjusting for ease of getting care. Women VA users demonstrate very good objective access to mental health services. Desire for, and access to specialized mental health services for women varies across the population and are important aspects of shared decision making in referral and treatment planning for women using VA primary care.

  3. Veterans Health Administration Readmissions and Deaths Data

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Department of Health & Human Services — A list of VHA hospitals with data on readmissions and deaths. These data show how often patients who are hospitalized for certain conditions experience serious...

  4. Veterans Health Administration Patient Safety Indicators Data

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Department of Health & Human Services — A list of VHA hospitals with data on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Patient Safety Indicators (PSIs). These indicators provide information on...

  5. Understanding the health of veterans who are homeless: A review of the literature.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weber, Jillian; Lee, Rebecca C; Martsolf, Donna

    2017-09-01

    The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that almost 50,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. Homeless veterans are at greater risk of health disparities than their housed counterparts due to the multifactorial nature of their health and social needs. The Department of Veterans Affairs, in collaboration with more than a dozen other federal agencies, has concentrated efforts to improve the health of this vulnerable population while enacting a plan to eliminate veteran homelessness within the near future. Understanding the unique health needs of veterans who are homeless allows the profession of nursing to better support these efforts. The purpose of this literature review was to provide comprehensive knowledge to nurses about the health of homeless veterans for their use in clinical practice, research, and in contributing to the positive health outcomes for this vulnerable population. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  6. Applying behavior change theory to technology promoting veteran mental health care seeking.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whealin, Julia M; Kuhn, Eric; Pietrzak, Robert H

    2014-11-01

    Despite the availability of effective mental health interventions, the vast majority of veterans with a mental disorder underutilize psychological services. Contemporary research has revealed that several factors such as low education, stigma, stoicism, lack of knowledge, and negative beliefs about mental health services are associated with veterans' underutilization of services. In this article, the authors provide an overview of factors that affect symptomatic veterans' decisions about whether to seek mental health services. Second, they describe the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980), a useful model for understanding mental health care seeking that can inform the development of technology-based interventions designed to increase veterans' willingness to seek psychological services. Third, the authors describe the development of Considering Professional Help, a personalized web-based tool developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, which has been designed to promote mental health care seeking in veterans with mental health problems. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

  7. Growing Use of Mental and General Health Care Services Among Older Veterans With Mental Illness.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wiechers, Ilse R; Karel, Michele J; Hoff, Rani; Karlin, Bradley E

    2015-11-01

    National data from Veterans Health Administration (VHA) electronic medical records were used to examine rates of mental illness and service use among older veterans since mental health care transformation efforts were implemented in 2005. Data were extracted from VHA electronic medical records for each fiscal year from 2005 through 2013 for veterans ages 65 and older. Among those receiving any health care services, the number and proportion treated for a confirmed mental illness and the utilization of non-mental health care services were identified. In 2013, 2.6 million older veterans utilized services in VHA, 14% of whom had a confirmed mental illness, which was a 57% increase from 2005. Older veterans with confirmed mental illness accounted for a sizable and growing proportion of non-mental health service utilization. Preparing the workforce to address the mental health needs of older veterans and nonveterans is essential.

  8. Predicting Suicide Risk in Trauma Exposed Veterans: The Role of Health Promoting Behaviors.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bryann B DeBeer

    Full Text Available Returning veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan experience high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD and suicidal behavior. Suicidal ideation is among the strongest risk factors for completed suicide. Some research suggests an association between PTSD and suicidal ideation, and that health-promoting behaviors-behaviors that sustain or increase well-being-play a role in this association. The current study examined whether health-promoting behaviors moderate the association between PTSD severity and suicidal ideation.Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF; N = 108 completed measures of PTSD symptoms, trauma exposure, suicidal ideation, and health-promoting behaviors.Moderated regression was used to test the hypothesis. Results indicated that health promoting behaviors, β = -.06, p = .001, and PTSD symptoms, β = .36, p < .001, were significantly related to suicidal ideation. Consistent with our main hypothesis, the health promoting behaviors x PTSD interaction term was significantly associated with suicidal ideation, β = -.09, p = .001. The overall model accounted for 13% of the variance in suicidal ideation. Among individuals with high PTSD symptom severity, those who engaged in more health promoting behaviors reported less suicidal ideation than those who engaged in fewer health promoting behaviors.Health-promoting behaviors could be important for reducing suicidal ideation among veterans with high levels of PTSD symptoms. It is recommended that future research examine health promotion interventions as a means of reducing suicidal ideation.

  9. VA Health Service Utilization for Homeless and Low-income Veterans

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gabrielian, Sonya; Yuan, Anita H.; Andersen, Ronald M.; Rubenstein, Lisa V.; Gelberg, Lillian

    2016-01-01

    Background The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-VA Supportive Housing (VASH) program—the VA’s Housing First effort—is central to efforts to end Veteran homelessness. Yet, little is known about health care utilization patterns associated with achieving HUD-VASH housing. Objectives We compare health service utilization at the VA Greater Los Angeles among: (1) formerly homeless Veterans housed through HUD-VASH (HUD-VASH Veterans); (2) currently homeless Veterans; (3) housed, low-income Veterans not in HUD-VASH; and (4) housed, not low-income Veterans. Research Design We performed a secondary database analysis of Veterans (n = 62,459) who received VA Greater Los Angeles care between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2011. We described medical/surgical and mental health utilization [inpatient, outpatient, and emergency department (ED)]. We controlled for demographics, need, and primary care use in regression analyses of utilization data by housing and income status. Results HUD-VASH Veterans had more inpatient, outpatient, and ED use than currently homeless Veterans. Adjusting for demographics and need, HUD-VASH Veterans and the low-income housed Veterans had similar likelihoods of medical/surgical inpatient and outpatient utilization, compared with the housed, not low-income group. Adjusting first for demographics and need (model 1), then also for primary care use (model 2), HUD-VASH Veterans had the greatest decrease in incident rates of specialty medical/surgical, mental health, and ED care from models 1 to 2, becoming similar to the currently homeless, compared with the housed, not low-income group. Conclusions Our findings suggest that currently homeless Veterans underuse health care relative to housed Veterans. HUD-VASH may address this disparity by providing housing and linkages to primary care. PMID:24714583

  10. How Veterans Health Administration Suicide Prevention Coordinators Assess Suicide Risk.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pease, James L; Forster, Jeri E; Davidson, Collin L; Holliman, Brooke Dorsey; Genco, Emma; Brenner, Lisa A

    2017-03-01

    This cross-sectional study was designed to examine the suicide risk assessment practices of Suicide Prevention Coordinators (SPCs) within the Veterans Health Administration. Specifically, this study sought to (1) identify factors SPCs consider most important in assessing risk and patient priority; (2) measure the level of consistency and agreement between SPCs in assessing suicide risk and prioritizing cases; and (3) measure individual SPC consistency between cases. SPCs (n = 63) responded to online survey questions about imminent and prolonged risk for suicide in response to 30 fictional vignettes. Combinations of 12 acute and chronic suicide risk factors were systematically distributed throughout the 30 vignettes using the Fedorov () procedure. The SPCs were also asked to identify the level of priority for further assessment both disregarding and assuming current caseloads. Data were analysed using clinical judgement analysis. Suicidal plan, β = 1.64; 95% CI (1.45, 1.82), and preparatory behaviour, β = 1.40; 95% CI (1.23, 1.57), were considered the most important acute or imminent risk factors by the SPCs. There was less variability across clinicians in the assessment of risk when alcohol use (p = 0.02) and hopelessness (p = 0.03) were present. When considering acute or imminent risk factors, there was considerable variability between clinicians on a vignette-by-vignette basis, median SD = 0.86 (range = 0.47, 1.13), and within individual clinicians across vignettes, median R2  = 0.80 (0.49, 0.95). These findings provide insight into how this group of providers think about acute and chronic risk factors contributing to imminent suicide risk in Veterans. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Identifies factors that practitioners consider most important in suicide risk assessment Discusses how to distinguish between chronic and acute risk for suicide Identifies factors that lead to more consistent clinical judgments. Copyright

  11. A Prospective Study of Mortality and Trauma-Related Risk Factors Among a Nationally Representative Sample of Vietnam Veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schlenger, William E; Corry, Nida H; Williams, Christianna S; Kulka, Richard A; Mulvaney-Day, Norah; DeBakey, Samar; Murphy, Catherine M; Marmar, Charles R

    2015-12-15

    Because Vietnam veterans comprise the majority of all living veterans and most are now older adults, the urgency and potential value of studying the long-term health effects of service in the Vietnam War, including effects on mortality, is increasing. The present study is the first prospective mortality assessment of a representative sample of Vietnam veterans. We used one of the longest follow-up periods to date (spanning older adulthood) and conducted one of the most comprehensive assessments of potential risk factors. Vital status and cause of death were ascertained for the 1,632 veterans who fought in the Vietnam theater (hereafter referred to as theater veterans) and for 716 Vietnam War-era veterans (hereafter referred to as era veterans) who participated in the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (1987-2011). As of April 2011, 16.0% (95% confidence interval: 13.1, 19.0) of all Vietnam veterans who were alive in the 1980s were deceased. Male theater veterans with a high probability of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were nearly 2 times more likely to have died than were those without PTSD, even after adjustment for sociodemographic and other characteristics. A high level of exposure to war zone stress was independently associated with mortality for both male and female theater veterans after adjustment for sociodemographic characteristics, PTSD, and physical comorbid conditions. Theater veterans with a high level of exposure to war zone stress and a high probability of PTSD had the greatest mortality risk (adjusted hazard ratio = 2.34, 95% confidence interval: 1.24, 4.43). © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  12. Health Care of Homeless Veterans: Why Are Some Individuals Falling Through the Safety Net?

    OpenAIRE

    O'Toole, Thomas P; Conde-Martel, Alicia; Gibbon, Jeanette L; Hanusa, Barbara H; Fine, Michael J

    2003-01-01

    It is important to understand the needs of those veterans who are homeless. We describe characteristics of homeless male veterans and factors associated with needing VA benefits from a two-city, community survey of 531 homeless adults. Overall, 425 were male, of whom 127 were veterans (29.9%). Significantly more veterans had a chronic medical condition and two or more mental health conditions. Only 35.1% identified a community clinic for care compared with 66.8% of non-veterans (P < .01); 47....

  13. Veterans Health Administration: Actions Needed to Better Recruit and Retain Clinical and Administrative Staff

    Science.gov (United States)

    2017-03-22

    VETERANS HEALTH ADMINISTRATION Actions Needed to Better Recruit and Retain Clinical and Administrative Staff Statement of...the Subcommittee on Health, Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, House of Representatives. March 22, 2017 VETERANS HEALTH ADMINISTRATION Actions...Needed to Better Recruit and Retain Clinical and Administrative Staff What GAO Found Challenges in recruiting and retaining both clinical and human

  14. 75 FR 8789 - Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-02-25

    ... AFFAIRS Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting The Department of Veterans Affairs... rural areas. The Committee examines programs and policies that impact the provision of VA health care to... hear from its chairman, the acting director of the VA Office of Rural Health, and the directors of the...

  15. Nicotine Dependence and Its Risk Factors Among Users of Veterans Health Services, 2008-2009

    OpenAIRE

    Tsai, Jack; Edens, Ellen L.; Rosenheck, Robert A.

    2011-01-01

    Introduction Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States and is disproportionately higher among veterans than nonveterans. We examined the prevalence of nicotine dependence and its associated risk factors among veterans who used health services in the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) system. Methods Using a case-control design, we compared all VA health service users in fiscal year 2008-2009 (N = 5,031,381) who received a nicotine dependence diagnosis with...

  16. Determining Types of Health Effects To Persian Gulf Veterans Due To Exposure To Occupational Hazards

    Science.gov (United States)

    1995-12-01

    Appiowed bw pub1be MA DVtbufi Unifted DETERMINING TYPES OF HEALTH EFFECTS TO PERSIAN GULF VETERANS DUE TO EXPOSURE TO OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS THESI S F...9_,* TLE 5. FUNDING NUMBERS DETERMINING TYPES OF HEALTH EFFECTS TO PERSIAN GULF VETERANS DUE TO EXPOSURE TO OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS PE: 62202F WV...PERSIAN GULF VETERANS DUE TO EXPOSURE TO OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS THESIS Rebecca A. Nelson, Captain, USAF AFIT/GEE/ENV/95D Approved for public release

  17. Health of national service veterans: an analysis of a community-based sample using data from the 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey of England.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Woodhead, Charlotte; Rona, Roberto J; Iversen, Amy C; MacManus, Deirdre; Hotopf, Matthew; Dean, Kimberlie; McManus, Sally; Meltzer, Howard; Brugha, Traolach; Jenkins, Rachel; Wessely, Simon; Fear, Nicola T

    2011-07-01

    In the context of increasing concerns for the health of UK armed forces veterans, this study aims to compare the prevalence of current mental, physical and behavioural difficulties in conscripted national service veterans with population controls, and to assess the impact of length of service in the military. The compulsory nature of national service sets these veterans apart from younger veterans. Data are drawn from a nationally representative community-dwelling sample of England. We compared 484 male national service veterans to 301 male non-veterans aged 65+ years. There were no differences in mental, behavioural or physical outcomes, except that veterans were less likely to have "any mental disorder" than non-veterans (age adjusted OR = 0.56, 95% CI 0.31, 0.99). Longer serving veterans were older but were not different in terms of mental, behavioural or physical outcomes. Community-dwelling national service veterans are at no greater risk of current adverse mental, physical or behavioural health than population controls.

  18. When health insurance is not a factor: national comparison of homeless and nonhomeless US veterans who use Veterans Affairs Emergency Departments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsai, Jack; Doran, Kelly M; Rosenheck, Robert A

    2013-12-01

    We examined the proportion of homeless veterans among users of Veterans Affairs (VA) emergency departments (EDs) and compared sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of homeless and nonhomeless VA emergency department users nationally. We used national VA administrative data from fiscal year 2010 for a cross-sectional study comparing homeless (n = 64,091) and nonhomeless (n = 866,621) ED users on sociodemographics, medical and psychiatric diagnoses, and other clinical characteristics. Homeless veterans had 4 times the odds of using EDs than nonhomeless veterans. Multivariate analyses found few differences between homeless and nonhomeless ED users on the medical conditions examined, but homeless ED users were more likely to have been diagnosed with a drug use disorder (odds ratio [OR] = 4.12; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.97, 4.27), alcohol use disorder (OR = 3.67; 95% CI = 3.55, 3.79), or schizophrenia (OR = 3.44; 95% CI = 3.25, 3.64) in the past year. In a national integrated health care system with no specific requirements for health insurance, the major differences found between homeless and nonhomeless ED users were high rates of psychiatric and substance abuse diagnoses. EDs may be an important location for specialized homeless outreach (or "in" reach) services to address mental health and addictive disorders.

  19. Barriers and Health Beliefs Related to Weight Management Among Veterans With Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Munro, Shannon; Dinatale, Emily; Hartley, Sarah; St Jacques, Monica; Oursler, Kris Ann

    2017-01-01

    The success of antiretroviral therapy has led to dramatic changes in causes of morbidity and mortality among U.S. Veterans with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Among the 25,000 Veterans treated for HIV, 70% are over age 50 and the rate of obesity has doubled in this population. Veterans with HIV have a 50% increased risk of myocardial infarction yet have limited presence in prevention-related programs designed to lower cardiovascular disease risk. This mixed methods study (focus groups, Schwarzer and Renner physical activity, and nutrition self-efficacy questionnaires) was used to explore factors related to health behavior and identify barriers that overweight Veterans with HIV face in enrolling in the MOVE weight management program. Institutional review board approval was granted before the start of the study. All participants were recruited from the Infectious Disease clinic if they met national inclusion criteria for the MOVE weight management program and had not previously participated in the program. Transcribed audio recordings were independently analyzed and coded by four of the researchers using an exploratory process to obtain consensus regarding themes. An interrater reliability analysis for the Kappa statistic was performed to determine consistency among raters. The relationship between physical activity self-efficacy scores and nutrition self-efficacy scores was tested using Spearman's correlation coefficient. The median age of the sample was 56 with high rates of diabetes (36%), hypertension (73%), hyperlipidemia (36%), and tobacco use history (82%). External barriers to participation were discussed in addition to 8 other themes, which influence treatment engagement for Veterans with obesity and HIV including adaptation, stigma, self-management, and support. Veterans held strong beliefs about responsibility and commitment to their health and wanted to assume an active and informed role in their health care. Veterans with high levels of perceived

  20. Spousal labor market effects from government health insurance: Evidence from a veterans affairs expansion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boyle, Melissa A; Lahey, Joanna N

    2016-01-01

    Measuring the total impact of health insurance receipt on household labor supply is important in an era of increased access to publicly provided and subsidized insurance. Although government expansion of health insurance to older workers leads to direct labor supply reductions for recipients, there may be spillover effects on the labor supply of uncovered spouses. While the most basic model predicts a decrease in overall household work hours, financial incentives such as credit constraints, target income levels, and the need for own health insurance suggest that spousal labor supply might increase. In contrast, complementarities of spousal leisure would predict a decrease in labor supply for both spouses. Utilizing a mid-1990s expansion of health insurance for U.S. veterans, we provide evidence on the effects of public insurance availability on the labor supply of spouses. Using data from the Current Population Survey and Health and Retirement Study, we employ a difference-in-differences strategy to compare the labor market behavior of the wives of older male veterans and non-veterans before and after the VA health benefits expansion. Although husbands' labor supply decreases, wives' labor supply increases, suggesting that financial incentives dominate complementarities of spousal leisure. This effect is strongest for wives with lower education levels and lower levels of household wealth and those who were not previously employed full-time. These findings have implications for government programs such as Medicare and Social Security and the Affordable Care Act. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  1. Induced abortion among women veterans: data from the ECUUN study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwarz, Eleanor Bimla; Sileanu, Florentina E; Zhao, Xinhua; Mor, Maria K; Callegari, Lisa S; Borrero, Sonya

    2018-01-01

    We compared rates of induced abortion among women veterans receiving Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare to rates in the general US population, as current policy prohibits VA provision of abortion counseling or services even when pregnancy endangers a veteran's life. We analyzed data from 2298 women veterans younger than 45 years who completed a telephone-based, cross-sectional survey of randomly sampled English-speaking women from across the United States who had received VA healthcare. We compared lifetime, last-5-year and last-year rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion among participants to age-matched data from the National Survey of Family Growth. As few abortions were reported in the last year, we used multivariable logistic regression to examine associations between abortion in the last 5 years and age, race/ethnicity, income, education, religion, marital status, parity, geography, deployment history, housing instability, and past medical and mental health among VA patients. Women veterans were more likely than matched US women to report ever having an abortion [17.7%, 95% confidence interval (CI): 16.1%-19.3% vs. 15.2% of US women]. In the last 5 years, unintended pregnancy and abortion were reported by veterans at rates similar to US women. In multivariable models, VA patients were more likely to report abortion in the last 5 years if their annual income was less than $40,000 (adjusted odds ratio (OR) 2.95, 95% CI 1.30-6.70), they had experienced homelessness or housing instability (adjusted OR 1.91, 95% CI 1.01-3.62), they were single (adj. OR 2.46, 95% CI 1.23-4.91) and/or they had given birth (adjusted OR 2.29, 95% CI 1.19-4.40). Women veterans face unintended pregnancy and seek abortion as often as the larger US population. The Veterans Health Care Act, which prohibits provision of abortion services, increases vulnerable veterans' out-of-pocket healthcare costs and limits veterans' reproductive freedom. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  2. Chronic Pain Treatment and Health Service Utilization of Veterans with Hepatitis C Virus Infection

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lovejoy, Travis I.; Dobscha, Steven K.; Cavanagh, Renee; Turk, Dennis C.; Morasco, Benjamin J.

    2012-01-01

    Objectives Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is estimated to affect 2% of the general U.S. population and chronic pain is a common comorbidity among persons with HCV. The primary purpose of this study was to compare health service utilization of U.S. military veterans with HCV with and without the presence of comorbid chronic pain. Design Cross-sectional study with retrospective review of patient medical records. Patients One hundred seventy-one U.S. military veterans with confirmed HCV, recruited through a single U.S. Veterans Administration hospital. Outcome Measures Medical service utilization data from the past five years were extracted from participants’ electronic medical records. Results Sixty-four percent of veterans with HCV (n = 110) had chronic pain. Veterans with HCV and chronic pain utilized more health services including total inpatient stays (OR = 2.58 [1.46, 4.56]) and days hospitalized for psychiatric services (OR = 5.50 [3.37, 8.99]), compared to participants with HCV and no chronic pain, after statistically adjusting for demographic, psychiatric, substance use, medical comorbidity, and disability covariates. In addition, those with HCV and chronic pain had more total outpatient visits with primary care providers (OR = 1.73 [1.15, 2.59]), physical therapists (OR = 9.57 [4.79, 19.11]), and occupational therapists (OR = 2.72 [1.00, 7.48]). Conclusions Patients with HCV and chronic pain utilize medical services to a greater extent than patients with HCV but no chronic pain. Future studies that examine the efficacy of both pharmacological and nonpharmacological pain treatment for patients with comorbid HCV and chronic pain appear warranted. PMID:22958315

  3. Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) no-health period extension. Final rule.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-11-01

    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is issuing this final rule that amends the regulations governing eligibility for Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) to extend to 240 days the current 120-day "no-health" period during which veterans can apply for VGLI without proving that they are in good health for insurance purposes. The purpose of this rule is to increase the opportunities for disabled veterans to enroll in VGLI, some of whom would not qualify for VGLI coverage under existing provisions. This document adopts as a final rule, without change, the proposed rule published in the Federal Register on June 25, 2012.

  4. Trauma-informed care: keeping mental health settings safe for veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kelly, Ursula; Boyd, Mary Ann; Valente, Sharon M; Czekanski, Elizabeth

    2014-06-01

    Veterans, as military personnel returning from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, are frequently coping with various mental health problems. These veterans are at high risk for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and associated behavioral consequences, including self-harm, verbal and physical aggression, and violence. In this article, we highlight the physiological, physical, and emotional consequences of trauma. We focus on the unique experiences that affect veterans' mental health and associated behaviors and advocate for veterans to receive evidenced-based treatment using trauma-informed and recovery-oriented care.

  5. 78 FR 73926 - Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-12-09

    ... AFFAIRS Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting The Department of Veterans Affairs... Health Advisory Committee will hold a meeting on January 14-15, 2014, in Room 1G12, Building 1, at the George E. Whalen VA Medical Center (VAMC), 500 Foothill Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m...

  6. 77 FR 66069 - Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) No-Health Period Extension

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-11-01

    ..., particularly disabled veterans who may not qualify for private life insurance due to their disabilities. In... AFFAIRS 38 CFR Part 9 RIN 2900-AO24 Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) No-Health Period Extension... Life Insurance (VGLI) to extend to 240 days the current 120-day ``no-health'' period during which...

  7. Perspectives on Sexual Health and Function of Recent Male Combat Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Helmer, Drew A; Beaulieu, Gregory; Powers, Catherine; Houlette, Cheryl; Latini, David; Kauth, Michael

    2015-09-01

    U.S. veterans of recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may be at greater risk for sexual dysfunction due to injuries, mental health conditions, medications used to treat those conditions, and psychosocial factors. To explore the perceptions of recent Veterans about sexual health and dysfunction, contributing factors, its impact and solutions. Qualitative study. Eight men who screened positive for sexual dysfunction at initial presentation to a postdeployment clinic at a Veterans Affairs medical center. Patients who screened positive for sexual dysfunction and indicated an interest in participating were contacted and scheduled for an in-person private interview with a researcher. Interviews were semistructured, utilizing open-ended and follow-up probe questions to elicit the individual's perspective about sexual dysfunction and its cause, impact and solutions. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and analyzed for themes. These heterosexual men discussed a range of sexual dysfunction in their activities including lack of desire, erectile dysfunction, delayed orgasm, premature ejaculation, and distraction. They also discussed the importance of setting or context and changes over time to their sexual health and function. The men shared their ideas about contributory factors, including normal aging, medication side effects, injury and a possible role for combat deployment more generally. Reported solutions for sexual dysfunction included medications, herbal remedies, and new positions and approaches to sexual activity. Participants reported discussing sexual dysfunction with their health-care providers and what was helpful. Finally, the men expressed in their own words the significant impact of sexual dysfunction on their self-perception, their partners, and their relationships. Sexual dysfunction in recent combat veterans can have important negative effects on their health and relationships. Our findings elucidate perceived contributory factors and preferred solutions

  8. Understanding Barriers to Mental Health Care for Recent War Veterans Through Photovoice.

    Science.gov (United States)

    True, Gala; Rigg, Khary K; Butler, Anneliese

    2015-10-01

    Despite an urgent need for mental health care among U.S. service members returning from deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, many veterans do not receive timely or adequate treatment. We used photovoice methods to engage veterans in identifying barriers to utilizing mental health services. Veterans described how key aspects of military culture and identity, highly adaptive during deployment, can deter help-seeking behavior and hinder recovery. Veterans' photographs highlighted how mental health symptoms and self-coping strategies operated as barriers to care. Many veterans' photos and stories revealed how negative health care encounters contributed to avoidance and abandonment of treatment; some veterans described these experiences as re-traumatizing. Visual methods can be a powerful tool for engaging recent war veterans in research. In particular, community-based participatory research approaches, which have rarely been used with veterans, hold great promise for informing effective interventions to improve access and enhance provision of patient-centered care for veterans. © The Author(s) 2014.

  9. Mental health outreach and screening among returning veterans: are we asking the right questions?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bloeser, Katharine; McCarron, Kelly K; Batorsky, Benjamin; Reinhard, Matthew J; Pollack, Stanley J; Amdur, Richard

    2014-01-01

    This study looked at predictors of mental health treatment utilization in a unique cohort of recently separated Veterans coming to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) (N=152). This convenience sample voluntarily completed questionnaires, which included mental health screening tools, during an outreach event at a large urban VA Medical Center. Researchers reviewed computerized medical records of these consenting participants to record VA treatment utilization. There is a statistically significant association between posttraumatic stress disorder screening results, functional impairment, and treatment-seeking. Certain functional impairments increase the odds of participation in VA mental health care. These include problems with school and/or work (odds ratio (OR)=2.8), physical fights (OR=2.8), physical health problems (OR=3.0), financial difficulties (OR=3.0), irritability/anger (OR=3.4), isolation (OR=3.8), drug use (OR=5.7), and problems with social support (OR=7.0). This study concluded that asking about symptoms alone may not capture the breadth and nature of Veterans' postdeployment difficulties.

  10. Differences in Active and Passive Smoking Exposures and Lung Cancer Incidence Between Veterans and Non-Veterans in the Women's Health Initiative.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bastian, Lori A; Gray, Kristen E; DeRycke, Eric; Mirza, Shireen; Gierisch, Jennifer M; Haskell, Sally G; Magruder, Kathryn M; Wakelee, Heather A; Wang, Ange; Ho, Gloria Y F; LaCroix, Andrea Z

    2016-02-01

    Women Veterans may have higher rates of both active and passive tobacco exposure than their civilian counterparts, thereby increasing their risk for lung cancer. To compare differences in active and passive smoking exposure and lung cancer incidence among women Veterans and non-Veterans using prospective data from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI). We used data from the WHI, which collected longitudinal demographic, clinical, and laboratory data on 161,808 postmenopausal women. We employed linear and multinomial regression and generalized linear models to compare active and passive smoking exposure between Veterans and non-Veterans and Cox proportional hazards models to estimate differences in lung cancer incidence rates. After adjustment, Veterans had 2.54 additional pack years of smoking compared with non-Veterans (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.68, 3.40). Veterans also had a 1% increase in risk of any passive smoking exposure (95% CI 1.00, 1.02) and a 9% increase in risk of any workplace exposure (95% CI 1.07, 1.11) compared with non-Veterans. After adjustment for age and smoking exposures, Veterans did not have a higher risk of lung cancer compared with non-Veterans (relative risk = 1.06 95% CI 0.86, 1.30). Women Veterans had higher rates of tobacco use and exposure to passive smoking, which were associated with a higher risk for lung cancer compared with non-Veterans. Clinicians who care for Veterans need to be aware that older women Veterans have more exposures to risk factors for lung cancer. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Gerontological Society of America 2016.

  11. Mortality patterns among women Vietnam-era veterans: results of a retrospective cohort study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cypel, Yasmin; Kang, Han

    2008-03-01

    This research compiled and analyzed the data of two cohorts of women veterans who either served in Vietnam ("Vietnam veteran" cohort, n = 4586) or served elsewhere during the Vietnam War ("non-Vietnam veteran" cohort, n = 5325). All cause and cause-specific mortality were compared between Vietnam and non-Vietnam veteran cohorts, to the U.S. population, and to earlier research. Similar analyses were performed for nurses only. Vital status was determined through December 31, 2004, using primarily the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs beneficiary file and the Social Security Administration Death Master File. Selected data were submitted to the National Center for Health Statistics for merging with the National Death Index to obtain cause of death. Cox proportional hazard analysis modeling was used to obtain adjusted relative risks (ARR). SEER( *)Stat software was used to compute standardized mortality ratios (SMR) for comparisons to the U.S. population. Women Vietnam veterans showed a significant deficit (ARR = 0.78, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.62-0.98) in circulatory system disease relative to non-Vietnam veterans, but significant deficits also were observed when the Vietnam and non-Vietnam cohorts were each compared with women in the U.S. population (SMR = 0.65, 95% CI 0.54-0.77; SMR=0.82, 95% CI 0.73-0.93, respectively). Vietnam veterans had significantly lower mortality than women in the U.S. population for all causes (SMR = 0.87, 95% CI 0.80-0.94). Vietnam veterans were at significantly greater risk of mortality from motor vehicle accidents than non-Vietnam veterans (ARR = 2.60, 95% CI 1.22-5.55) and this appeared to be specific to service in Vietnam based on comparisons to the U.S. population. Patterns did not differ greatly for the analysis on nurse veterans or to earlier mortality studies of these cohorts. Mortality from motor vehicle accidents was significantly associated with service in Vietnam. Mortality patterns generally resembled those reported on

  12. Are There Spillover Effects from the GI Bill? The Mental Health of Wives of Korean War Veterans.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anusha M Vable

    Full Text Available The Korean War GI Bill provided economic benefits for veterans, thereby potentially improving their health outcomes. However potential spillover effects on veteran wives have not been evaluated.Data from wives of veterans eligible for the Korean War GI Bill (N = 128 and wives of non-veterans (N = 224 from the Health and Retirement Study were matched on race and coarsened birth year and childhood health using coarsened exact matching. Number of depressive symptoms in 2010 (average age = 78 were assessed using a modified, validated Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale. Regression analyses were stratified into low (mother < 8 years schooling / missing data, N = 95 or high (mother ≥ 8 years schooling, N = 257 childhood socio-economic status (cSES groups, and were adjusted for birth year and childhood health, as well as respondent's educational attainment in a subset of analyses.Husband's Korean War GI Bill eligibility did not predict depressive symptoms among veteran wives in pooled analysis or cSES stratified analyses; analyses in the low cSES subgroup were underpowered (N = 95, β = -0.50, 95% Confidence Interval: (-1.35, 0.35, p = 0.248, power = 0.28.We found no evidence of a relationship between husband's Korean War GI Bill eligibility and wives' mental health in these data, however there may be a true effect that our analysis was underpowered to detect.

  13. [Complex estimation of the state of health, quality of life, level of psychological adaptation and rates of senescence of war veterans, suffering from arterial hypertension].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zakharova, N O; Iakovlev, O G; Treneva, E V

    2014-01-01

    The article presents some aspects of the health status of the veterans of the Samara region. Intercommunication is marked between the level of social adaptation, quality of life and rate aging combatants. The study shows the effect of chronic posttraumatic stress disorder on the occurrence of psychosomatic pathology and development of senescence combat veterans suffering from arterial hypertension.

  14. The Association of Sleep Duration, Mental Health, and Health Risk Behaviors among U.S. Afghanistan/Iraq Era Veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Swinkels, Cindy M; Ulmer, Christi S; Beckham, Jean C; Buse, Natalie; Calhoun, Patrick S

    2013-07-01

    Short and long sleep duration have been linked with higher rates of comorbid medical and mental health issues, as well as increased mortality. The current study examined the association between sleep duration, mental health problems, and health risk behaviors in a large sample of U.S. Afghanistan/Iraq era veterans. NA. Mid-Atlantic VA Medical Center(s). The sample (N = 1,640) included 20% women (n = 333) and had an average age of 37 years (SD = 10.0). NA. Results from logistic regression analyses that included age, minority status, gender, military rank, number of deployments, combat exposure, and health risk behaviors as covariates indicated that very short sleep duration (≤ 5 h of sleep) and long sleep duration (≥ 9 h) were each associated with increased odds of current post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder (MDD), and smoking; while poor sleep quality was associated with PTSD, panic disorder (PD), MDD, suicidal ideation (SI), and risky drinking. Sleep duration may be an important marker for psychiatric and health risk behavior problems, and our results suggest that clinical assessment of sleep disturbance in this veteran group is warranted to assess for both short and long sleep. Swinkels CM; Ulmer CS; Beckam JC; Buse N; the VA Mid-Atlantic MIRECC Registry Workgroup; Calhoun PS. The association of sleep duration, mental health, and health risk behaviors among U.S. Afghanistan/Iraq era veterans. SLEEP 2013;36(7):1019-1025.

  15. Experience of the Veterans Health Administration in Massachusetts after state health care reform.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chan, Stephanie H; Burgess, James F; Clark, Jack A; Mayo-Smith, Michael F

    2014-11-01

    Starting in 2006, Massachusetts enacted a series of health insurance reforms that successfully led to 96.6% of its population being covered by 2011. As the rest of the nation undertakes similar reforms, it is unknown how the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), one of many important Federal health care programs, will be affected. Our state-level study approach assessed the effects of health reform on utilization of VHA services in Massachusetts from 2005 to 2011. Models were adjusted for state-level demographic and economic characteristics, including health insurance rates, unemployment rates, median household income, poverty rates, and percent of population 65 years and older. No statistically significant associative change was observed in Massachusetts relative to other states over this time period. The findings raise important questions about the continuing role of VHA in American health care as health insurance coverage is one of many factors that influence decisions on where to seek health care. Reprint & Copyright © 2014 Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S.

  16. Meta-analysis of self-reported health symptoms in 1990-1991 Gulf War and Gulf War-era veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maule, Alexis L; Janulewicz, Patricia A; Sullivan, Kimberly A; Krengel, Maxine H; Yee, Megan K; McClean, Michael; White, Roberta F

    2018-02-13

    Across diverse groups of Gulf War (GW) veterans, reports of musculoskeletal pain, cognitive dysfunction, unexplained fatigue, chronic diarrhoea, rashes and respiratory problems are common. GW illness is a condition resulting from GW service in veterans who report a combination of these symptoms. This study integrated the GW literature using meta-analytical methods to characterise the most frequently reported symptoms occurring among veterans who deployed to the 1990-1991 GW and to better understand the magnitude of ill health among GW-deployed veterans compared with non-deployed GW-era veterans. Meta-analysis. Literature databases were searched for peer-reviewed studies published from January 1990 to May 2017 reporting health symptom frequencies in GW-deployed veterans and GW-era control veterans. Self-reported health symptom data were extracted from 21 published studies. A binomial-normal meta-analytical model was used to determine pooled prevalence of individual symptoms in GW-deployed veterans and GW-era control veterans and to calculate combined ORs of health symptoms comparing GW-deployed veterans and GW-era control veterans. GW-deployed veterans had higher odds of reporting all 56 analysed symptoms compared with GW-era controls. Odds of reporting irritability (OR 3.21, 95% CI 2.28 to 4.52), feeling detached (OR 3.59, 95% CI 1.83 to 7.03), muscle weakness (OR 3.19, 95% CI 2.73 to 3.74), diarrhoea (OR 3.24, 95% CI 2.51 to 4.17) and rash (OR 3.18, 95% CI 2.47 to 4.09) were more than three times higher among GW-deployed veterans compared with GW-era controls. The higher odds of reporting mood-cognition, fatigue, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal and dermatological symptoms among GW-deployed veterans compared with GW-era controls indicates these symptoms are important when assessing GW veteran health status. © Article author(s) (or their employer(s) unless otherwise stated in the text of the article) 2018. All rights reserved. No commercial use is

  17. Are There Spillover Effects from the GI Bill? The Mental Health of Wives of Korean War Veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vable, Anusha M; Kawachi, Ichiro; Canning, David; Glymour, M Maria; Jimenez, Marcia P; Subramanian, S V

    2016-01-01

    The Korean War GI Bill provided economic benefits for veterans, thereby potentially improving their health outcomes. However potential spillover effects on veteran wives have not been evaluated. Data from wives of veterans eligible for the Korean War GI Bill (N = 128) and wives of non-veterans (N = 224) from the Health and Retirement Study were matched on race and coarsened birth year and childhood health using coarsened exact matching. Number of depressive symptoms in 2010 (average age = 78) were assessed using a modified, validated Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale. Regression analyses were stratified into low (mother Korean War GI Bill eligibility did not predict depressive symptoms among veteran wives in pooled analysis or cSES stratified analyses; analyses in the low cSES subgroup were underpowered (N = 95, β = -0.50, 95% Confidence Interval: (-1.35, 0.35), p = 0.248, power = 0.28). We found no evidence of a relationship between husband's Korean War GI Bill eligibility and wives' mental health in these data, however there may be a true effect that our analysis was underpowered to detect.

  18. The Veterans Health Administration’s Treatment of PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury Among Recent Combat Veterans

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-02-01

    mitigate effects of unrepresentative samples may not be wholly successful. Because of those factors, the samples analyzed may either understate or...VHA’s Health Care Provided to OCO Polytrauma Patients 22D-1. Sample Sizes 38D-2. Alternative Calculation of Average Costs for All of VHA’s Health Care...and the subgroups they sample . The percentage of OCO veterans whom VHA clinicians have diagnosed with PTSD (26 percent) is at the top of the range

  19. Delivery of mental health treatment to combat veterans with psychiatric diagnoses and TBI histories.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shannon R Miles

    Full Text Available Traumatic brain injury (TBI and mental health (MH disorders are prevalent in combat veterans returning from Afghanistan and/or Iraq (hereafter referred to as returning veterans. Accurate estimates of service utilization for veterans with and without TBI exposure (referred to as TBI history are imperative in order to provide high quality healthcare to returning veterans. We examined associations between TBI history and MH service utilization in a subsample of returning veterans who were newly diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD, depression, and/or anxiety in the 2010 fiscal year (N = 55,458. Data were extracted from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA National Patient Care Database. Veterans with MH diagnoses and TBI histories attended significantly more psychotherapy visits, (M = 8.32 visits, SD = 17.15 and were more likely to attend at least 8 psychotherapy visits, (15.7% than veterans with MH diagnoses but no TBI history (M = 6.48 visits, SD = 12.12; 10.1% attended at least 8 sessions. PTSD and TBI history, but not depression or anxiety, were associated with a greater number of psychotherapy visits when controlling for demographic and clinical variables. PTSD, anxiety, depression, and TBI history were associated with number of psychotropic medication-management visits. TBI history was related to greater MH service utilization, independent of MH diagnoses. Future research should examine what MH services are being utilized and if these services are helping veterans recover from their disorders.

  20. Personal, Medical, and Healthcare Utilization Among Homeless Veterans Served by Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Veteran Facilities

    OpenAIRE

    Gordon, Adam J.; Haas, Gretchen L.; Luther, James F.; Hilton, Michael T.; Goldstein, Gerald

    2010-01-01

    This study assessed differences in personal, medical, and health care utilization characteristics of homeless veterans living in metropolitan versus nonmetropolitan environments. Data were obtained from a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) network sample of homeless veterans. Chi-square tests were used to assess differences in demographics, military history, living situation, medical history, employment status, and health care utilization. Moderator analyses determined whether predictors of...

  1. Rapid HIV testing experience at Veterans Affairs North Texas Health Care System's Homeless Stand Downs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hooshyar, Dina; Surís, Alina M; Czarnogorski, Maggie; Lepage, James P; Bedimo, Roger; North, Carol S

    2014-01-01

    In the USA, 21% of the estimated 1.1 million people living with human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) are unaware they are HIV-infected. In 2011, Veterans Health Administration (VHA)'s Office of Public Health in conjunction with VHA's Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program funded grants to support rapid HIV testing at homeless outreach events because homeless populations are more likely to obtain emergent rather than preventive care and have a higher HIV seroprevalence as compared to the general population. Because of a Veterans Affairs North Texas Health Care System (VANTHCS)'s laboratory testing requirement, VANTHCS partnered with community agencies to offer rapid HIV testing for the first time at VANTHCS' 2011 Homeless Stand Downs in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Texoma, Texas. Homeless Stand Downs are outreach events that connect Veterans with services. Veterans who declined testing were asked their reasons for declining. Comparisons by Homeless Stand Down site used Pearson χ², substituting Fisher's Exact tests for expected cell sizes Veterans attending the Homeless Stand Downs, 261 Veterans reported reasons for declining HIV testing, and 133 Veterans were tested, where 92% of the tested Veterans obtained their test results at the events - all tested negative. Veterans' reported reasons for declining HIV testing included previous negative result (n=168), no time to test (n=49), no risk factors (n=36), testing is not a priority (n=11), uninterested in knowing serostatus (n=6), and HIV-infected (n=3). Only "no time to test" differed significantly by Homeless Stand Down site. Nonresponse rate was 54%. Offering rapid HIV testing at Homeless Stand Downs is a promising testing venue since 15% of Veterans attending VANTHCS' Homeless Stand Downs were tested for HIV, and majority obtained their HIV test results at point-of-care while further research is needed to determine how to improve these rates.

  2. Validating Domains of Patient Contextual Factors Essential to Preventing Contextual Errors: A Qualitative Study Conducted at Chicago Area Veterans Health Administration Sites.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Binns-Calvey, Amy E; Malhiot, Alex; Kostovich, Carol T; LaVela, Sherri L; Stroupe, Kevin; Gerber, Ben S; Burkhart, Lisa; Weiner, Saul J; Weaver, Frances M

    2017-09-01

    "Patient context" indicates patient circumstances and characteristics or states that are essential to address when planning patient care. Specific patient "contextual factors," if overlooked, result in an inappropriate plan of care, a medical error termed a "contextual error." The myriad contextual factors that constitute patient context have been grouped into broad domains to create a taxonomy of challenges to consider when planning care. This study sought to validate a previously identified list of contextual domains. This qualitative study used directed content analysis. In 2014, 19 Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) providers (84% female) and 49 patients (86% male) from two VA medical centers and four outpatient clinics in the Chicago area participated in semistructured interviews and focus groups. Topics included patient-specific, community, and resource-related factors that affect patients' abilities to manage their care. Transcripts were analyzed with a previously identified list of contextual domains as a framework. Analysis of responses revealed that patients and providers identified the same 10 domains previously published, plus 3 additional ones. Based on comments made by patients and providers, the authors created a revised list of 12 domains from themes that emerged. Six pertain to patient circumstances such as access to care and financial situation, and 6 to patient characteristics/states including skills, abilities, and knowledge. Contextual factors in patients' lives may be essential to address for effective care planning. The rubric developed can serve as a "contextual differential" for clinicians to consider when addressing challenges patients face when planning their care.

  3. The physical and mental health of Australian Vietnam veterans 3 decades after the war and its relation to military service, combat, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Toole, Brian I; Catts, Stanley V; Outram, Sue; Pierse, Katherine R; Cockburn, Jill

    2009-08-01

    The long-term health consequences of war service remain unclear, despite burgeoning scientific interest. A longitudinal cohort study of a random sample of Australian Vietnam veterans was designed to assess veterans' postwar physical and mental health 36 years after the war (2005-2006) and to examine its relation to Army service, combat, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) assessed 14 years previously (1990-1993). Prevalences in veterans (n = 450) were compared with those in the Australian general population. Veterans' Army service and data from the first assessments were evaluated using multivariate logistic regression prediction modeling. Veterans' general health and some health risk factors were poorer and medical consultation rates were higher than Australian population expectations. Of 67 long-term conditions, the prevalences of 47 were higher and the prevalences of 4 were lower when compared with population expectations. Half of all veterans took some form of medication for mental well-being. The prevalence of psychiatric diagnoses exceeded Australian population expectations. Military and war service characteristics and age were the most frequent predictors of physical health endpoints, while PTSD was most strongly associated with psychiatric diagnoses. Draftees had better physical health than regular enlistees but no better mental health. Army service and war-related PTSD are associated with risk of illness in later life among Australian Vietnam veterans.

  4. Fit to Serve? Exploring Mental and Physical Health and Well-Being Among Transgender Active-Duty Service Members and Veterans in the U.S. Military

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hill, Brandon J.; Bouris, Alida; Barnett, Joshua Trey; Walker, Dayna

    2016-01-01

    Abstract Purpose: Although transgender people are currently excluded from enlistment and discharged from service based on medical and psychological fitness policies, the current mental and physical health of transgender active-duty U.S. military personnel and veterans is poorly understood. The purpose of the current study was to investigate the military histories, lifetime mental and physical health diagnoses, and transgender transition-related health of transgender active-duty service members (ADSM) and veterans. Methods: Participants were recruited through private LGBT military and veteran organizational listservs, snowball sampling, and in-person recruitment to complete an anonymous and confidential self-administered online questionnaire. Results: A total of 106 transgender ADSM (n=55) and veterans (n=51) completed the questionnaire. Transgender veterans were significantly older (44 mean years vs. 29.5 mean years, t=−6.23, ptransgender transition-related health. Conclusion: Our data represent the first descriptive statistics of lifetime mental and physical health issues among transgender ADSM and veterans. Data indicate that transgender ADSM report fewer lifetime mental and physical health problems than transgender veterans. Taken together, our findings suggest that more research, specifically among transgender ADSM, is needed to challenge the exclusion of transgender persons from U.S. military service based on the presumption of poor mental or physical health. PMID:29159293

  5. Suicides among Serbian war veterans: An autopsy study

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mihailović Zoran

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Introduction. The risk of suicide among war veterans is a controversial issue, where findings so far have been contradictory. Objective. This study focusses on suicide in Serbian veterans from the wars in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s in order to create appropriate preventive measures and reduce the number of these fatal cases. Methods. The autopsy protocols of all 44 suicides committed by war veterans in the Belgrade District population over a period between 1992 and 2000 were investigated. Data were obtained from autopsy records, results of toxicological investigations and psychological autopsy protocols. Results. Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder were present in 27.3%, major depression in 9.1% and schizophrenia in 6.8% of veterans. The majority of suicides (84.1% were committed by recruits in the Yugoslav National Army, spending between three and eight months in the zone of war operations. Six committed suicide during the first 30 days after their war activities, while the majority of suicides occurred between five and six years after combat. The most frequent manner of suicide was the use of handguns (56.8% and bombs (18.2%. Conclusion. The results of this research may give useful information about the individuals with the highest suicidal risk in order to alleviate the consequences of war psychotraumas in veterans and prevent their growth into a permanent handicap or suicide. [Projekat Ministarstva nauke Republike Srbije, br. OI 175093

  6. The National Veteran Sleep Disorder Study: Descriptive Epidemiology and Secular Trends, 2000–2010

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alexander, Melannie; Ray, Meredith A.; Hébert, James R.; Youngstedt, Shawn D.; Zhang, Hongmei; Steck, Susan E.; Bogan, Richard K.; Burch, James B.

    2016-01-01

    Study Objectives: A large proportion of individuals affected by sleep disorders are untreated and susceptible to accidents, injuries, long-term sequelae (e.g., risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, psychiatric disorders), and increased mortality risk. Few studies have examined the scope and magnitude of sleep disorder diagnoses in the United States (US) or factors influencing them. Veterans are particularly vulnerable to factors that elicit or exacerbate sleep disorders. Methods: This serial cross-sectional study characterized secular trends in diagnosed sleep disorders among veterans seeking care in US Veterans Health Administration facilities over an eleven-year span (FY2000–2010, n = 9,786,778). Electronic medical records from the national Veterans Administration Informatics and Computing Infrastructure database were accessed. Cases were defined using diagnostic codes specified by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Age-adjusted annual prevalence was summarized by sex, race, combat exposure, body mass index, and comorbid diagnoses (cardiovascular disease, cancer, mental disorders). Results: Sleep apnea (47%) and insomnia (26%) were the most common diagnoses among patients with any sleep disorder. There was a six-fold relative increase in total sleep disorder prevalence over the study period. Posttraumatic stress disorder, which tripled over the same time period, was associated with the highest prevalence of sleep disorders (16%) among the comorbid conditions evaluated. Conclusions: The results indicate a growing need for integration of sleep disorder management with patient care and health care planning among US veterans. Commentary: A commentary on this article appears in this issue on page 1331. Citation: Alexander M, Ray MA, Hébert JR, Youngstedt SD, Zhang H, Steck SE, Bogan RK, Burch JB. The National Veteran Sleep Disorder Study: descriptive epidemiology and secular trends, 2000–2010. SLEEP 2016;39(7):1399–1410. PMID:27091538

  7. Military and mental health correlates of unemployment in a national sample of women veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hamilton, Alison B; Williams, Lindsay; Washington, Donna L

    2015-04-01

    The unemployment rate is currently higher among women Veterans than among male Veterans and civilian women. Employment is a key social determinant of health, with unemployment being strongly associated with adverse health. To identify military-related and health-related characteristics associated with unemployment in women Veterans. Secondary analysis of workforce participants (n=1605) in the National Survey of Women Veterans telephone survey. Demographics, mental health conditions, health care utilization, and military experiences and effects. Unemployment was defined as being in the labor force but unemployed and looking for work. The χ analyses to identify characteristics of unemployed women Veterans; logistic regression to identify independent factors associated with unemployment. Ten percent of women Veterans were unemployed. Independent correlates of unemployment were screening positive for depression [odds ratio (OR)=4.7; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.8-12.4], military service during wartime (OR=2.9; 95%, CI 1.1-7.3), and service in the regular military (vs. in the National Guards/Reserves only) (OR=6.8; 95% CI, 2.2-20.5). Two postactive duty perceptions related to not being respected and understood as a Veteran were each independently associated with unemployment. Whether depression underlies unemployment, is exacerbated by unemployment, or both, it is critical to identify and treat depression among women Veterans, and also to investigate women Veterans' experiences and identities in civilian life. Community-based employers may need education regarding women Veterans' unique histories and strengths. Women who served in the regular military and during wartime may benefit from job assistance before and after they leave the military. Gender-specific adaptation of employment services may be warranted.

  8. Contextual Facilitators and Barriers of Community Reintegration Among Injured Female Military Veterans: A Qualitative Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hawkins, Brent L; Crowe, Brandi M

    2018-02-01

    To understand the facilitators and barriers to community reintegration (CR) among injured female veterans. Phenomenologic qualitative design. Community. Community-dwelling female veterans with physical and/or psychological injury (N=13). None. None. Conventional content analysis revealed 3 types of facilitators, including (1) strong social support, (2) impactful programs, and (3) protective personal beliefs. Six types of barriers included (1) inadequate services, (2) lack of access to services, (3) poor social support, (4) difficulty trusting others, (5) nonsupportive personal beliefs, and (6) injury factors. Multiple environmental and personal factors acted as facilitators and barriers to CR. Findings are relatively consistent with previous veteran and civilian community reintegration research that indicates the importance of health-related services, attitudes of others, and social support. However, women in this study reported being effected by many of these facilitators and barriers because of their sex. This study supports the need to foster social support among injured female veterans throughout the rehabilitation process to promote CR. Long-term social support can be gained by incorporating services (eg, adjunctive therapies, recreation, other social programming) into the rehabilitation repertoire to help with CR for all veterans, particularly women. Copyright © 2017 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  9. Pastoral care use among post-9/11 veterans who screen positive for mental health problems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nieuwsma, Jason A; Fortune-Greeley, Alice K; Jackson, George L; Meador, Keith G; Beckham, Jean C; Elbogen, Eric B

    2014-08-01

    As a result of their military experience, veterans with mental health problems may have unique motivations for seeking help from clergy. Patterns and correlates of seeking pastoral care were examined using a nationwide representative survey that was conducted among veterans of post-9/11 conflicts (adjusted N = 1,068; 56% response rate). Separate multivariate logistic regression models were used to examine veteran characteristics associated with seeking pastoral care and seeking mental health services. Among post-9/11 veterans with a probable mental disorder (n = 461)-defined as a positive screen for posttraumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, or alcohol misuse-20.2% reported talking to a "pastoral counselor" in the preceding year, 44.7% reported talking to a mental health professional, and 46.6% reported talking to neither. In a multivariate analysis for veterans with a probable mental disorder, seeing a pastoral counselor was associated with an increased likelihood of seeing a mental health professional in the past year (OR: 2.16; 95% CI: [1.28, 3.65]). In a separate bivariate analysis, pastoral counselors were more likely to be seen by veterans who indicated concerns about stigma or distrust of mental health care. These results suggest that pastoral and mental health care services may complement one another and underscore the importance of enhancing understanding and collaboration between these disciplines so as to meet the needs of the veterans they serve.

  10. Pastoral Care Use among Post-9/11 Veterans who Screen Positive for Mental Health Problems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nieuwsma, Jason A.; Fortune-Greeley, Alice K.; Jackson, George L.; Meador, Keith G.; Beckham, Jean C.; Elbogen, Eric B.

    2014-01-01

    As a result of their military experience, veterans with mental health problems may have unique motivations for seeking help from clergy. Patterns and correlates of seeking pastoral care were examined using a nationwide representative survey that was conducted among veterans of post-9/11 conflicts (adjusted N = 1,068; 56% response rate). Separate multivariate logistic regression models were used to examine veteran characteristics associated with seeking pastoral care and seeking mental health services. Among post-9/11 veterans with a probable mental disorder (n = 461) – defined as a positive screen for posttraumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, or alcohol misuse – 20.2% reported talking to a “pastoral counselor” in the preceding year, 44.7% reported talking to a mental health professional, and 46.6% reported talking to neither. In a multivariate analysis for veterans with a probable mental disorder, seeing a pastoral counselor was associated with an increased likelihood of seeing a mental health professional in the past year (OR: 2.16; 95% CI: [1.28, 3.65]). In a separate bivariate analysis, pastoral counselors were more likely to be seen by veterans who indicated concerns about stigma or distrust of mental health care. These results suggest that pastoral and mental health care services may complement one another and underscore the importance of enhancing understanding and collaboration between these disciplines so as to meet the needs of the veterans they serve. PMID:24933105

  11. Deployment stressors and physical health among OEF/OIF veterans: the role of PTSD.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nillni, Yael I; Gradus, Jaimie L; Gutner, Cassidy A; Luciano, Matthew T; Shipherd, Jillian C; Street, Amy E

    2014-11-01

    There is a large body of literature documenting the relationship between traumatic stress and deleterious physical health outcomes. Although posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms have been proposed to explain this relationship, previous research has produced inconsistent results when moderating variables such as gender or type of traumatic stressor are considered. Within a large sample of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) Veterans, the current study examined if deployment stressors (i.e., combat stress, harassment stress) contributed unique variance to the prediction of physical health symptoms (i.e., pain, nonpain) beyond the effects of PTSD symptoms. A total of 2,332 OEF/OIF Veterans, with equal representation of women and men, completed a series of self-report measures assessing deployment stressors, PTSD symptoms, and physical health symptoms. RESULTS revealed that harassment, but not combat stress, added unique variance in the prediction of pain and nonpain symptoms after accounting for PTSD symptoms. This study extends the existing literature by demonstrating the unique influence of harassment stress on physical health outcomes. Specifically, the relationship between combat stress and physical health symptoms appears to be explained mainly by an individual's experience of PTSD symptoms, whereas the relationship between harassment stress and physical health symptoms is not fully explained by PTSD symptoms, suggesting that other variables may be involved in the pathway from harassment stress to physical health symptoms. PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved.

  12. Factor structure and risk factors for the health status of homeless veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goldstein, Gerald; Luther, James F; Haas, Gretchen L; Appelt, Cathleen J; Gordon, Adam J

    2010-12-01

    Homeless veterans have numerous health problems that have been previously characterized as falling into four major subgroups; addiction, psychosis, vascular disorders, and generalized medical and psychiatric illness. Comorbid conditions are common, often involving a combination of psychiatric and medical disorders. Using data from the same survey of homeless veterans that was used to establish these subgroups with cluster analysis, the present study examined the structure of these subgroup patterns through the use of factor analysis. This analysis yielded a five factor solution. They were named "Cardiac", Mood, Stress, Addiction, and Psychosis factors. Factor scores were computed and an odds ratio analysis was accomplished to determine the association between obtaining a high score on a given factor with a number of sociodemographic and homelessness related variables. It was concluded that health status of homeless veterans is a complex condition, but has a clear latent structure demonstrated by factor analysis. Scoring high or low on a particular factor is associated with numerous historical and sociodemographic considerations, notably age, ethnicity, and employment status.

  13. A National Study of Veterans Treatment Court Participants: Who Benefits and Who Recidivates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsai, Jack; Finlay, Andrea; Flatley, Bessie; Kasprow, Wesley J; Clark, Sean

    2017-07-21

    Although there are now over 400 veterans treatment courts (VTCs) in the country, there have been few studies on participant outcomes in functional domains. Using national data on 7931 veterans in the Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Justice Outreach program across 115 VA sites who entered a VTC from 2011 to 2015, we examined the housing, employment, income, and criminal justice outcomes of VTC participants; and identified veteran characteristics predictive of outcomes. VTC participants spent an average of nearly a year in the program and 14% experienced a new incarceration. From program admission to exit, 10% more participants were in their own housing, 12% more were receiving VA benefits, but only 1% more were employed. Controlling for background characteristics, a history of incarceration predicted poor criminal justice, housing, and employment outcomes. Participants with property offenses or probation/parole violations and those with substance use disorders were more likely to experience a new incarceration. Participants with more mental health problems were more likely to be receiving VA benefits and less likely to be employed at program exit. Together, these findings highlight the importance of proper substance abuse treatment as well as employment services for VTC participants so that they can benefit from the diversion process.

  14. Mortality Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minority Groups in the Veterans Health Administration: An Evidence Review and Map.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peterson, Kim; Anderson, Johanna; Boundy, Erin; Ferguson, Lauren; McCleery, Ellen; Waldrip, Kallie

    2018-03-01

    Continued racial/ethnic health disparities were recently described as "the most serious and shameful health care issue of our time." Although the 2014 US Affordable Care Act-mandated national insurance coverage expansion has led to significant improvements in health care coverage and access, its effects on life expectancy are not yet known. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the largest US integrated health care system, has a sustained commitment to health equity that addresses all 3 stages of health disparities research: detection, understanding determinants, and reduction or elimination. Despite this, racial disparities still exist in the VHA across a wide range of clinical areas and service types. To inform the health equity research agenda, we synthesized evidence on racial/ethnic mortality disparities in the VHA. Our research librarian searched MEDLINE and Cochrane Central Registry of Controlled Trials from October 2006 through February 2017 using terms for racial groups and disparities. We included studies if they compared mortality between any racial/ethnic minority and nonminority veteran groups or between different minority groups in the VHA (PROSPERO# CRD42015015974). We made study selection decisions on the basis of prespecified eligibility criteria. They were first made by 1 reviewer and checked by a second and disagreements were resolved by consensus (sequential review). Two reviewers sequentially abstracted data on prespecified population, outcome, setting, and study design characteristics. Two reviewers sequentially graded the strength of evidence using prespecified criteria on the basis of 5 key domains: study limitations (study design and internal validity), consistency, directness, precision of the evidence, and reporting biases. We synthesized the evidence qualitatively by grouping studies first by racial/ethnic minority group and then by clinical area. For areas with multiple studies in the same population and outcome, we pooled their

  15. Health Benefits: Easy Ways to Apply for Enrollment

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... Us FAQs Ask a Question Toll Free Numbers Homeless Veterans Chat VA » Health Care » Health Benefits » Apply for ... Vet Centers) War Related Illness & Injury Study Center Homeless Veterans Returning Service Members Rural Veterans Seniors & Aging Veterans ...

  16. Mental health measurement among women veterans receiving co-located, collaborative care services.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lilienthal, Kaitlin R; Buchholz, Laura J; King, Paul R; Vair, Christina L; Funderburk, Jennifer S; Beehler, Gregory P

    2017-12-01

    Routine use of measurement to identify patient concerns and track treatment progress is critical to high quality patient care. This is particularly relevant to the Primary Care Behavioral Health model, where rapid symptom assessment and effective referral management are critical to sustaining population-based care. However, research suggests that women who receive treatment in co-located collaborative care settings utilizing the PCBH model are less likely to be assessed with standard measures than men in these settings. The current study utilized regional retrospective data obtained from the Veterans Health Administration's electronic medical record system to: (1) explore rates of mental health measurement for women receiving co-located collaborative care services (N = 1008); and (2) to identify predictors of mental health measurement in women veterans in these settings. Overall, only 8% of women had documentation of standard mental health measures. Measurement was predicted by diagnosis, facility size, length of care episode and care setting. Specifically, women diagnosed with depression were less likely than those with anxiety disorders to have standard mental health measurement documented. Several suggestions are offered to increase the quality of mental health care for women through regular use of measurement in integrated care settings.

  17. 76 FR 52575 - Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-08-23

    ... consistent with the generally accepted ``disease model'' of alcoholism and drug addiction treatment, as well... burden on veterans by designing and implementing a single information technology program that agencies can use to share information about the veteran. Although we generally agree that technology increases...

  18. Perception of Employment by the Veterans Participating in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games: A Survey Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, William; Lee, Leah; Lans, Daniel; Tostenrude, David; Lee, Kenneth

    2017-09-20

    Employment in those with disability is an important rehabilitation goal, along with achieving some measure of functional independence and is at the same time one of the most difficult goals to achieve. The number of people with disabilities participating in adaptive sports has been increasing steadily over the years. A few studies have looked at the relationship between physical fitness and employment status in those with disability, but there have been no studies that focused on the results of organized adaptive sports events affecting employment outcome. To determine whether participation in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games (NVWG) has a positive impact on employment in those with disability. Prospective, cross-sectional survey. 2015 NVWG in Dallas, Texas (nonclinic setting). A total of 338 survey participants; 36 surveys were excluded due to incompletion. Veterans who participated at the 2015 NVWG were given the opportunity to complete a 2-page survey. Survey participants received $5.00 gift card as compensation. Percentage of those who perceived NVWG made a difference in attaining employment, risk ratio analyses. A total of 50% of the participants stated that the NVWG made a difference in attaining employment. Those currently working were 1.5 times more likely to say that the NVWG had a positive effect on employment than those not currently working (P Likert scale distribution. Our study suggests that participating in the NVWG provides psychosocial support to the veterans and may have a positive influence in employment outcomes. To be determined. Copyright © 2017 American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  19. Sexual health and quality of life among male veterans with intestinal ostomies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Symms, Michelle R; Rawl, Susan M; Grant, Marcia; Wendel, Christopher S; Coons, Stephen Joel; Hickey, Sara; Baldwin, Carol M; Krouse, Robert S

    2008-01-01

    This secondary analysis was conducted to expand our understanding of the challenges men with ostomies face regarding intimate relationships and sexual functioning. We examined quantitative and qualitative data to examine sexual functioning, intimate relationships, and health-related quality of life (HR-QOL) among military veterans who are living with an intestinal stoma. Three Veterans Health Administration sites. Four hundred eighty-one male veterans. Case-control, mixed-methods design; cases were those who had ostomies for at least 2 months, and controls had a similar major intestinal surgical procedure that did not result in an ostomy. Quantitative and qualitative data on sexual functioning, relationships, and other dimensions of HR-QOL were collected using the modified City of Hope Quality of Life-Ostomy questionnaire. The overall response rate was 49%. Prevalence of erectile dysfunction was significantly higher among ostomates compared with controls (P ostomies reported being sexually active before surgery compared with controls (P sexual activity after surgery is significantly lower among the ostomy group (P = .015). Compared with veterans with ostomies who did not resume sexual activity after surgery, those who were sexually active reported a higher total HR-QOL score and higher scores on all 4 modified City of Hope Quality of Life-Ostomy dimensions (psychological, social, physical, and spiritual well-being). Veterans with ostomies who had resumed sexual activity after their ostomy also reported that their ostomy had caused significantly less interference with social activities, less isolation, less interference with their personal relationships, and less interference with their ability to be intimate. These men also reported less difficulty adjusting to the ostomy. Results of qualitative analyses showed that problems with intimacy and sexual function are among the greatest challenges faced by ostomates. Presence of an ostomy was associated with lower rates

  20. Reproductive and other health outcomes in Iraq and Afghanistan women veterans using VA health care: association with mental health diagnoses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cohen, Beth E; Maguen, Shira; Bertenthal, Daniel; Shi, Ying; Jacoby, Vanessa; Seal, Karen H

    2012-09-01

    An increasing number of women serve in the military and are exposed to trauma during service that can lead to mental health problems. Understanding how these mental health problems affect reproductive and physical health outcomes will inform interventions to improve care for women veterans. We analyzed national Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) data from women Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who were new users of VA healthcare from October 7, 2001, through December 31, 2010 (n = 71,504). We used ICD-9 codes to categorize veterans into five groups by mental health diagnoses (MH Dx): Those with no MH Dx, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, comorbid PTSD and depression, and a MH Dx other than PTSD and depression. We determined the association between mental health category and reproductive and other physical health outcomes defined by ICD-9 codes. Categories included sexually transmitted infections, other infections (e.g., urinary tract infections), pain-related conditions (e.g., dysmenorrhea and dsypareunia), and other conditions (e.g., polycystic ovarian syndrome, infertility, sexual dysfunction). Models were adjusted for sociodemographic and military service factors. There were 31,481 patients (44%) who received at least one mental health diagnosis. Women veterans with any mental health diagnosis had significantly higher prevalences of nearly all categories of reproductive and physical disease diagnoses (p mental health diagnoses had significantly greater prevalences of several important reproductive and physical health diagnoses. These results provide support for VA initiatives to address mental and physical health concerns and improve comprehensive care for women veterans. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  1. Dual use of Medicare and the Veterans Health Administration: are there adverse health outcomes?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Brezinski Paul R

    2006-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Millions of veterans are eligible to use the Veterans Health Administration (VHA and Medicare because of their military service and age. This article examines whether an indirect measure of dual use based on inpatient services is associated with increased mortality risk. Methods Data on 1,566 self-responding men (weighted N = 1,522 from the Survey of Assets and Health Dynamics among the Oldest Old (AHEAD were linked to Medicare claims and the National Death Index. Dual use was indirectly indicated when the self-reported number of hospital episodes in the 12 months prior to baseline was greater than that observed in the Medicare claims. The independent association of dual use with mortality was estimated using proportional hazards regression. Results 96 (11% of the veterans were classified as dual users. 766 men (50.3% had died by December 31, 2002, including 64.9% of the dual users and 49.3% of all others, for an attributable mortality risk of 15.6% (p Conclusion An indirect measure of veterans' dual use of the VHA and Medicare systems, based on inpatient services, was associated with an increased risk of death. Further examination of dual use, especially in the outpatient setting, is needed, because dual inpatient and dual outpatient use may be different phenomena.

  2. Perspectives on Sexual Health and Function of Recent Male Combat Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Drew A. Helmer, MD, MS

    2015-09-01

    Conclusions: Sexual dysfunction in recent combat veterans can have important negative effects on their health and relationships. Our findings elucidate perceived contributory factors and preferred solutions, which can be applied by health‐care providers to improve the management of sexual dysfunction in these patients. Helmer DA, Beaulieu G, Powers C, Houlette C, Latini D, and Kauth M. Perspectives on sexual health and function of recent male combat veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Sex Med 2015;3:137–146.

  3. Access, utilization, and interest in mHealth applications among veterans receiving outpatient care for PTSD.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erbes, Christopher R; Stinson, Rebecca; Kuhn, Eric; Polusny, Melissa; Urban, Jessica; Hoffman, Julia; Ruzek, Josef I; Stepnowsky, Carl; Thorp, Steven R

    2014-11-01

    Mobile health (mHealth) refers to the use of mobile technology (e.g., smartphones) and software (i.e., applications) to facilitate or enhance health care. Several mHealth programs act as either stand-alone aids for Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or adjuncts to conventional psychotherapy approaches. Veterans enrolled in a Veterans Affairs outpatient treatment program for PTSD (N = 188) completed anonymous questionnaires that assessed Veterans' access to mHealth-capable devices and their utilization of and interest in mHealth programs for PTSD. The majority of respondents (n = 142, 76%) reported having access to a cell phone or tablet capable of running applications, but only a small group (n = 18) reported use of existing mHealth programs for PTSD. Age significantly predicted ownership of mHealth devices, but not utilization or interest in mHealth applications among device owners. Around 56% to 76% of respondents with access indicated that they were interested in trying mHealth programs for such issues as anger management, sleep hygiene, and management of anxiety symptoms. Findings from this sample suggest that Veterans have adequate access to, and interest in, using mHealth applications to warrant continued development and evaluation of mobile applications for the treatment of PTSD and other mental health conditions. Reprint & Copyright © 2014 Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S.

  4. Rural and urban supported employment programs in the Veterans Health Administration: Comparison of barriers and facilitators to vocational achievement for veterans experiencing mental illnesses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kukla, Marina; McGuire, Alan B; Salyers, Michelle P

    2016-06-01

    The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to compare urban and rural supported employment programs on barriers and facilitators with employment for veterans experiencing mental illnesses. A national sample of 114 supported employment staff, supervisors, and upper level managers employed by the Veteran's Health Administration were recruited. Participants completed an online survey of work barriers and facilitators, including open-ended questions regarding additional factors that impact the work success of veterans. Survey responses were compared between participants from rural (n = 28) and urban (n = 86) programs using independent groups t tests. Open-ended questions were analyzed using content analysis. Supported employment personnel from rural programs perceived significantly more barriers to work success compared with urban personnel, particularly in the areas of access to services and a range of job-related factors, including job match and interpersonal relationships at the work site. In contrast, participants from urban programs reported greater facilitators in the domain of mental health services. Qualitative findings add depth to the quantitative findings and highlight challenges in rural supported employment programs impacting job development and job fit. Both urban and rural programs experienced unique barriers related to geography and transportation. Findings from this nationwide mixed-methods survey provide a comprehensive picture of the obstacles to employment success for veterans living with mental illnesses and receiving supported employment services in rural areas. Suggestions for changes in policy related to services and resource allocation are presented to address these unique barriers, particularly in rural areas. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved).

  5. 'Post-deployment appraisal' and the relationship with stress and psychological health in Australian veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wright, Breanna; Forbes, Andrew; Kelsall, Helen; Clarke, David; Ikin, Jill; Sim, Malcolm

    2015-12-01

    Understanding how veterans appraise their post-deployment experiences could provide insight into better assisting their deployment transitions. We aimed to assess the factor structure of positive and negative post-deployment appraisals in Australian veterans and to examine the resultant factors in their relationship with military stress and psychological health. Questions capturing post-deployment attitudes were developed by the researchers in collaboration with veterans. The questions were administered to 1938 veterans and the results factor analysed. The relationships between post-deployment appraisal, military stress and psychological health were examined using Structural Equation Modelling. A three-factor solution was found for the post-deployment appraisal questions; representing personal development, lack of recognition, and appreciation of life and country. Military stress was associated with the three factors and psychological health. The three factors were weakly to moderately associated with psychological health. Mediation between military stress and psychological health by any post-deployment appraisal factor was minimal. Post-deployment appraisal measures three important attitudes and concerns of veterans after deployment. Military stress is associated with the post-deployment appraisal factors. However, the factors did not mediate the relationship between military stress and psychological health. These factors provide insight into how veterans appraise their complex array of post-deployment experiences, and may provide useful in regard to transitions and integration into civilian life.

  6. Veterans Affairs: Health Care and Benefits for Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-09-22

    1) Achondroplasia; (2) Cleft lip and cleft palate ; (3) Congenital heart disease; (4) Congenital talipes equinovarus (clubfoot); (5) Esophageal and...cell); breast cancer; cancers of reproductive organs (cervix, uterus, ovary, testes , and penis; excluding prostate); urinary bladder cancer; renal... tests . Each veteran is also required to answer a set of questions relevant to exposure. In September 2000, the Agent Orange Registry was expanded to

  7. Long-term effects of military service on mental health among veterans of the Vietnam War era.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brooks, Matthew S; Laditka, Sarah B; Laditka, James N

    2008-06-01

    Comparing outcomes of veterans who served in Vietnam and those who served elsewhere, we examined treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, treatment of other mental health conditions, psychiatric treatment location, and six mental health well-being measures. The analytic sample consisted of nationally representative data from the 2001 National Survey of Veterans. Analyses included multivariate logistic regression that controlled for sociodemographic characteristics. Of Vietnam War-era veterans in the National Survey of Veterans (N = 7,914), 3,937 served in Vietnam and 3,977 served elsewhere. These veterans were stratified into or = 60 years of age (N = 1,766). Veterans who served in Vietnam had notably poorer mental health than did those who served elsewhere. There were striking mental health differences between younger and older veterans; younger veterans had substantially worse measures of mental health. These results suggest greater resource needs among younger Vietnam War veterans. Clinicians and the Department of Veterans Affairs should focus on mental health services for younger veterans.

  8. Association of posttraumatic stress disorder with somatic symptoms, health care visits, and absenteeism among Iraq war veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoge, Charles W; Terhakopian, Artin; Castro, Carl A; Messer, Stephen C; Engel, Charles C

    2007-01-01

    Studies of soldiers from prior wars conducted many years after combat have shown associations between combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and physical health problems. The current Iraq war has posed a considerable PTSD risk, but the association with physical health has not been well studied. The authors studied 2,863 soldiers using standardized self-administered screening instruments 1 year after their return from combat duty in Iraq. Among all participants, 16.6% met screening criteria for PTSD. PTSD was significantly associated with lower ratings of general health, more sick call visits, more missed workdays, more physical symptoms, and high somatic symptom severity. These results remained significant after control for being wounded or injured. The high prevalence of PTSD and its strong association with physical health problems among Iraq war veterans have important implications for delivery of medical services. The medical burden of PTSD includes physical health problems; combat veterans with serious somatic concerns should be evaluated for PTSD.

  9. The role of military social support in understanding the relationship between PTSD, physical health, and healthcare utilization in women veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lehavot, Keren; Der-Martirosian, Claudia; Simpson, Tracy L; Shipherd, Jillian C; Washington, Donna L

    2013-12-01

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a significant predictor of both poorer physical health and increased health care utilization, whereas adequate social support is associated with better physical health and less health care utilization. However, research has not previously examined the simultaneous effects of PTSD and social support on health and health care utilization. This study examined both the independent and interactive effects of PTSD and a particular type of social support (postactive-duty social support from military friends) on self-reported physical health and number of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) visits in the last year. These relationships were examined in a representative, national sample of 3,524 women veterans who completed telephone interviews as part of the National Survey of Women Veterans in 2008-2009. Regression analyses were conducted using these cross-sectional data to examine main effects of PTSD and military social support on physical health and VHA utilization and their interaction. Screening positive for PTSD was associated with poorer health (B = -3.19, SE = 1.47) and increased VHA utilization (B = 0.98, SE = 0.16), whereas greater military social support was associated with better health (B = 0.97, SE = 0.44) and less frequent VHA utilization (B = -0.15, SE = 0.05). Neither moderation model was significant, such that military social support behaved in a similar way regardless of PTSD status. Published 2013. This article is a US Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

  10. The Clinical Nurse Leader: impact on practice outcomes in the Veterans Health Administration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ott, Karen M; Haddock, K Sue; Fox, Sandra E; Shinn, Julie K; Walters, Sandra E; Hardin, James W; Durand, Kerri; Harris, James L

    2009-01-01

    The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) role was designed to meet an identified need for expert clinical leadership at the point of care. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) became early adopters of the CNL role, foreseeing the value of this pivotal clinical leader at the point of care to meet the complex health care needs of America's veterans and shape health care delivery. Impact data were collected and assimilated from seven Veterans Administration Medical Centers to support how CNLs impact the delivery of quality and safe patient care and how practice changes could be sustained. Data collection and analyses resulted in many lessons learned. The new CNL role was implemented in a variety of settings in the VHA system. Integration of the CNL role in all areas of practice in every care setting has the promise of streamlining coordination of care for veterans across all spectrums in the provision of care.

  11. Low Systolic Blood Pressure and Mortality From All Causes and Vascular Diseases Among Older Middle-aged Men: Korean Veterans Health Study

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sang-Wook Yi

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available Objectives: Recently, low systolic blood pressure (SBP was found to be associated with an increased risk of death from vascular diseases in a rural elderly population in Korea. However, evidence on the association between low SBP and vascular diseases is scarce. The aim of this study was to prospectively examine the association between low SBP and mortality from all causes and vascular diseases in older middle-aged Korean men. Methods: From 2004 to 2010, 94 085 Korean Vietnam War veterans were followed-up for deaths. The adjusted hazard ratios (aHR were calculated using the Cox proportional hazard model. A stratified analysis was conducted by age at enrollment. SBP was self-reported by a postal survey in 2004. Results: Among the participants aged 60 and older, the lowest SBP (<90 mmHg category had an elevated aHR for mortality from all causes (aHR, 1.9; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2 to 3.1 and vascular diseases (International Classification of Disease, 10th revision, I00-I99; aHR, 3.2; 95% CI, 1.2 to 8.4 compared to those with an SBP of 100 to 119 mmHg. Those with an SBP below 80 mmHg (aHR, 4.5; 95% CI, 1.1 to 18.8 and those with an SBP of 80 to 89 mmHg (aHR, 3.1; 95% CI, 0.9 to 10.2 also had an increased risk of vascular mortality, compared to those with an SBP of 90 to 119 mmHg. This association was sustained when excluding the first two years of follow-up or preexisting vascular diseases. In men younger than 60 years, the association of low SBP was weaker than that in those aged 60 years or older. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that low SBP (<90 mmHg may increase vascular mortality in Korean men aged 60 years or older.

  12. Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf War Veterans

    Science.gov (United States)

    2008-11-01

    sign. higher; retinol binding protein ns higher 2005: Serum uric acid ns lower Neurocognitive function 1997: Poorer accuracy on automated performance...with muscle metabolism and physical endurance in 49 Gulf War veterans and 61 nonveterans with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).1725 In Gulf War veterans...118. 120. Behan PO, Behan WM, Horrobin D. Effect of high doses of essential fatty acids on the postviral fatigue syndrome . Acta Neurol Scand. 1990;82

  13. Psychological safety and error reporting within Veterans Health Administration hospitals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Derickson, Ryan; Fishman, Jonathan; Osatuke, Katerine; Teclaw, Robert; Ramsel, Dee

    2015-03-01

    In psychologically safe workplaces, employees feel comfortable taking interpersonal risks, such as pointing out errors. Previous research suggested that psychologically safe climate optimizes organizational outcomes. We evaluated psychological safety levels in Veterans Health Administration (VHA) hospitals and assessed their relationship to employee willingness of reporting medical errors. We conducted an ANOVA on psychological safety scores from a VHA employees census survey (n = 185,879), assessing variability of means across racial and supervisory levels. We examined organizational climate assessment interviews (n = 374) evaluating how many employees asserted willingness to report errors (or not) and their stated reasons. Finally, based on survey data, we identified 2 (psychologically safe versus unsafe) hospitals and compared their number of employees who would be willing/unwilling to report an error. Psychological safety increased with supervisory level (P report an error; retaliation fear was the most commonly mentioned deterrent. Furthermore, employees at the psychologically unsafe hospital (71% would report, 13% would not) were less willing to report an error than at the psychologically safe hospital (91% would, 0% would not). A substantial minority would not report an error and were willing to admit so in a private interview setting. Their stated reasons as well as higher psychological safety means for supervisory employees both suggest power as an important determinant. Intentions to report were associated with psychological safety, strongly suggesting this climate aspect as instrumental to improving patient safety and reducing costs.

  14. Surgery and Adjuvant Chemotherapy Use Among Veterans With Colon Cancer: Insights From a California Study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hynes, Denise M.; Tarlov, Elizabeth; Durazo-Arvizu, Ramon; Perrin, Ruth; Zhang, Qiuying; Weichle, Thomas; Ferreira, M. Rosario; Lee, Todd; Benson, Al B.; Bhoopalam, Nirmala; Bennett, Charles L.

    2010-01-01

    Purpose US veterans have been shown to be a vulnerable population with high cancer rates, and cancer care quality in Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals is the focus of a congressionally mandated review. We examined rates of surgery and chemotherapy use among veterans with colon cancer at VA and non-VA facilities in California to gain insight into factors associated with quality of cancer care. Methods A retrospective cohort of incident colon cancer patients from the California Cancer Registry, who were ≥ 66 years old and eligible to use VA and Medicare between 1999 and 2001, were observed for 6 months after diagnosis. Results Among 601 veterans with colon cancer, 72% were initially diagnosed and treated in non-VA facilities. Among veterans with stage I to III cancer, those diagnosed and initially treated in VA facilities experienced similar colectomy rates as those at non-VA facilities. Stage III patients diagnosed and initially treated in VA versus non-VA facilities had similar odds of receiving adjuvant chemotherapy. In both settings, older patients had lower odds of receiving chemotherapy than their younger counterparts even when race and comorbidity were considered (age 76 to 85 years: odds ratio [OR] = 0.18; 95% CI, 0.07 to 0.46; age ≥ 86 years: OR = 0.17; 95% CI, 0.04 to 0.73). Conclusion In California, older veterans with colon cancer used both VA and non-VA facilities for cancer treatment, and odds of receiving cancer-directed surgery and chemotherapy were similar in both systems. Among stage III patients, older age lowered odds of receiving adjuvant chemotherapy in both systems. Further studies should continue to explore potential health system effects on quality of colon cancer care across the United States. PMID:20406940

  15. Social work in the Veterans Health Administration (VA) System: rewards, challenges, roles and interventions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beder, Joan; Postiglione, Paul

    2013-01-01

    For the social worker in the Veterans Health Administration (VA) System, numerous challenges are faced and met while serving the nation's Veterans. As part of the multidisciplinary team, social workers perform a variety of tasks and function in diverse roles. The qualitative survey research reported in this article sought to detail what social workers identified about the impact and rewards of their work and what they saw as the challenges and frustrations. In addition the social workers were asked to clarify their role with the patient and the family. Intervention strategies used in the course of the social workers interaction with the Veterans was also ascertained.

  16. The potential for health-related uses of mobile phones and internet with homeless veterans: results from a multisite survey.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McInnes, D Keith; Sawh, Leon; Petrakis, Beth Ann; Rao, Sowmya; Shimada, Stephanie L; Eyrich-Garg, Karin M; Gifford, Allen L; Anaya, Henry D; Smelson, David A

    2014-09-01

    Addressing the health needs of homeless veterans is a priority in the United States, and, although information technologies can potentially improve access to and engagement in care, little is known about this population's use of information technologies or their willingness to use technologies to communicate with healthcare providers and systems. This study fills this gap through a survey of homeless veterans' use of information technologies and their attitudes about using these technologies to assist with accessing needed healthcare services. Among the 106 homeless veterans surveyed, 89% had a mobile phone (one-third were smartphones), and 76% used the Internet. Among those with a mobile phone, 71% used text messaging. Nearly all respondents (93%) were interested in receiving mobile phone reminders (text message or phone call) about upcoming medical appointments, and a similar proportion (88%) wanted mobile phone outreach asking if they would like to schedule an appointment if they had not been seen by a health provider in over a year. In addition, respondents already used these technologies for information and communication related to health, housing, and jobs. These findings suggest new avenues for communication and health interventions for hard-to-reach homeless veterans.

  17. Longitudinal associations between mental health conditions and overactive bladder in women veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bradley, Catherine S; Nygaard, Ingrid E; Hillis, Stephen L; Torner, James C; Sadler, Anne G

    2017-10-01

    One in 5 recently deployed US women veterans report overactive bladder symptoms. Mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety commonly co-occur in women with overactive bladder, but temporal relationships between these outcomes have not been well studied, and the mechanism behind this association is unknown. The Women Veterans Urinary Health Study, a nationwide longitudinal study in recently deployed women veterans, was designed to better understand relationships between overactive bladder and mental health conditions. We sought to estimate the 1-year incidence and remission of overactive bladder and to identify the impact of depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and prior sexual assault on 1-year overactive bladder incidence and remission rates. Participants of this 1-year prospective cohort study were female veterans separated from military service who had returned from Iraq or Afghanistan deployment within the previous 2 years. Eligible women were identified through the Defense Manpower Data Center and recruited by mail and telephone. Telephone screening confirmed participants were ambulatory, community-dwelling veterans and excluded those with urinary tract fistula, congenital abnormality, or cancer; pelvic radiation; spinal cord injury; multiple sclerosis; Parkinson disease; stroke; or current/recent pregnancy. Data collection included computer-assisted telephone interviews performed at enrollment and 1 year later. The interview assessed demographic and military service characteristics; urinary symptoms and treatment; depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and treatment; and a lifetime history of sexual assault. Overactive bladder was identified if at least moderately bothersome urgency urinary incontinence and/or urinary frequency symptoms were reported on Urogenital Distress Inventory items. Exposures included depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and lifetime sexual assault, assessed at

  18. The effect of health information technology implementation in Veterans Health Administration hospitals on patient outcomes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spetz, Joanne; Burgess, James F; Phibbs, Ciaran S

    2014-03-01

    The impact of health information technology (HIT) in hospitals is dependent in large part on how it is used by nurses. This study examines the impact of HIT on the quality of care in hospitals in the Veterans Health Administration (VA), focusing on nurse-sensitive outcomes from 1995 to 2005. Data were obtained from VA databases and original data collection. Fixed-effects Poisson regression was used, with the dependent variables measured using the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Inpatient Quality Indicators and Patient Safety Indicators software. Dummy variables indicated when each facility began and completed implementation of each type of HIT. Other explanatory variables included hospital volume, patient characteristics, nurse characteristics, and a quadratic time trend. The start of computerized patient record implementation was associated with significantly lower mortality for two diagnoses but significantly higher pressure ulcer rates, and full implementation was associated with significantly more hospital-acquired infections. The start of bar-code medication administration implementation was linked to significantly lower mortality for one diagnosis, but full implementation was not linked to any change in patient outcomes. The commencement of HIT implementation had mixed effects on patient outcomes, and the completion of implementation had little or no effect on outcomes. This longitudinal study provides little support for the perception of VA staff and leaders that HIT has improved mortality rates or nurse-sensitive patient outcomes. Future research should examine patient outcomes associated with specific care processes affected by HIT. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  19. The National Veteran Sleep Disorder Study: Descriptive Epidemiology and Secular Trends, 2000-2010.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alexander, Melannie; Ray, Meredith A; Hébert, James R; Youngstedt, Shawn D; Zhang, Hongmei; Steck, Susan E; Bogan, Richard K; Burch, James B

    2016-07-01

    A large proportion of individuals affected by sleep disorders are untreated and susceptible to accidents, injuries, long-term sequelae (e.g., risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, psychiatric disorders), and increased mortality risk. Few studies have examined the scope and magnitude of sleep disorder diagnoses in the United States (US) or factors influencing them. Veterans are particularly vulnerable to factors that elicit or exacerbate sleep disorders. This serial cross-sectional study characterized secular trends in diagnosed sleep disorders among veterans seeking care in US Veterans Health Administration facilities over an eleven-year span (FY2000-2010, n = 9,786,778). Electronic medical records from the national Veterans Administration Informatics and Computing Infrastructure database were accessed. Cases were defined using diagnostic codes specified by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Age-adjusted annual prevalence was summarized by sex, race, combat exposure, body mass index, and comorbid diagnoses (cardiovascular disease, cancer, mental disorders). Sleep apnea (47%) and insomnia (26%) were the most common diagnoses among patients with any sleep disorder. There was a six-fold relative increase in total sleep disorder prevalence over the study period. Posttraumatic stress disorder, which tripled over the same time period, was associated with the highest prevalence of sleep disorders (16%) among the comorbid conditions evaluated. The results indicate a growing need for integration of sleep disorder management with patient care and health care planning among US veterans. A commentary on this article appears in this issue on page 1331. © 2016 Associated Professional Sleep Societies, LLC.

  20. The Role of Organizational Factors in the Provision of Comprehensive Women's Health in the Veterans Health Administration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reddy, Shivani M; Rose, Danielle E; Burgess, James F; Charns, Martin P; Yano, Elizabeth M

    Increasing numbers of women veterans present an organizational challenge to a health care system that historically has served men. Women veterans require comprehensive women's health services traditionally not provided by the Veterans Health Administration. Examine the association of organizational factors and adoption of comprehensive women's health care. Cross-sectional analysis of the 2007 Veterans Health Administration National Survey of Women Veterans Health Programs and Practices. Dependent measures included a) model of women's health care: separate women's health clinic (WHC), designated women's health provider in primary care (DWHP), both (WHC+DWHP), or neither and b) the availability of five women's health services: cervical cancer screening and evaluation and management of vaginitis, menstrual disorders, contraception, and menopause. Exposure variables were organizational factors drawn from the Greenhalgh model of diffusion of innovations including measures of structure, absorptive capacity, and system readiness for innovation. The organizational factors of a gynecology clinic, an academic affiliation with a medical school, a women's health representative on one or more high-impact committees, and a greater caseload of women veterans were more common at sites with WHCs and WHC+DWHPs, compared with sites relying on general primary care with or without a DWHP. Academic affiliation and high-impact committee involvement remained significant in multivariable analysis. Sites with WHCs or WHC+DWHPs were more likely to offer all five women's health services. Facilities with greater apparent absorptive capacity (academic affiliation and women's health representation on high-impact committees) are more likely to adopt WHCs. Facilities with separate WHCs are more likely to deliver a package of women's health services, promoting comprehensive care for women veterans. Copyright © 2016 Jacobs Institute of Women's Health. All rights reserved.

  1. Sustainability in primary care and Mental Health Integration projects in Veterans Health Administration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ford, James H; Krahn, Dean; Oliver, Karen Anderson; Kirchner, JoAnn

    2012-01-01

    To explore staff perceptions about sustainability, commitment to change, participation in change process, and information received about the change project within the Veterans Administration Primary Care and Mental Health Integration (PC-MHI) initiative and to examine differences from the Veterans Health Administration Mental Health Systems Redesign (MHSR) initiative. Surveys of change team members involved in the Veterans Affairs PC-MHI and MHSR initiatives. One-way analysis of variance examined the relationship between commitment, participation and information, and sustainability. Differences in PC-MHI sustainability were explored by location and job classification. Staff sustainability perceptions were compared with MHSR results. Sustainability differed by staff discipline. Difference between MHSR and PC-MHI existed by job function and perceptions about the change benefits. Participation in the change process and information received about the change process were positively correlated with sustainability. Staff commitment to change was positively associated with staff perceptions about the benefits of change and staff attitudes toward change. Sustainability is an important part of organizational change efforts. Change complexity seems to influence perception about sustainability and impacts staff perceptions about the benefits of change. These perceptions seem to be driven by the information received and opportunities to participate in the change process. Further research is needed to understand how information and participation influence sustainability and affect employee commitment to change.

  2. Collaborating across the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense to integrate mental health and chaplaincy services.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nieuwsma, Jason A; Jackson, George L; DeKraai, Mark B; Bulling, Denise J; Cantrell, William C; Rhodes, Jeffrey E; Bates, Mark J; Ethridge, Keith; Lane, Marian E; Tenhula, Wendy N; Batten, Sonja V; Meador, Keith G

    2014-12-01

    Recognizing that clergy and spiritual care providers are a key part of mental health care systems, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense (DoD) jointly examined chaplains' current and potential roles in caring for veterans and service members with mental health needs. Our aim was to evaluate the intersection of chaplain and mental health care practices in VA and DoD in order to determine if improvement is needed, and if so, to develop actionable recommendations as indicated by evaluation findings. A 38-member multidisciplinary task group partnered with researchers in designing, implementing, and interpreting a mixed methods study that included: 1) a quantitative survey of VA and DoD chaplains; and 2) qualitative interviews with mental health providers and chaplains. Quantitative: the survey included all full-time VA chaplains and all active duty military chaplains (n = 2,163 completed of 3,464 invited; 62 % response rate). Qualitative: a total of 291 interviews were conducted with mental health providers and chaplains during site visits to 33 VA and DoD facilities. Quantitative: the online survey assessed intersections between chaplaincy and mental health care and took an average of 37 min to complete. Qualitative: the interviews assessed current integration of mental health and chaplain services and took an average of 1 h to complete. When included on interdisciplinary mental health care teams, chaplains feel understood and valued (82.8-100 % of chaplains indicated this, depending on the team). However, findings from the survey and site visits suggest that integration of services is often lacking and can be improved. Closely coordinating with a multidisciplinary task group in conducting a mixed method evaluation of chaplain-mental health integration in VA and DoD helped to ensure that researchers assessed relevant domains and that findings could be rapidly translated into actionable recommendations.

  3. Health Differences Among Lesbian, Gay, and Transgender Veterans by Rural/Small Town and Suburban/Urban Setting.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kauth, Michael R; Barrera, Terri L; Denton, F Nicholas; Latini, David M

    2017-06-01

    We explored the relationship between geographic location and health indicators for lesbian, gay, and transgender veterans. We solicited participation in an online survey through national and city LGBT organizations and personal contacts to examine differences in depression, anxiety, alcohol and tobacco use, and body mass index among lesbian, gay, and transgender veterans (n = 252) in suburban/urban and rural/small town locations. Bisexual participants were too few to include in the analyses. As expected, rural/small town lesbian, gay, and transgender veterans spent more time traveling to their primary care provider. Travel time was also positively related to depressive and anxiety symptoms. However, only suburban/urban and rural/small town gay men differed in measures of depression and anxiety and tobacco use. That is, rural/small town gay men reported greater depressive and anxiety symptoms and greater tobacco use than their suburban/urban counterparts. Consistent with this finding, rural/small town gay men reported less community-related identity than suburban/urban men. Suburban/urban lesbian women showed a nonsignificant trend for community identity compared with rural/small town women. Similar to civilian studies, suburban/urban and rural/small town lesbian, gay, and transgender veterans evidenced few health differences, with the exception of suburban/urban gay men. Although rural/small town gay male veterans evidenced more depression and anxiety and less community identity than suburban/urban men, social networks likely differ for lesbian, gay, and transgender subgroups. Lesbian, gay, and transgender veterans may also differ from their civilian counterparts in ways that we do not yet understand.

  4. Military sexual trauma among homeless veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pavao, Joanne; Turchik, Jessica A; Hyun, Jenny K; Karpenko, Julie; Saweikis, Meghan; McCutcheon, Susan; Kane, Vincent; Kimerling, Rachel

    2013-07-01

    Military sexual trauma (MST) is the Veteran Health Administration's (VHA) term for sexual assault and/or sexual harassment that occurs during military service. The experience of MST is associated with a variety of mental health conditions. Preliminary research suggests that MST may be associated with homelessness among female Veterans, although to date MST has not been examined in a national study of both female and male homeless Veterans. To estimate the prevalence of MST, examine the association between MST and mental health conditions, and describe mental health utilization among homeless women and men. National, cross-sectional study of 126,598 homeless Veterans who used VHA outpatient care in fiscal year 2010. All variables were obtained from VHA administrative databases, including MST screening status, ICD-9-CM codes to determine mental health diagnoses, and VHA utilization. Of homeless Veterans in VHA, 39.7 % of females and 3.3 % of males experienced MST. Homeless Veterans who experienced MST demonstrated a significantly higher likelihood of almost all mental health conditions examined as compared to other homeless women and men, including depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, other anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, bipolar disorders, personality disorders, suicide, and, among men only, schizophrenia and psychotic disorders. Nearly all homeless Veterans had at least one mental health visit and Veterans who experienced MST utilized significantly more mental health visits compared to Veterans who did not experience MST. A substantial proportion of homeless Veterans using VHA services have experienced MST, and those who experienced MST had increased odds of mental health diagnoses. Homeless Veterans who had experienced MST had higher intensity of mental health care utilization and high rates of MST-related mental health care. This study highlights the importance of trauma-informed care among homeless Veterans and the success of VHA homeless

  5. Eating disorders and associated mental health comorbidities in female veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mitchell, Karen S; Rasmusson, Ann; Bartlett, Brooke; Gerber, Megan R

    2014-11-30

    Eating disorders (EDs) remain understudied among veterans, possibly due to the perception that primarily male population does not suffer from EDs. However, previous research suggests that male and female veterans do experience EDs. The high rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and obesity observed among veterans may make this group vulnerable to disordered eating. Retrospective chart review was used to obtain data from 492 female veterans who were presented to a women's primary care center at a large, urban VA medical center between 2007 and 2009. A total of 2.8% of this sample had been diagnosed with an ED. In bivariate analyses, presence of PTSD and depression were significantly associated with having an ED diagnosis. However, when these two disorders were included in a multivariate model controlling for age, only depression diagnosis and lower age were significantly related to ED status. In sum, the rate of EDs in this sample is comparable to prevalence estimates of EDs in the general population. Current findings underscore the importance of assessing for EDs among VA patients and the need for further research among veterans. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

  6. Access to Care Among Nonelderly Veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bernard, Didem M; Selden, Thomas M

    2016-03-01

    Veteran access to care is an important policy issue that has not previously been examined with population-based survey data. This study compares access to care for nonelderly adult Veterans versus comparable non-Veterans, overall and within subgroups defined by simulated eligibility for health care from the Veterans Health Administration and by insurance status. We use household survey data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey from 2006 to 2011. We use iterative proportional fitting to standardize (control for) differences in age, sex, income, medical conditions, disability, Census region, and Metropolitan Statistical Area. Nonelderly Veterans and comparable non-Veterans. For medical, dental, and prescription medicine treatments, we use 4 access measures: delaying care, inability to obtain care, perceiving delay as a big problem, and perceiving inability to obtain care as a big problem. We also examine having a usual source of care. Frequencies of access barriers are similar for nonelderly Veterans and comparable non-Veterans for dental and prescription medicine treatments. For medical treatment, we find that Veterans eligible for VA health care and Veterans with VA use who are uninsured report fewer access problems than the comparable non-Veteran populations for 2 measures: inability to obtain care and reporting inability to obtain care as a big problem. Our results show that uninsured Veterans, the most policy-relevant group, have better access to care than comparable non-Veterans. Our results highlight the importance of adjusting Veteran and non-Veteran comparisons to account for the higher than average health care needs of Veterans.

  7. Subjective sleep, burden, depression, and general health among caregivers of veterans poststroke.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rittman, Maude; Hinojosa, Melanie Sberna; Findley, Kim

    2009-02-01

    The purposes of this article are to explore and describe subjective sleep experiences of informal caregivers of stroke survivors and to explore the relationships between subjective sleep experiences, caregiver burden, depression, and health to provide a broader portrait of the role that sleep plays in the stroke caregiving experience. A total of 276 caregivers and veterans participated in the study. Results indicate a greater risk of depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale) among caregivers who sleep less, have difficulty achieving daytime enthusiasm, use sleep medications, and have poor sleep quality. Caregivers who sleep less have difficulty achieving daytime enthusiasm and are at greater risk of poor health. Greater caregiver burden was associated with less sleep and use of sleep medications. This descriptive analysis demonstrates the important relationship between sleep, depression, health, and burden and can lead to interventions to diagnose and treat sleep difficulties in caregivers.

  8. Characterizing Primary Care Visit Activities at Veterans Health Administration Clinics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gutierrez, Jennifer C; Terwiesch, Christian; Pelak, Mary; Pettit, Amy R; Marcus, Steven C

    2015-01-01

    Medical home models seek to increase efficiency and maximize the use of resources by ensuring that all care team members work at the top of their licenses. We sought to break down primary care office visits into measurable activities to better under stand how primary care providers (PCPs) currently spend visit time and to provide insight into potential opportunities for revision or redistribution of healthcare tasks. We videotaped 27 PCPs during office visits with 121 patients at four Veterans Health Administration medical centers. Based on patterns emerging from the data, we identified a taxonomy of 12 provider activity categories that enabled us to quantify the frequency and duration of activities occurring during routine primary care visits. We conducted descriptive and multivariate analyses to examine associations between visit characteristics and provider and clinic characteristics. We found that PCPs spent the greatest percentage of their visit time discussing existing conditions (20%), discussing new conditions (18%), record keeping (13%), and examining patients (13%). Providers spent the smallest percentage of time on preventive care and coordination of care. Mean visit length was 22.9 minutes (range 7.9-58.0 minutes). Site-level ratings of medical home implementation were not associated with differences in how visit time was spent. These data provide a window into how PCPs are spending face-to-face time with patients. The methodology and taxonomy presented here may prove useful for future quality improvement and research endeavors, particularly those focused on opportunities to increase nonappointment care and to ensure that team members work at the top of their skill level.

  9. Veterans Affairs Suicide Prevention Synthetic Dataset

    Data.gov (United States)

    Department of Veterans Affairs — The VA's Veteran Health Administration, in support of the Open Data Initiative, is providing the Veterans Affairs Suicide Prevention Synthetic Dataset (VASPSD). The...

  10. Human Papillomavirus Testing by Veterans Administration Women's Health Providers: Are They Adhering to Guidelines?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hallett, Laura D; Gerber, Megan R

    2017-09-08

    Evidence-based guidelines have been created by professional societies, including the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (ASCCP), for use of human papillomavirus (HPV) cotesting in cervical cancer screening. We investigated whether Veterans Health Administration (VA) providers at one VA medical center follow these guidelines. Retrospective chart review of women aged 21-65 who had an HPV test ordered with pap testing in fiscal year 2014 at one Veterans Administration (VA) medical center to evaluate concordance of HPV ordering with screening (USPSTF) and management (ASCCP) guidelines. We collected data on patient characteristics and gynecologic history and documented the reason, if given, for HPV testing. Of the 210 eligible HPV tests evaluated, 142 tests (68%) were determined to be guideline discordant. Of the 142 guideline-discordant tests, 90 had no documented reason for HPV testing in the chart. Site of care was not significant. This study demonstrates potential overuse of HPV testing among women's health providers at one VA medical center. This may indicate that VA providers lack an understanding of HPV cotesting guidelines. Further studies are needed to characterize VA provider adherence to HPV testing guidelines nationally. Implementation of educational interventions and decision aids may improve VA providers' adherence to guidelines.

  11. Yoga versus education for Veterans with chronic low back pain: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saper, Robert B; Lemaster, Chelsey M; Elwy, A Rani; Paris, Ruth; Herman, Patricia M; Plumb, Dorothy N; Sherman, Karen J; Groessl, Erik J; Lynch, Susan; Wang, Shihwe; Weinberg, Janice

    2016-04-29

    Chronic low back pain is the most frequent pain condition in Veterans and causes substantial suffering, decreased functional capacity, and lower quality of life. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress, depression, and mild traumatic brain injury are highly prevalent in Veterans with back pain. Yoga for low back pain has been demonstrated to be effective for civilians in randomized controlled trials. However, it is unknown if results from previously published trials generalize to military populations. This study is a parallel randomized controlled trial comparing yoga to education for 120 Veterans with chronic low back pain. Participants are Veterans ≥18 years old with low back pain present on at least half the days in the past six months and a self-reported average pain intensity in the previous week of ≥4 on a 0-10 scale. The 24-week study has an initial 12-week intervention period, where participants are randomized equally into (1) a standardized weekly group yoga class with home practice or (2) education delivered with a self-care book. Primary outcome measures are change at 12 weeks in low back pain intensity measured by the Defense and Veterans Pain Rating Scale (0-10) and back-related function using the 23-point Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire. In the subsequent 12-week follow-up period, yoga participants are encouraged to continue home yoga practice and education participants continue following recommendations from the book. Qualitative interviews with Veterans in the yoga group and their partners explore the impact of chronic low back pain and yoga on family relationships. We also assess cost-effectiveness from three perspectives: the Veteran, the Veterans Health Administration, and society using electronic medical records, self-reported cost data, and study records. This study will help determine if yoga can become an effective treatment for Veterans with chronic low back pain and psychological comorbidities. ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02224183.

  12. Coordinating Care Across Health Care Systems for Veterans With Gynecologic Malignancies: A Qualitative Analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zuchowski, Jessica L; Chrystal, Joya G; Hamilton, Alison B; Patton, Elizabeth W; Zephyrin, Laurie C; Yano, Elizabeth M; Cordasco, Kristina M

    2017-07-01

    Veterans concurrently using both Veterans Affairs (VA) and community providers and facilities have increased coordination needs related to bridging their care across health care settings. Women Veterans commonly require a combination of VA and community care if they have women-specific specialty care needs, such as gynecologic malignancies. We assessed VA women's health providers' and administrators' perceptions of coordination challenges for Veterans' gynecologic cancer care, and potential approaches for addressing these challenges. We carried out semistructured qualitative interviews with field-based key informants (VA gynecologists, women's health medical directors, and other staff directly involved in women's health care coordination) at 15 VA facilities. Transcripts were summarized in a template to capture key points. Themes were identified and iteratively revised (inductively/deductively) via a collaborative decision-making process utilizing matrices to compare content across interviews. Key informants (n=23) noted that services for patients with gynecologic cancers are provided through a combination of VA and community care with wide variation in care arrangements by facility. Care coordination challenges included care fragmentation, lack of role clarity and care tracking, and difficulties associated with VA and community provider communication, patient communication, patient records exchange, and authorizations. Care coordination roles suggested for addressing challenges included: care tracker, provider point-of-contact, patient liaison, and records administrator. Experiences in coordinating care for women Veterans with gynecologic malignancies receiving concurrent VA and community cancer care reveal challenges inherent in delivering care across health care systems, as well as potential approaches for addressing them.

  13. Benzodiazepine prescribing patterns and deaths from drug overdose among US veterans receiving opioid analgesics: case-cohort study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Park, Tae Woo; Saitz, Richard; Ganoczy, Dara; Ilgen, Mark A; Bohnert, Amy S B

    2015-06-10

    To study the association between benzodiazepine prescribing patterns including dose, type, and dosing schedule and the risk of death from drug overdose among US veterans receiving opioid analgesics. Case-cohort study. Veterans Health Administration (VHA), 2004-09. US veterans, primarily male, who received opioid analgesics in 2004-09. All veterans who died from a drug overdose (n=2400) while receiving opioid analgesics and a random sample of veterans (n=420,386) who received VHA medical services and opioid analgesics. Death from drug overdose, defined as any intentional, unintentional, or indeterminate death from poisoning caused by any drug, determined by information on cause of death from the National Death Index. During the study period 27% (n=112,069) of veterans who received opioid analgesics also received benzodiazepines. About half of the deaths from drug overdose (n=1185) occurred when veterans were concurrently prescribed benzodiazepines and opioids. Risk of death from drug overdose increased with history of benzodiazepine prescription: adjusted hazard ratios were 2.33 (95% confidence interval 2.05 to 2.64) for former prescriptions versus no prescription and 3.86 (3.49 to 4.26) for current prescriptions versus no prescription. Risk of death from drug overdose increased as daily benzodiazepine dose increased. Compared with clonazepam, temazepam was associated with a decreased risk of death from drug overdose (0.63, 0.48 to 0.82). Benzodiazepine dosing schedule was not associated with risk of death from drug overdose. Among veterans receiving opioid analgesics, receipt of benzodiazepines was associated with an increased risk of death from drug overdose in a dose-response fashion. © Park et al 2015.

  14. The Unique Health Needs of Post-9/11 U.S. Veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Waszak, Daria L; Holmes, Aline M

    2017-09-01

    This article applies a hazard-based approach to the identification of physical, mental, and psychosocial health needs of post-9/11 veterans. The weaponry, survival, and population of servicemen and women by the military have evolved over time, particularly during the post-9/11 era. It is evident that military hazards and potential exposures vary depending on not only the deployment era but also the specific location and role. Many individual factors may affect the development of health problems. Recent evidence-based literature about post-9/11 veterans' long-term complex health issues is summarized, so occupational health nurses can advocate for the provision of veteran-sensitive care.

  15. 75 FR 79323 - Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-12-20

    ... accepted ``disease model'' of alcoholism and drug addiction treatment, as well as the modern use of medical... information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. The proposed amendments to title... contributes to a veteran's homelessness. Substance use disorder means alcoholism or addiction to a drug that...

  16. The value from investments in health information technology at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Byrne, Colene M; Mercincavage, Lauren M; Pan, Eric C; Vincent, Adam G; Johnston, Douglas S; Middleton, Blackford

    2010-04-01

    We compare health information technology (IT) in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to norms in the private sector, and we estimate the costs and benefits of selected VA health IT systems. The VA spent proportionately more on IT than the private health care sector spent, but it achieved higher levels of IT adoption and quality of care. The potential value of the VA's health IT investments is estimated at $3.09 billion in cumulative benefits net of investment costs. This study serves as a framework to inform efforts to measure and calculate the benefits of federal health IT stimulus programs.

  17. Characteristics of veterans receiving buprenorphine vs. methadone for opioid use disorder nationally in the Veterans Health Administration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manhapra, Ajay; Quinones, Lantie; Rosenheck, Robert

    2016-03-01

    The advent of buprenorphine as an alternative to methadone has dramatically shifted the landscape of opioid agonist therapy (OAT) for opioid use disorder (OUD). However, there is limited US national level data describing thedifferences between patients who are prescribed these two OAT options. From veterans with OUD diagnosis who used Veterans Health Administration services in 2012, we identified 3 mutually exclusive groups: those who received (1) buprenorphine only (n=5,670); (2) methadone only (n=6,252); or (3) both buprenorphine and methadone in the same year (n=2513). We calculated the bi-varate effect size differences (risk ratios and Cohen's d) forcharacteristics that differentiated these groups. Logistic regression analysis was then used to identify factors independently differentiating the groups. Ten year increment in age (OR 0.67; 95% CI 0.64-0.70), urban residence (OR 0.26; 95% CI 0.25-0.33), and black race (OR 0.39; 95% CI 0.35-0.43) were strongly and negatively associated with odds of receiving buprenorphine compared to methadone, while medical and psychiatric comorbidities or receipt of other psychiatric medications did not demonstrate substantial differences between groups. Differences between veterans receiving buprenorphine or methadone based OAT seems to be largely shaped by demographic characteristics rather than medical or psychiatric or service use characteristics. A clearer understanding of the reasons for racial differences could be helpful in assuring that black OUD patients are not denied the opportunity to receive buprenorphine if that is their preference. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

  18. Mental Health Productivity Monitoring in the Veterans Health Administration: Challenges and Lessons Learned.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kearney, Lisa K; Smith, Clifford; Kivlahan, Daniel R; Gresen, Robert C; Moran, Eileen; Schohn, Mary; Trafton, Jodie; Zeiss, Antonette M

    2017-07-17

    Achieving quality outcomes and cost efficiency within mental health are overarching objectives of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). The mental health care workforce has long been oriented toward the goal of high quality outcomes; however, cost efficiency has only recently been elevated into this important value equation. With increased demand for access to mental health services within the VHA, leadership sought to advance methods of determining and improving mental health provider productivity. Monitoring of productivity data may also provide data signaling the potential need for additional staffing to keep up with demand for services. This article outlines VHA's development and specification of mental health productivity policy, implementation strategies, and a discussion of challenges and lessons learned for other systems to consider in implementing productivity monitoring. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved).

  19. Tailoring Care to Vulnerable Populations by Incorporating Social Determinants of Health: the Veterans Health Administration?s ?Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team? Program

    OpenAIRE

    O?Toole, Thomas P.; Johnson, Erin E.; Aiello, Riccardo; Kane, Vincent; Pape, Lisa

    2016-01-01

    Introduction Although the clinical consequences of homelessness are well described, less is known about the role for health care systems in improving clinical and social outcomes for the homeless. We described the national implementation of a ?homeless medical home? initiative in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and correlated patient health outcomes with characteristics of high-performing sites. Methods We conducted an observational study of 33 VHA facilities with homeless medical ho...

  20. Mental health of Dutch peacekeeping veterans 10-25 years after deployment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klaassens, Ellen R; van Veen, Tineke; Weerts, Jos M P; Zitman, Frans G

    2008-10-01

    This report describes the mental health of Dutch peacekeeping veterans, 10--25 years after deployment, and its association with deployment-related traumatic events. We randomly selected a group of 1046 peacekeeping veterans, who participated in military missions in Lebanon, former Yugoslavia, and various other missions between 1979 and 1997. We sent a questionnaire assessing current levels of psychological distress (Brief Symptom Inventory--BSI), and a questionnaire assessing trauma related to deployment. Psychological data were available for 729 veterans. In 83% of the veterans, no significant psychological distress was found, whereas 17% scored above the BSI cut-off for psychopathology. Interestingly, this percentage was equal to that in a non-patient norm group. From this finding we concluded that 10--25 years post-deployment, Dutch peacekeeping veterans do not show more psychological distress than the general Dutch population. In addition, we did not find a significant association between trauma exposure 10--25 years ago and current BSI scores. Moreover, trauma-exposure explained only 9% of the variance in psychological distress. Thus, although military peacekeeping operations may have a strong impact on the lives of soldiers, in this group of veterans they do not seem to have caused severe psychological distress10--25 years after deployment.

  1. Implementation of Lung Cancer Screening in the Veterans Health Administration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kinsinger, Linda S; Anderson, Charles; Kim, Jane; Larson, Martha; Chan, Stephanie H; King, Heather A; Rice, Kathryn L; Slatore, Christopher G; Tanner, Nichole T; Pittman, Kathleen; Monte, Robert J; McNeil, Rebecca B; Grubber, Janet M; Kelley, Michael J; Provenzale, Dawn; Datta, Santanu K; Sperber, Nina S; Barnes, Lottie K; Abbott, David H; Sims, Kellie J; Whitley, Richard L; Wu, R Ryanne; Jackson, George L

    2017-03-01

    The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends annual lung cancer screening (LCS) with low-dose computed tomography for current and former heavy smokers aged 55 to 80 years. There is little published experience regarding implementing this recommendation in clinical practice. To describe organizational- and patient-level experiences with implementing an LCS program in selected Veterans Health Administration (VHA) hospitals and to estimate the number of VHA patients who may be candidates for LCS. This clinical demonstration project was conducted at 8 academic VHA hospitals among 93 033 primary care patients who were assessed on screening criteria; 2106 patients underwent LCS between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2015. Implementation Guide and support, full-time LCS coordinators, electronic tools, tracking database, patient education materials, and radiologic and nodule follow-up guidelines. Description of implementation processes; percentages of patients who agreed to undergo LCS, had positive findings on results of low-dose computed tomographic scans (nodules to be tracked or suspicious findings), were found to have lung cancer, or had incidental findings; and estimated number of VHA patients who met the criteria for LCS. Of the 4246 patients who met the criteria for LCS, 2452 (57.7%) agreed to undergo screening and 2106 (2028 men and 78 women; mean [SD] age, 64.9 [5.1] years) underwent LCS. Wide variation in processes and patient experiences occurred among the 8 sites. Of the 2106 patients screened, 1257 (59.7%) had nodules; 1184 of these patients (56.2%) required tracking, 42 (2.0%) required further evaluation but the findings were not cancer, and 31 (1.5%) had lung cancer. A variety of incidental findings, such as emphysema, other pulmonary abnormalities, and coronary artery calcification, were noted on the scans of 857 patients (40.7%). It is estimated that nearly 900 000 of a population of 6.7 million VHA patients met the criteria for LCS. Implementation of

  2. Racial and Ethnic Health Care Disparities Among Women in the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System: A Systematic Review.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carter, Andrea; Borrero, Sonya; Wessel, Charles; Washington, Donna L; Bean-Mayberry, Bevanne; Corbelli, Jennifer

    2016-01-01

    Women are a rapidly growing segment of patients who seek care in the Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare System, yet many questions regarding their health care experiences and outcomes remain unanswered. Racial and ethnic disparities have been well-documented in the general population and among veterans; however, prior disparities research conducted in the VA focused primarily on male veterans. We sought to characterize the findings and gaps in the literature on racial and ethnic disparities among women using the VA. We systematically reviewed the literature on racial and ethnic health care disparities exclusively among women using the VA Healthcare System. We included studies that examined health care use, satisfaction, and/or quality, and stratified data by race or ethnicity. Nine studies of the 2,591 searched met our inclusion criteria. The included studies examined contraception provision/access (n = 3), treatment of low bone mass (n = 1), hormone therapy (n = 1), use of mental health or substance abuse-related services (n = 2), trauma exposure and use of various services (n = 1), and satisfaction with primary care (n = 1). Five of nine studies showed evidence of a significant racial or ethnic difference. In contrast with the wealth of literature examining disparities both among the male veterans and women in non-VA settings, only nine studies examine racial and ethnic disparities specifically among women in the VA Healthcare System. These results demonstrate that there is an unmet need to further assess health care disparities among female VA users. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  3. Use of health services and medicines amongst Australian war veterans: a comparison of young elderly, near centenarians and centenarians.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roughead, Elizabeth E; Kalisch, Lisa M; Ramsay, Emmae N; Ryan, Philip; Gilbert, Andrew L

    2010-11-04

    Age and life expectancy of residents in many developed countries, including Australia, is increasing. Health resource and medicine use in the very old is not well studied. The purpose of this study was to identify annual use of health services and medicines by very old Australian veterans; those aged 95 to 99 years (near centenarians) and those aged 100 years and over (centenarians). The study population included veterans eligible for all health services subsidised by the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) aged 95 years and over at August 1st 2006. A cohort of veterans aged 65 to 74 years was identified for comparison. Data were sourced from DVA claims databases. We identified all claims between August 1st 2006 and July 31st 2007 for medical consultations, pathology, diagnostic imaging and allied health services, hospital admissions, number of prescriptions and unique medicines. Chi squared tests were used to compare the proportion of centenarians (those aged 100 years and over) and near centenarians (those aged 95 to 99 years) who accessed medicines and health services with the 65 to 74 year age group. For those who accessed health services during follow up, Poisson regression was used to compare differences in the number of times centenarians and near centenarians accessed each health service compared to 65 to 74 year olds. A similar proportion (98%) of centenarians and near centenarians compared to those aged 65 to 74 consulted a GP and received prescription medicine during follow up. A lower proportion of centenarians and near centenarians had claims for specialist visits (36% and 57% respectively), hospitalisation (19% and 24%), dental (12% and 18%), physiotherapy (13% and 15%), pathology(68% and 78%) and diagnostic imaging services (51% and 68%) (p < 0.0001) and a higher proportion had claims for care plans (19% and 25%), occupational therapy (15% and 17%) and podiatry services (54% and 58%) (p < 0.0001). Compared to those aged 65 to 74, a lower proportion

  4. Use of health services and medicines amongst Australian war veterans: a comparison of young elderly, near centenarians and centenarians

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ryan Philip

    2010-11-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Age and life expectancy of residents in many developed countries, including Australia, is increasing. Health resource and medicine use in the very old is not well studied. The purpose of this study was to identify annual use of health services and medicines by very old Australian veterans; those aged 95 to 99 years (near centenarians and those aged 100 years and over (centenarians. Methods The study population included veterans eligible for all health services subsidised by the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA aged 95 years and over at August 1st 2006. A cohort of veterans aged 65 to 74 years was identified for comparison. Data were sourced from DVA claims databases. We identified all claims between August 1st 2006 and July 31st 2007 for medical consultations, pathology, diagnostic imaging and allied health services, hospital admissions, number of prescriptions and unique medicines. Chi squared tests were used to compare the proportion of centenarians (those aged 100 years and over and near centenarians (those aged 95 to 99 years who accessed medicines and health services with the 65 to 74 year age group. For those who accessed health services during follow up, Poisson regression was used to compare differences in the number of times centenarians and near centenarians accessed each health service compared to 65 to 74 year olds. Results A similar proportion (98% of centenarians and near centenarians compared to those aged 65 to 74 consulted a GP and received prescription medicine during follow up. A lower proportion of centenarians and near centenarians had claims for specialist visits (36% and 57% respectively, hospitalisation (19% and 24%, dental (12% and 18%, physiotherapy (13% and 15%, pathology(68% and 78% and diagnostic imaging services (51% and 68% (p Conclusions Medical consultations and medicines are the health services most frequently accessed by Australian veteran centenarians and near centenarians. For most

  5. Prevalence and correlates of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among veterans in primary care referred for a mental health evaluation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ashrafioun, Lisham; Pigeon, Wilfred R; Conner, Kenneth R; Leong, Shirley H; Oslin, David W

    2016-01-01

    The Veterans Health Administration has made concerted efforts to increase mental health services offered in primary care. However, few studies have evaluated correlates of suicidal ideation and suicide attempt in veterans in primary care-mental health integration (PCMHI). The purpose of the present study is to examine associations between suicidal ideation and suicide attempts as dependent variables and demographic and clinical factors as the independent variables. Veterans (n=3004) referred from primary care to PCMHI were contacted for further assessment, which included past-year severity of suicidal thoughts (none, low, high) and attempts using the Paykel Suicide Scale, mental health disorders, and illicit drug use. Multinomial logistic regression models were used to identify correlates of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Thoughts of taking one's life was endorsed by 24% of participants and suicide attempts were reported in 2%. In adjusted models, depression, psychosis, mania, PTSD and generalized anxiety disorder were associated with high severity suicidal ideation, but not suicide attempt. Illicit drug use was not associated with suicidal ideation, but was the only variable associated with suicide attempt. The study was cross-sectional, focused on one clinical setting, and the suicide attempt analyses had limited power. PCMHI is a critical setting to assess suicidal ideation and suicide attempt and researchers and clinicians should be aware that the differential correlates of these suicide-related factors. Future research is needed to identify prospective risk factors and assess the utility of follow-up care in preventing suicide. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  6. Characteristics and VA Health Care Utilization of U.S. Veterans Who Completed Suicide in Oregon between 2000 and 2005

    Science.gov (United States)

    Basham, Chandra; Denneson, Lauren M.; Millet, Lisa; Shen, Xun; Duckart, Jonathan; Dobscha, Steven K.

    2011-01-01

    Oregon Violent Death Reporting System data were linked with Veterans Affairs (VA) administrative data to identify and describe veterans who completed suicide in Oregon from 2000 to 2005 (n = 968), and to describe their VA health care utilization in the year prior to death. Twenty-two percent had received health care in the VA system. Of these, 57%…

  7. Patient-Centered Pain Care Using Artificial Intelligence and Mobile Health Tools: Protocol for a Randomized Study Funded by the US Department of Veterans Affairs Health Services Research and Development Program.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Piette, John D; Krein, Sarah L; Striplin, Dana; Marinec, Nicolle; Kerns, Robert D; Farris, Karen B; Singh, Satinder; An, Lawrence; Heapy, Alicia A

    2016-04-07

    Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective treatments for chronic low back pain. However, only half of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) patients have access to trained CBT therapists, and program expansion is costly. CBT typically consists of 10 weekly hour-long sessions. However, some patients improve after the first few sessions while others need more extensive contact. We are applying principles from "reinforcement learning" (a field of artificial intelligence or AI) to develop an evidence-based, personalized CBT pain management service that automatically adapts to each patient's unique and changing needs (AI-CBT). AI-CBT uses feedback from patients about their progress in pain-related functioning measured daily via pedometer step counts to automatically personalize the intensity and type of patient support. The specific aims of the study are to (1) demonstrate that AI-CBT has pain-related outcomes equivalent to standard telephone CBT, (2) document that AI-CBT achieves these outcomes with more efficient use of clinician resources, and (3) demonstrate the intervention's impact on proximal outcomes associated with treatment response, including program engagement, pain management skill acquisition, and patients' likelihood of dropout. In total, 320 patients with chronic low back pain will be recruited from 2 VA healthcare systems and randomized to a standard 10 sessions of telephone CBT versus AI-CBT. All patients will begin with weekly hour-long telephone counseling, but for patients in the AI-CBT group, those who demonstrate a significant treatment response will be stepped down through less resource-intensive alternatives including: (1) 15-minute contacts with a therapist, and (2) CBT clinician feedback provided via interactive voice response calls (IVR). The AI engine will learn what works best in terms of patients' personally tailored treatment plans based on daily feedback via IVR about their pedometer-measured step counts, CBT skill

  8. Treatment of Veterans with depression who died by suicide: timing and quality of care at last Veterans Health Administration visit.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Eric G; Craig, Thomas J; Ganoczy, Dara; Walters, Heather M; Valenstein, Marcia

    2011-05-01

    To examine the recency and quality of the last Veterans Health Administration (VHA) visit for patients with depression who died by suicide. We obtained services and pharmacy data for all 1,843 VHA patients with diagnosed depressive disorders (DSM-IV criteria) who died by suicide from April 1999 through September 2004. We ascertained the location and timing of their final VHA visit. For visits occurring within 30 days of suicide, we examined 3 quality indicators: (1) evidence that mental illness was a focus of the final visit, (2) adequacy of antidepressant dosage, and (3) recent receipt of mental health services. Just over half of the patients (51%) with depression diagnoses had a VHA visit within 30 days of suicide. A minority of these patients (43%) died by suicide within 30 days of a final visit with mental health services, although 64% had received such services within 91 days of their suicide. Among the 57% of patients who died by suicide within 30 days and who were seen in non-mental health settings for their final visit, only 34% had a mental health condition coded at the final visit, and only 41% were receiving adequate dosages of antidepressant (versus 55% for those last seen by mental health services) (P Health Administration patients with depression who died by suicide within 30 days of their final visit received relatively high rates of mental health services, but most final visits still occurred in non-mental health settings. Increased referrals to mental health services, attention to mental health issues in non-mental health settings, and focus on antidepressant treatment adequacy by all providers might have reduced suicide risks for these patients. © Copyright 2011 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.

  9. Using a framework for spread: The case of patient access in the Veterans Health Administration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nolan, Kevin; Schall, Marie W; Erb, Fabiane; Nolan, Thomas

    2005-06-01

    Experience indicates that an effective operational system will spread much more slowly than, for example, a new antinausea drug. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) used a Framework for Spread to spread improvements in access to more than 1800 outpatient clinics between April 2001 and December 2003. The framework identifies strategies and methods for planning and guiding the spread of new ideas or new operational systems, including the responsibilities of leadership, packaging the new ideas, communication, strengthening the social system, measurement and feedback, and knowledge management. APPLYING THE FRAMEWORK FOR SPREAD: Following a collaborative for reducing waiting times for patients without the large-scale addition of resources, each of the participating 22 Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs) used the framework to expand improvements in access to care to six additional targeted clinics (for example, primary care, eye care, cardiology). During the VHAs spread initiative, waiting time for a primary care appointment decreased from 60.4 days at the end of fiscal year (FY) 2000 to 28.4 at the end of FY 2002. Results were sustained. Waiting time was <25 days at the end of FY 2004. The Framework for Spread suggests areas that organizations should consider when developing and executing a strategy for a spread initiative. Further study is needed to determine the specific activities that should be emphasized to accelerate spread.

  10. Exercise for PTSD in Women Veterans: A Proof-of-Concept Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shivakumar, Geetha; Anderson, Elizabeth H; Surís, Alina M; North, Carol S

    2017-11-01

    The safety, feasibility, and efficacy of a 12-week structured exercise program targeting post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in women Veterans of childbearing age was tested in a pilot study. Thirty-one women Veterans of childbearing age were enrolled in the study, 22 remained eligible after the baseline assessment, and 16 completed the exercise protocol. The exercise program consisted of moderate intensity aerobic exercise (brisk walking), 4 times a week, for 12 weeks. Data were collected on duration, intensity, and side effects. The Clinician Administered PTSD Scale was administered at baseline and at the end of 12 weeks. Weekly assessments provided data on PTSD and depression symptoms, pain, and quality of life. Both post-traumatic and depressive symptoms improved significantly by the end of study. There were no adverse events related to exercise. A small focus group provided subjective experiences supporting positive effects of exercise on emotion and physical health. The preliminary results of this study suggests that 12 weeks of moderate intensity aerobic exercise may be a promising intervention for PTSD in women Veterans of childbearing potential. Further controlled studies are warranted to determine efficacy of moderate intensity exercise as a treatment modality for this population. Reprint & Copyright © 2017 Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S.

  11. Impact of Childhood Abuse on Physical and Mental Health Status and Health Care Utilization Among Female Veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mercado, Rowena C; Wiltsey-Stirman, Shannon; Iverson, Katherine M

    2015-10-01

    To determine whether childhood abuse predicts health symptoms and health care use among female veterans. Participants were 369 female patients at Veterans Affairs hospitals in New England who completed a mail survey. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to determine the differential impact of childhood physical abuse and childhood sexual abuse on health symptoms and health care use, while accounting for age, race, military branch, and military sexual trauma (MST). In our sample, 109 (29%) female veterans reported experiencing childhood abuse. After adjusting for age, race, military branch, childhood sexual abuse, and MST, childhood physical abuse was predictive of poorer physical health, and greater depressive and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. No significant association was found between childhood sexual abuse and poor physical or mental health status. After adjusting for other factors, childhood physical abuse was associated with more frequent use of medical health care. Childhood sexual abuse was not a predictor for health care use. Childhood physical abuse remains an important contributor to physical health and mental health, even after adjusting for the more proximate experience of MST. Screening for adverse childhood experiences may facilitate access to appropriate physical and mental health treatment among female veterans. Reprint & Copyright © 2015 Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S.

  12. Incidence of cancer among UK Gulf war veterans: cohort study

    OpenAIRE

    Macfarlane, Gj; Biggs, Am; Maconochie, N; Hotopf, M; Doyle, P; Lunt, M

    2003-01-01

    Objectives To determine whether incidence rates of cancer are higher in UK service personnel who were deployed in the Gulf war than in those not deployed and whether any increased risk of cancer is related to self reported exposures to potentially hazardous material during the period of deployment. Design A cohort study with follow up from 1 April 1991 (the end of the Gulf war) to 31 July 2002. Participants 51721 Gulf war veterans and 50 755 service personnel matched for age, sex, rank, servi...

  13. The Association of Graph Literacy With Use of and Skills Using an Online Personal Health Record in Outpatient Veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruiz, Jorge G; Andrade, Allen D; Hogue, Christie; Karanam, Chandana; Akkineni, Sisir; Cevallos, David; Anam, Ramanakumar; Sharit, Joseph

    2016-01-01

    Personal health records (PHRs) are intended to increase patients' access to and ownership over their health care information for self-management purposes. The purpose of this study was to determine the association of graph literacy with adoption of an online PHR and, among adopters with self-reported skills, the frequency of use and intent to return to use the PHR . We conducted a cross-sectional survey of veterans receiving outpatient care. We measured health literacy, numeracy, graph literacy, and Internet and PHR adoption and use. We compared subgroups of veterans using analyses of covariance. We used hierarchical logistic regression models to estimate the effects of the literacy variables on PHR use. A total of 600 veterans (age = 22-94) participated in the survey. After we adjusted for known covariates, we found that adopters of a PHR were more likely to demonstrate higher health and graph literacy than nonadopters. Among PHR adopters, self-reported frequent and skillful users were more likely to have higher graph literacy than lower frequency and less skillful users. Adopters with higher intentions to return to use the PHR were more likely to show lower graph literacy than those less likely to return to use the PHR. Inadequate graph literacy was associated with lower adoption of a PHR and, among users, with lower self-reported frequent use and skills . As PHR use becomes more widespread, stakeholders will need to consider patients' levels of graph literacy when implementing PHRs.

  14. Ethnic-related stressors in the war zone: case studies of Asian American Vietnam veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loo, Chalsa M; Lim, Brian R; Koff, Gabriel; Morton, Robert K; Kiang, Peter N C

    2007-09-01

    Empirical research has shown that exposure to race-related stressors in the military by Asian American Pacific Islander Vietnam veterans, now reliably measurable, contributes uniquely and significantly to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and generalized psychiatric distress; moreover, studies reveal that adverse race-related events can meet Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV criteria for a PTSD diagnosis. Competence in treating PTSD or general psychiatric distress requires understanding the types of, and effects of, adverse race-related events experienced by ethnic minority veterans. Case studies highlight two types of race-related stressors-"bicultural identification and conflict" and "racial stigmatization"-which placed the veteran at greater risk of death and reduced cohesion with fellow service members. The studies demonstrate the presence of race-related stressors in one or more of the four major types of war zone stressors: traditional combat, atrocities-abusive violence, perceived threat, and malevolent environment. These case studies supplement the empirical findings on race-related stressors and PTSD, enlarging the clinician's understanding of this unique type of mental health risk factor.

  15. Military veterans with mental health problems: a protocol for a systematic review to identify whether they have an additional risk of contact with criminal justice systems compared with other veterans groups.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Taylor, James; Parkes, Tessa; Haw, Sally; Jepson, Ruth

    2012-11-06

    There is concern that some veterans of armed forces, in particular those with mental health, drug or alcohol problems, experience difficulty returning to a civilian way of life and may subsequently come into contact with criminal justice services and imprisonment. The aim of this review is to examine whether military veterans with mental health problems, including substance use, have an additional risk of contact with criminal justice systems when compared with veterans who do not have such problems. The review will also seek to identify veterans' views and experiences on their contact with criminal justice services, what contributed to or influenced their contact and whether there are any differences, including international and temporal, in incidence, contact type, veteran type, their presenting health needs and reported experiences. In this review we will adopt a methodological model similar to that previously used by other researchers when reviewing intervention studies. The model, which we will use as a framework for conducting a review of observational and qualitative studies, consists of two parallel synthesis stages within the review process; one for quantitative research and the other for qualitative research. The third stage involves a cross study synthesis, enabling a deeper understanding of the results of the quantitative synthesis. A range of electronic databases, including MEDLINE, PsychINFO, CINAHL, will be systematically searched, from 1939 to present day, using a broad range of search terms that cover four key concepts: mental health, military veterans, substance misuse, and criminal justice. Studies will be screened against topic specific inclusion/exclusion criteria and then against a smaller subset of design specific inclusion/exclusion criteria. Data will be extracted for those studies that meet the inclusion criteria, and all eligible studies will be critically appraised. Included studies, both quantitative and qualitative, will then undergo

  16. Military Sexual Trauma Among Homeless Veterans

    OpenAIRE

    Pavao, Joanne; Turchik, Jessica A.; Hyun, Jenny K.; Karpenko, Julie; Saweikis, Meghan; McCutcheon, Susan; Kane, Vincent; Kimerling, Rachel

    2013-01-01

    ABSTRACT BACKGROUND Military sexual trauma (MST) is the Veteran Health Administration?s (VHA) term for sexual assault and/or sexual harassment that occurs during military service. The experience of MST is associated with a variety of mental health conditions. Preliminary research suggests that MST may be associated with homelessness among female Veterans, although to date MST has not been examined in a national study of both female and male homeless Veterans. OBJECTIVE To estimate the prevale...

  17. Psychosocial Functioning and Health-Related Quality of Life Associated with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Male and Female Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans: The VALOR Registry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fang, Shona C; Schnurr, Paula P; Kulish, Andrea L; Holowka, Darren W; Marx, Brian P; Keane, Terence M; Rosen, Raymond

    2015-12-01

    Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans suffer from high rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Given the growing number of women in the military, there is a critical need to understand the nature and extent of potential gender differences in PTSD-associated psychosocial functioning and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) veterans, which has not been studied to date. We used data from a gender-balanced national patient registry of warzone-deployed OEF/OIF veterans (Project VALOR: Veterans After-Discharge Longitudinal Registry) to determine the impact of gender on PTSD-related psychosocial functioning and HRQOL in 1,530 United States Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans (50% female) with and without PTSD. Overall psychosocial functioning was assessed with the Inventory of Psychosocial Functioning (IPF) and mental and physical HRQOL with the Veterans RAND 12-item Health Survey (VR-12) Mental and Physical Component Summary scores, respectively. Stratified linear regression models estimated gender-specific associations, controlling for demographic, deployment, and postdeployment factors. Interaction models tested for significant effect moderation by gender. In gender-stratified models, PTSD was strongly associated with higher IPF scores (greater functional impairment), with similar associations by gender. PTSD was also associated with lower Mental Component Summary scores (lower mental HRQOL) in both men and women, with no evidence of effect moderation by gender. PTSD was associated with lower Physical Component Summery scores in women but not men in adjusted models; however, interactions were not significant. PTSD among warzone-deployed OEF/OIF veterans is associated with significant impairments in both overall psychosocial functioning and HRQOL, with associations that are largely similar by gender. Findings support the need for thorough and continuous assessment of functional impairment and HRQOL

  18. 38 CFR 1.17 - Evaluation of studies relating to health effects of radiation exposure.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-07-01

    ... 38 Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans' Relief 1 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Evaluation of studies relating to health effects of radiation exposure. 1.17 Section 1.17 Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans' Relief DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS GENERAL PROVISIONS Program Evaluation § 1.17 Evaluation of studies relating to health effects of radiation...

  19. Comparison Study of Memory Status in War-PTSD Veterans With Depression and Non- Veterans Depressed Patient

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anvari SS

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available Background: Cognitive problems in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD include poor concentration and impaired memory. Prevalence of PTSD in all aspects of life is 8% in USA. Regarding the importance of memory in functional levels, this study was performed to review memory status in these patients. Methods: Fifty male war veterans with PTSD and major depression and 50 male non-veterans with depression participated in this study performed at psychiatric outpatient ward in Baqiyatallah hospital during 2008-2009. The patients met the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria. Depression severity, sex, age, educational level, and marital status were matched in both groups. A psychologist completed demographic and Mississippi questionnaires, PTSD checklist (PCL, beck depression Inventory and wechsler memory scale. The collected data were analyzed using SPSS software (version 11.0. A P-value smaller than 0.05 was considered significant.Results: The mean age of the veterans and non-veterans was 43.9±4.7 and 42±9.4 years, respectively. Memory status did not differ between the two groups (P>0.05. There was no statistically significant correlation between duration and severity of PTSD with memory impairment (P>0.05. A negative correlation was found between personal and general information with re-experiencing in the veterans (P<0.05. Impaired memory was correlated with age greater than 45, educational level lower than high school diploma, severity of depression and longer participation in war. Conclusion: Although both PTSD and major depression affected memory, but memory status did not differ between patients with PTSD and depression and patients with chronic depression.

  20. Course of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder 40 Years After the Vietnam War: Findings From the National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marmar, Charles R; Schlenger, William; Henn-Haase, Clare; Qian, Meng; Purchia, Emily; Li, Meng; Corry, Nida; Williams, Christianna S; Ho, Chia-Lin; Horesh, Danny; Karstoft, Karen-Inge; Shalev, Arieh; Kulka, Richard A

    2015-09-01

    The long-term course of readjustment problems in military personnel has not been evaluated in a nationally representative sample. The National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study (NVVLS) is a congressionally mandated assessment of Vietnam veterans who underwent previous assessment in the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS). To determine the prevalence, course, and comorbidities of war-zone posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) across a 25-year interval. The NVVLS survey consisted of a self-report health questionnaire (n = 1409), a computer-assisted telephone survey health interview (n = 1279), and a telephone clinical interview (n = 400) in a representative national sample of veterans who served in the Vietnam theater of operations (theater veterans) from July 3, 2012, through May 17, 2013. Of 2348 NVVRS participants, 1920 were alive at the outset of the NVVLS, and 81 died during recruitment; 1450 of the remaining 1839 (78.8%) participated in at least 1 NVVLS study phase. Data analysis was performed from May 18, 2013, through January 9, 2015, with further analyses continued through April 13, 2015. Study instruments included the Mississippi Scale for Combat-Related PTSD, PTSD Checklist for DSM-IV supplemented with PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 items (PCL-5+), Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS-5), and Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV, Nonpatient Version. Among male theater veterans, we estimated a prevalence (95% CI) of 4.5% (1.7%-7.3%) based on CAPS-5 criteria for a current PTSD diagnosis; 10.8% (6.5%-15.1%) based on CAPS-5 full plus subthreshold PTSD; and 11.2% (8.3%-14.2%) based on PCL-5+ criteria for current war-zone PTSD. Among female veterans, estimates were 6.1% (1.8%-10.3%), 8.7% (3.8%-13.6%), and 6.6% (3.5%-9.6%), respectively. The PCL-5+ prevalence (95% CI) of current non-war-zone PTSD was 4.6% (2.6%-6.6%) in male and 5.1% (2.3%-8.0%) in female theater veterans. Comorbid major depression occurred in 36.7% (95% CI, 6

  1. An Exploration of Returning Veterans' Sexual Health Issues Using a Brief Self‐Report Measure

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gregory R. Beaulieu, PhD

    2015-12-01

    Conclusions: Screening using an empirically validated self‐report instrument indicates that there is a high prevalence of reported sexual dysfunction among recently deployed veterans. Analyses indicated that there are specific characteristics associated with both overall self‐reported sexual dysfunction and specific subtypes of sexual dysfunction. Active assessment of specific aspects of sexual dysfunction concerns may allow providers to identify and implement more precise sexual functioning interventions. Beaulieu GR, Latini DM, Helmer DA, Powers‐James C, Houlette C, and Kauth MR. An exploration of returning veterans sexual health issues using a brief self‐report measure. Sex Med 2015;3:287–294.

  2. Opioid medication use in patients with gastrointestinal diagnoses vs unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms in the US Veterans Health Administration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sayuk, G S; Kanuri, N; Gyawali, C P; Gott, B M; Nix, B D; Rosenheck, R A

    2018-03-01

    While opioid prescriptions have increased alarmingly in the United States (US), their use for unexplained chronic gastrointestinal (GI) pain (eg, irritable bowel syndrome) carries an especially high risk for adverse effects and questionable benefit. To compare opioid use among US veterans with structural GI diagnoses (SGID) and those with unexplained GI symptoms or functional GI diagnoses (FGID), a group for whom opioids have no accepted role. Veterans Health Administration (VHA) administrative data from fiscal year 2012 were used to identify veterans with diagnostic codes recorded for SGID and FGID. This cohort study examined VHA pharmacy data to compare groups receiving ≥ 1 opioid prescription during the year and number of prescriptions filled. Bivariate and multiple logistic regression analyses adjusted for potential confounding factors (demographics, medical diagnoses, social factors) and identified potential mediators (service use, psychiatric comorbidity) of opioid use in these groups. A greater proportion of veterans with FGID received an opioid prescription during fiscal year 2012 (36.0% of 272 431) compared to only 28.9% of 1 223 744 in the SGID group (Relative Risk [RR] = 1.25). In multivariate logistic regression, personality disorders and drug abuse (OR 1.23 for each group), recent homelessness (OR 1.22), psychotropic medication fills (OR 1.55) and emergency department encounters (OR 1.21) were independently associated with opioid prescription use. Despite the potential for adverse consequences, opioids more often are prescribed for veterans with chronic, unexplained GI symptoms compared to those with structural diagnoses. Psychiatric comorbidities and frequent healthcare encounters mediate some of the opioid use risk. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  3. The challenges experienced by Iranian war veterans living with chemical warfare poisoning: a descriptive, exploratory study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hassankhani, Hadi; Taleghani, Fariba; Mills, Jane; Birks, Melanie; Francis, Karen; Ahmadi, Fazlolah

    2010-06-01

    This exploratory, descriptive study investigates the experiences of Iranian war veterans living with chronic disease acquired as a result of chemical warfare. Sulphur mustard (SM) is considered one of the most important agents of chemical warfare and was widely used during the Iran-Iraq conflict in 1980-1988. There are approximately 100 000 Iranian SM casualties who suffer from serious long-term progressive health problems involving their respiratory organs, eyes and skin. Seventeen male Iranian war veterans aged between 30 and 59 years and four victims' family members participated in the study. Data was generated during individual in-depth interviews that used open-ended questions. Grounded theory techniques, including the constant comparative method of concurrent data generation and analysis, were employed in the analysis of data. Preliminary results indicate two main thematic categories: social isolation and physical disability. It is argued that a lack of knowledge about the outcomes of SM poisoning, physical restrictions and difficulty in adjusting socially decreases war veterans' functional capacity and levels of independence.

  4. Relationship of hospital organizational culture to patient safety climate in the Veterans Health Administration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hartmann, Christine W; Meterko, Mark; Rosen, Amy K; Shibei Zhao; Shokeen, Priti; Singer, Sara; Gaba, David M

    2009-06-01

    Improving safety climate could enhance patient safety, yet little evidence exists regarding the relationship between hospital characteristics and safety climate. This study assessed the relationship between hospitals' organizational culture and safety climate in Veterans Health Administration (VA) hospitals nationally. Data were collected from a sample of employees in a stratified random sample of 30 VA hospitals over a 6-month period (response rate = 50%; n = 4,625). The Patient Safety Climate in Healthcare Organizations (PSCHO) and the Zammuto and Krakower surveys were used to measure safety climate and organizational culture, respectively. Higher levels of safety climate were significantly associated with higher levels of group and entrepreneurial cultures, while lower levels of safety climate were associated with higher levels of hierarchical culture. Hospitals could use these results to design specific interventions aimed at improving safety climate.

  5. Racial and ethnic disparities in the control of cardiovascular disease risk factors in Southwest American veterans with type 2 diabetes: the Diabetes Outcomes in Veterans Study

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Duckworth William C

    2006-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Racial/ethnic disparities in cardiovascular disease complications have been observed in diabetic patients. We examined the association between race/ethnicity and cardiovascular disease risk factor control in a large cohort of insulin-treated veterans with type 2 diabetes. Methods We conducted a cross-sectional observational study at 3 Veterans Affairs Medical Centers in the American Southwest. Using electronic pharmacy databases, we randomly selected 338 veterans with insulin-treated type 2 diabetes. We collected medical record and patient survey data on diabetes control and management, cardiovascular disease risk factors, comorbidity, demographics, socioeconomic factors, psychological status, and health behaviors. We used analysis of variance and multivariate linear regression to determine the effect of race/ethnicity on glycemic control, insulin treatment intensity, lipid levels, and blood pressure control. Results The study cohort was comprised of 72 (21.3% Hispanic subjects (H, 35 (10.4% African Americans (AA, and 226 (67% non-Hispanic whites (NHW. The mean (SD hemoglobin A1c differed significantly by race/ethnicity: NHW 7.86 (1.4%, H 8.16 (1.6%, AA 8.84 (2.9%, p = 0.05. The multivariate-adjusted A1c was significantly higher for AA (+0.93%, p = 0.002 compared to NHW. Insulin doses (unit/day also differed significantly: NHW 70.6 (48.8, H 58.4 (32.6, and AA 53.1 (36.2, p Conclusion In our cohort, insulin-treated minority veterans, particularly AA, had poorer glycemic control and received lower doses of insulin than NHW. However, we found no differences for control of other cardiovascular disease risk factors. The diabetes treatment disparity could be due to provider behaviors and/or patient behaviors or preferences. Further research with larger sample sizes and more geographically diverse populations are needed to confirm our findings.

  6. The psychological health and well-being experiences of female military veterans: a systematic review of the qualitative literature.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, Gemma L; Hanley, T

    2017-10-01

    Women in the military are a minority group who, in addition to facing exposure to traumatic events due to the nature of the work, face additional stressors while deployed. It is argued that these exposures and experiences place individuals at a significantly higher risk of finding it difficult adjusting post deployment. This paper focuses on the psychological health and well-being of female veterans post-deployment. A systematic review of the literature related to female veterans' experiences upon returning home from deployment was conducted. Eight in-depth qualitative studies met the inclusion criteria for the study and were analysed using thematic analysis. Five key themes were identified in the papers: (1) bringing the war home, (2) post-deployment adjustment, (3) loss, (4) failed belongingness and (5) post-traumatic growth. These studies provide a useful insight into the different psychological health and well-being experiences that female veterans encounter. Additionally, the associated effects upon the individual and their families and communities are considered. Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://www.bmj.com/company/products-services/rights-and-licensing/.

  7. Chaplaincy and mental health in the department of Veterans affairs and department of defense.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nieuwsma, Jason A; Rhodes, Jeffrey E; Jackson, George L; Cantrell, William C; Lane, Marian E; Bates, Mark J; Dekraai, Mark B; Bulling, Denise J; Ethridge, Keith; Drescher, Kent D; Fitchett, George; Tenhula, Wendy N; Milstein, Glen; Bray, Robert M; Meador, Keith G

    2013-01-01

    Chaplains play important roles in caring for Veterans and Service members with mental health problems. As part of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense (DoD) Integrated Mental Health Strategy, we used a sequential approach to examining intersections between chaplaincy and mental health by gathering and building upon: 1) input from key subject matter experts; 2) quantitative data from the VA / DoD Chaplain Survey (N = 2,163; response rate of 75% in VA and 60% in DoD); and 3) qualitative data from site visits to 33 VA and DoD facilities. Findings indicate that chaplains are extensively involved in caring for individuals with mental health problems, yet integration between mental health and chaplaincy is frequently limited due to difficulties between the disciplines in establishing familiarity and trust. We present recommendations for improving integration of services, and we suggest key domains for future research.

  8. New to care: demands on a health system when homeless veterans are enrolled in a medical home model.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Toole, Thomas P; Bourgault, Claire; Johnson, Erin E; Redihan, Stephen G; Borgia, Matthew; Aiello, Riccardo; Kane, Vincent

    2013-12-01

    We compared service use among homeless and nonhomeless veterans newly enrolled in a medical home model and identified patterns of use among homeless veterans associated with reductions in emergency department (ED) use. We used case-control matching with a nested cohort analysis to measure 6-month health services use, new diagnoses, and care use patterns in veterans at the Providence, Rhode Island, Veterans Affairs Medical Center from 2008 to 2011. We followed 127 homeless and 106 nonhomeless veterans. Both groups had similar rates of chronic medical and mental health diagnoses; 25.4% of the homeless and 18.1% of the nonhomeless group reported active substance abuse. Homeless veterans used significantly more primary, mental health, substance abuse, and ED care during the first 6 months. Homeless veterans who accessed primary care at higher rates (relative risk ratio [RRR] = 1.46; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.11, 1.92) or who used specialty and primary care (RRR = 10.95; 95% CI = 1.58, 75.78) had reduced ED usage. Homeless veterans in transitional housing or doubled-up at baseline (RRR = 3.41; 95% CI = 1.24, 9.42) had similar reductions in ED usage. Homeless adults had substantial health needs when presenting for care. High-intensity primary care and access to specialty care services could reduce ED use.

  9. Veterans Crisis Line: Videos About Reaching out for Help

    Medline Plus

    Full Text Available ... listen? see more videos from Veterans Health Administration 1 Act see more videos from Veterans Health Administration ... videos from Veterans Health Administration The Power of 1 PSA see more videos from Veterans Health Administration ...

  10. Veterans Crisis Line: Videos About Reaching out for Help

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    Full Text Available ... listen? see more videos from Veterans Health Administration 1 Act see more videos from Veterans Health Administration ... from Veterans Health Administration Lost: The Power of One Connection see more videos from Veterans Health Administration ...

  11. A Core Course on Veterans' Health in an Online RN to BSN Program: Preparing Nurses to Work with Veterans

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keavney, Elaine C.

    2015-01-01

    The Joining Forces Initiative challenges nursing programs throughout the country to develop curriculum that addresses the unique healthcare issues facing veterans. It is imperative that Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students acquire the knowledge that will help them to care for veterans in all areas of nursing practice. This article…

  12. Increasing physical activity for veterans in the Mental Health Intensive Case Management Program: A community-based intervention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harrold, S Akeya; Libet, Julian; Pope, Charlene; Lauerer, Joy A; Johnson, Emily; Edlund, Barbara J

    2017-08-01

    the comfort of their familiar living environment, veterans were assisted to meet their physical and mental health goals with a program that could easily be integrated into their daily lives. Healthy People 2020 developed goals to improve levels of physical activity and has ranked physical activity as a leading health indicator (US DHHS. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Physical activity topic overview. In Healthy People 2020. 2016. Retrieved from https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/physical-activity). Individuals with SMI are significantly less active than the general population (Shor and Shalev, 2014). It is sometimes difficult for the average individual to obtain the recommended 10,000 steps and even more difficult for those with SMI. Lifestyle modifications, in particular diet and exercise, are recommended for improvement of chronic disease outcomes (US Preventive Services Counseling Task Force, 2016). The health benefits of physical activity for people with SMI are mixed (Pearsall R, Smith D, Pelosi A, Geddes J. Exercise therapy in adults with serious mental illness: A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Psychiatr. 2014;14:117). Some studies found significant physical health benefits, while others did not. However, according to a review by Soundy et al., physical exercise is shown to not only have physical benefits but also psychosocial benefits. One of the barriers that hinder participation in physical activities is accessibility (Shor and Shalev, 2014). Integrating a more personalized supported, and in-home pedometer program into mental healthcare should ensure better access to interventions that could possibly reverse the causes of premature death. The program was offered to 69 veterans in the MHICM. Forty-nine agreed to start the program and 20 declined. Twenty-five clients actually started the program with 17 veterans completing it. Preimplementation data included collecting blood pressure and weight measures for

  13. Student veterans' construction and enactment of resilience: A constructivist grounded theory study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reyes, A T; Kearney, C A; Isla, K; Bryant, R

    2018-02-01

    WHAT IS KNOWN ON THE SUBJECT?: Resilience is an ability and a process that allows an individual to develop positive adaptation despite challenges and adversities. Many military veterans returning to college after their military service have difficulty transitioning to civilian life. Although some research exists that explores factors related to the resilience of college student veterans, limited theoretical descriptions exist that explain how student veterans construct resilience, and how resilience is enacted and enhanced in their academic and personal (non-academic) lives. WHAT THIS PAPER ADDS TO EXISTING KNOWLEDGE?: The resilience of student veterans involves a complex process of transitioning from military to civilian life and an iterative journey between positive adaptation and transient perturbations. Student veterans' resilience is a result of integrating and resolving various aspects of their academic and personal challenges. WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE?: Nurses can apply this grounded theory as a practical framework for equipping student veterans with effective strategies to develop and enhance resilience. Nurses can employ a holistic approach of care in their interactions with military veterans and student veterans that includes fostering psychological resilience, helping to manage their multiple non-academic responsibilities and supporting their academic success. Introduction Adjusting to college life is one of the most difficult experiences in a military veteran's transition to civilian life. Many military veterans returning to college not only encounter academic challenges, but also deal with physical and psychiatric disabilities, loss of military camaraderie and social disconnect. These often negatively affect their personal and academic lives. Hence, it is important to explore resilience to best support student veterans as they transition from military to civilian life. Aim The aim of this study was to explore how student veterans

  14. Risk factors for homelessness among women veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Washington, Donna L; Yano, Elizabeth M; McGuire, James; Hines, Vivian; Lee, Martin; Gelberg, Lillian

    2010-02-01

    Women veterans are three to four times more likely than non-veteran women to become homeless. However, their risk factors for homelessness have not been defined. Case-control study of non-institutionalized homeless women veterans (n533) and age-matched housed women veterans (n=165). Health, health care, and factors associated with homelessness were assessed using multiple logistic regression with a Monte Carlo algorithm to estimate exact standard errors of the model coefficients and p-values. Characteristics associated with homelessness were sexual assault during military service, being unemployed, being disabled, having worse overall health, and screening positive for an anxiety disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder. Protective factors were being a college graduate or married. Efforts to assess housed women veterans' risk factors for homelessness should be integrated into clinical care programs within and outside the Veterans Administration. Programs that work to ameliorate risk factors may prevent these women's living situations from deteriorating over time.

  15. Bisphosphonates and hip and nontraumatic subtrochanteric femoral fractures in the Veterans Health Administration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Safford, Monika M; Barasch, Andrei; Curtis, Jeffrey R; Outman, Ryan; Saag, Kenneth

    2014-10-01

    Subtrochanteric femoral shaft fractures after little or no trauma have been reported in long-term users of bisphosphonates, but risks relative to hip fracture protective effects and among men are not clear. We examined associations between bisphosphonate use and nontraumatic subtrochanteric (NTST) femoral fractures and hip fractures in the Veterans Health Administration. This retrospective cohort study was conducted using 1998-2007 Veterans Health Administration electronic medical records data on 78,155 individuals who had a fragility fracture at age 45 years or older. Time-to-event analysis examined associations of bisphosphonates with risk of NTST femoral fracture and, separately, hip fracture, controlling for sociodemographics, medications, and comorbid medical conditions. The cohort had a mean age 66.5 years (32.5% were ≥75 years old) at the time of their first fracture, and 69.3% were observed for 6 or more years; only 11.8% were prescribed bisphosphonates during observation. During follow-up, 408 had an NTST femoral second fracture, and 1584 had a hip second fracture. Compared with those never on bisphosphonates, the adjusted hazard ratio for NTST femoral second fracture among patients on 4 years of therapy or longer was 0.40 (95% confidence interval, 0.16-0.97) and for hip second fracture was 0.38 (95% confidence interval, 0.24-0.61). Bisphosphonate treatment in this high-risk cohort was infrequent with few long-term users, limiting power to assess long-term effects. Nontraumatic subtrochanteric femoral fractures were uncommon, and longer bisphosphonate use was associated with lower (not higher) risk. In men, risks of NTST femoral fractures associated with bisphosphonate treatment may be low in contrast to substantial protective benefits for hip fracture.

  16. A Study of Veterans Administration/Department of Defense Health Care Resources Sharing at Keller Army Community Hospital West Point, New York 10996

    Science.gov (United States)

    1984-04-01

    inventory FEAR Fear Inventory FES Family Environment Scale PDS 163 MEDH Medical History PAIN Pain Questionnaire PROB Problem List SEXH Sexual Experiences...Comnmunity Health Nursing (1) Nurse Anesthetists (2) Inhalation Therapy IPPB Treatments Humidity Aerosol Chest Physiotherapy Arterial Blood Samples OB...find its wyto VA ficilte a mokre often the rlta of political pressure from. individual Sth Pain ethafuconierted action by the VA. In truth,~ tratic

  17. Health and functioning among four war eras of U.S. veterans: examining the impact of war cohort membership, socioeconomic status, mental health, and disease prevalence.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Villa, Valentine M; Harada, Nancy D; Washington, Donna; Damron-Rodriguez, JoAnn

    2002-09-01

    This analysis examines the self-rated health and functioning of World War II, Vietnam era, Korean Conflict, and Persian Gulf War veterans participating in the Veteran Identity Program Survey 2001. The results indicate that although World War II veterans are more likely to report poor health status and functioning, Vietnam-era veterans report more difficulty with specific activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living than any other era of veterans. These relationships remain when controlling for race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, disease prevalence, and mental health status. These findings suggest that there are characteristics unique to the Vietnam experience that negatively affect this cohort of veterans. We suggest that further analysis examine the specific pathways through which the experience of being a Vietnam veteran affects health. In the meantime, health and social service planning within the Department of Veterans Affairs should explore the services that should be developed and targeted to this cohort of veterans so that they may remain independent in the community.

  18. For Homeless Veterans

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... for VA health care services and are experiencing homelessness. VA case managers may connect these Veterans with ... Veterans who have experienced long-term or repeated homelessness. As of Sept. 30, 2015, HUD had allocated ...

  19. Temporomandibular joint health status in war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mottaghi, Ahmad; Zamani, Elham

    2014-01-01

    The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of signs and symptoms of temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD) in the Iran/Iraq war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. A total of 120 subjects in the age range of 27 to 55 years were included; it included case group (30 war veterans with PTSD) and three control groups (30 patients with PTSD who had not participated in the War, 30 healthy war veterans, and 30 healthy subjects who had not participated in the War). All subjects underwent a clinical TMJ examination that involved the clinical assessment of the TMJ signs and symptoms. The groups of veterans had high prevalence of TMJD signs and symptoms vs. other groups; history of Trauma to joint was significantly higher in subjects who had participated in the war compare with subjects who had not participated in the war (P = 0.0006). Furthermore, pain in palpation of masseter, temporal, pterygoideus, digastric, and sternocleidomastoid muscles in the groups of veterans was significantly greater than other groups (P TMJ functional status than the control subjects.

  20. The Department of Defense and Veteran Affairs Health Care Joint Venture at Tripler Army Medical Center Needs More Management Oversight

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-09-18

    E M B E R 1 8 , 2 0 1 3 The Department of Defense and Veteran Affairs Health Care Joint Venture at Tripler Army Medical Center Needs More...Department of Defense and Veteran Affairs Health Care Joint Venture at Tripler Army Medical Center Needs More Management Oversight 5a. CONTRACT NUMBER...Health Care Joint Venture at Tripler Army Medical Center Needs More Management Oversight Objective Our audit objective was to determine whether the

  1. Intimate Partner Violence Victimization and Associated Implications for Health and Functioning Among Male and Female Post-9/11 Veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iverson, Katherine M; Vogt, Dawne; Maskin, Rachel M; Smith, Brian N

    2017-09-01

    There is increased emphasis on identifying patients who experience intimate partner violence (IPV) in Department of Veterans Affairs and other health care settings. A better understanding of IPV's implications for health and functioning is needed among post-911 Veterans, and especially male Veterans, to inform IPV screening and response. To identify past 6-month IPV experienced among partnered post-9/11 Veterans and examine sex-based associations between IPV and health. A national sample of Veterans completed a survey that included measures of IPV victimization and health. Types of IPV and relationships with health and functioning were examined separately for male and female Veterans. In total, 407 post-9/11 Veterans (52% women) in intimate relationships. IPV victimization was assessed with the Conflict Tactics Scales-Revised. Health and functioning indicators included posttraumatic stress disorder (PCL-5) and depression (Beck Depression Inventory-Primary Care) symptoms, physical health-related quality of life (Short-Form 12-item Health Survey), and occupational functioning (Inventory of Psychosocial Functioning). Nearly two thirds of both men and women reported past 6-month IPV, with greatest endorsement of psychological aggression (65% of men, 59% of women). A total of 8% of men and 7% of women reported physical IPV and 4% of men and 7% of women reported sexual IPV. Psychological aggression was strongly linked with mental health for both sexes and greater occupational impairment for men. Physical and sexual IPV were associated with more severe mental health symptoms for women while physical IPV was negatively associated with physical health-related quality of life for men. Recent IPV victimization, especially psychological aggression, is a key health issue for partnered male and female post-9/11 Veterans. Practice and research implications are discussed.

  2. Veterans with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease achieve clinically relevant improvements in respiratory health after pulmonary rehabilitation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Major, Stephen; Moreno, Marcella; Shelton, John; Panos, Ralph J

    2014-01-01

    To measure respiratory health and respiratory-related (RR) health care utilization in veterans with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease referred to pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) at the Cincinnati Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Center. We reviewed the records of 430 patients referred for PR from 2008 to 2010: 78 met inclusion criteria and completed PR (PR group); 92 qualified for PR but declined participation (referral group). All PR participants completed the St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ), BODE index, 6-minute walk test (6MWT), UCSD Shortness of Breath Questionnaire (UCSDSOBQ), Pulmonary Disease Knowledge Test, and self-reported use of short-acting bronchodilators before and after PR. All VA health care encounters during the 12 months before and after PR (PR group) or referral (referral group) were reviewed. Respiratory health improved after PR: SGRQ (60.6 ± 15.1, 51.1 ± 16.7), BODE (4.65 ± 1.93, 3.41 ± 1.84), 6MWT (497 ± 367 m, 572 ± 397 m), UCSDSOBQ (68.3 ± 21.1, 61.0 ± 20.9), Pulmonary Disease Knowledge Test (75.9 ± 12.4%, 85.9 ± 11.1%), short-acting bronchodilator (22.5 ± 25.3, 12.8 ± 15.6 inhalations per week) (before, after PR; P rehabilitation improves respiratory health in veterans with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and decreases RR health care utilization.

  3. Military veterans with mental health problems: a protocol for a systematic review to identify whether they have an additional risk of contact with criminal justice systems compared with other veterans groups

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Taylor James

    2012-11-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background There is concern that some veterans of armed forces, in particular those with mental health, drug or alcohol problems, experience difficulty returning to a civilian way of life and may subsequently come into contact with criminal justice services and imprisonment. The aim of this review is to examine whether military veterans with mental health problems, including substance use, have an additional risk of contact with criminal justice systems when compared with veterans who do not have such problems. The review will also seek to identify veterans’ views and experiences on their contact with criminal justice services, what contributed to or influenced their contact and whether there are any differences, including international and temporal, in incidence, contact type, veteran type, their presenting health needs and reported experiences. Methods/design In this review we will adopt a methodological model similar to that previously used by other researchers when reviewing intervention studies. The model, which we will use as a framework for conducting a review of observational and qualitative studies, consists of two parallel synthesis stages within the review process; one for quantitative research and the other for qualitative research. The third stage involves a cross study synthesis, enabling a deeper understanding of the results of the quantitative synthesis. A range of electronic databases, including MEDLINE, PsychINFO, CINAHL, will be systematically searched, from 1939 to present day, using a broad range of search terms that cover four key concepts: mental health, military veterans, substance misuse, and criminal justice. Studies will be screened against topic specific inclusion/exclusion criteria and then against a smaller subset of design specific inclusion/exclusion criteria. Data will be extracted for those studies that meet the inclusion criteria, and all eligible studies will be critically appraised. Included

  4. Increased Health Care Utilization and Costs Among Veterans With a Positive Screen for Military Sexual Trauma.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brignone, Emily; Gundlapalli, Adi V; Blais, Rebecca K; Kimerling, Rachel; Barrett, Tyson S; Nelson, Richard E; Carter, Marjorie E; Samore, Matthew H; Fargo, Jamison D

    2017-09-01

    The effects of sexual trauma on long-term health care utilization and costs are not well understood due to infrequent documentation of sexual trauma history in health care systems. The Veteran's Health Administration provides a unique opportunity to address this constraint as sexual trauma is actively screened for as part of routine care. We used a retrospective cohort design to analyze Veteran's Health Administration mental health and medical service utilization and costs as a function of a positive screen for exposure to military sexual trauma (MST) among Veterans of recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. We computed adjusted 5-year estimates of overall utilization and costs, and utilization and costs determined not to be related to MST. The cohort included 426,223 men and 59,611 women. A positive MST screen was associated with 50% higher health care utilization and costs relative to a negative screen. Overall, a positive relative to negative MST screen was associated with a 5-year incremental difference of 34.6 encounters and $10,734 among women, and 33.5 encounters and $11,484 among men. After accounting for MST-related treatment, positive MST screen was associated with 11.9 encounters and $4803 among women, and 19.5 encounters and $8001 among men. Results demonstrate significant and consistent differences in health care utilization and costs between Veterans with a positive relative to negative MST screen. Even after accounting for MST-related care, a positive screen was associated with significantly higher utilization and costs. MST-related needs may be more readily recognized in women relative to men.

  5. Complications and Failure to Rescue After Inpatient Noncardiac Surgery in the Veterans Affairs Health System.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Massarweh, Nader N; Kougias, Panagiotis; Wilson, Mark A

    2016-12-01

    The quality of surgical care in the Veterans Health Administration improved markedly in the 1990s after implementation of the Veterans Affairs (VA) National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (now called the VA Surgical Quality Improvement Program). Although there have been many recent evaluations of surgical care in the private sector, to date, a contemporary global evaluation has not been performed within the VA health system. To provide a contemporaneous report of noncardiac postoperative outcomes in the VA health system during the past 15 years. A retrospective cohort study was conducted using data from the VA Surgical Quality Improvement Program among veterans who underwent inpatient general, vascular, thoracic, genitourinary, neurosurgical, orthopedic, or spine surgery from October 1, 1999, through September 30, 2014. Rates of 30-day morbidity, mortality, and failure to rescue (FTR) over time. Among 704 901 patients (mean [SD] age, 63.7 [11.8] years; 676 750 [96%] male) undergoing noncardiac surgical procedures at 143 hospitals, complications occurred in 97 836 patients (13.9%), major complications occurred in 66 816 (9.5%), FTR occurred in 12 648 of the 97 836 patients with complications (12.9%), FTR after major complications occurred in 12 223 of the 66 816 patients with major complications (18.3%), and 18 924 patients (2.7%) died within 30 days of surgery. There were significant decreases from 2000 to 2014 in morbidity (8202 of 59 421 [13.8%] vs 3368 of 32 785 [10.3%]), major complications (5832 of 59 421 [9.8%] vs 2284 of 32 785 [7%]), FTR (1445 of 8202 [17.6%] vs 351 of 3368 [10.4%]), and FTR after major complications (1388 of 5832 [23.8%] vs 343 of 2284 [15%]) (trend test, P < .001 for all). Although there were no clinically meaningful differences in rates of complications and major complications across hospital risk-adjusted mortality quintiles (any complications: lowest quintile, 20 945 of 147 721 [14.2%] vs highest

  6. Connecting the dots: interprofessional health education and delivery system redesign at the Veterans Health Administration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gilman, Stuart C; Chokshi, Dave A; Bowen, Judith L; Rugen, Kathryn Wirtz; Cox, Malcolm

    2014-08-01

    Health systems around the United States are embracing new models of primary care using interprofessional team-based approaches in pursuit of better patient outcomes, higher levels of satisfaction among patients and providers, and improved overall value. Less often discussed are the implications of new models of care for health professions education, including education for physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other professions engaged in primary care. Described here is the interaction between care transformation and redesign of health professions education at the largest integrated delivery system in the United States: the Veterans Health Administration (VA). Challenges and lessons learned are discussed in the context of a demonstration initiative, the VA Centers of Excellence in Primary Care Education. Five sites, involving VA medical centers and their academic affiliates in Boise, Cleveland, San Francisco, Seattle, and West Haven, introduced interprofessional primary care curricula for resident physicians and nurse practitioner students beginning in 2011. Implementation struggles largely revolved around the operational logistics and cultural disruption of integrating educational redesign for medicine and nursing and facilitating the interface between educational and clinical activities. To realize new models for interprofessional teaching, faculty, staff, and trainees must understand the histories, traditions, and program requirements across professions and experiment with new approaches to achieving a common goal. Key recommendations for redesign of health professions education revolve around strengthening the union between interprofessional learning, team-based practice, and high-value care.

  7. The acceptability and outcomes of a peer- and health-professional-led Stanford self-management program for Vietnam veterans with alcohol misuse and their partners.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beattie, Jill; Battersby, Malcolm W; Pols, Rene G

    2013-12-01

    The purpose of this study was to determine the acceptability of peer- and health-professional-led self-management education using the Stanford Program with Australian veterans and their partners. The 6-week program taught problem-solving and decision-making skills to activate healthful behaviors, including action-planning and goal-setting. The evaluation included a participant and facilitator postprogram questionnaire; group interview; and alcohol, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, anger, relationship, and quality-of-life measures as part of a randomized controlled study. Participants included 25 male veterans with comorbid alcohol dependency, psychiatric and medical conditions, and 18 female partners (n = 43), 61.5% of who reported a chronic condition. The primary outcome was a self-reported improvement in self-management of their conditions in 69% of participants, with another 22.2% reporting that their confidence to self-manage had improved. There was an improvement in all measures at 9 months. The program resulted in improvements in lifestyle and confidence in self-management for Vietnam veterans, a cohort difficult to engage in healthy behaviors. Most participants were also accompanied by their partners. The program is a valuable resource for providing self-management education to veterans with alcohol dependency and various chronic conditions and needs to be considered in the suite of rehabilitation programs available to Defense Force personnel, veterans, and their partners. PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved.

  8. Root cause analysis of serious adverse events among older patients in the Veterans Health Administration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Alexandra; Mills, Peter D; Neily, Julia; Hemphill, Robin R

    2014-06-01

    Preventable adverse events are more likely to occur among older patients because of the clinical complexity of their care. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) National Center for Patient Safety (NCPS) stores data about serious adverse events when a root cause analysis (RCA) has been performed. A primary objective of this study was to describe the types of adverse events occurring among older patients (age > or = 65 years) in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals. Secondary objectives were to determine the underlying reasons for the occurrence of these events and report on effective action plans that have been implemented in VA hospitals. In a retrospective, cross-sectional review, RCA reports were reviewed and outcomes reported using descriptive statistics for all VA hospitals that conducted an RCA for a serious geriatric adverse event from January 2010 to January 2011 that resulted in sustained injury or death. The search produced 325 RCA reports on VA patients (age > or = 65 years). Falls (34.8%), delays in diagnosis and/or treatment (11.7%), unexpected death (9.9%), and medication errors (9.0%) were the most commonly reported adverse events among older VA patients. Communication was the most common underlying reason for these events, representing 43.9% of reported root causes. Approximately 40% of implemented action plans were judged by local staff to be effective. The RCA process identified falls and communication as important themes in serious adverse events. Concrete actions, such as process standardization and changes to communication, were reported by teams to yield some improvement. However, fewer than half of the action plans were reported to be effective. Further research is needed to guide development and implementation of effective action plans.

  9. Evaluation of a national telemedicine initiative in the Veterans Health Administration: Factors associated with successful implementation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stevenson, Lauren; Ball, Sherry; Haverhals, Leah M; Aron, David C; Lowery, Julie

    2016-11-30

    The Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research was used to evaluate implementation facilitators and barriers of Specialty Care Access Network-Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (SCAN-ECHO) within the Veterans Health Administration. SCAN-ECHO is a video teleconferencing-based programme where specialist teams train and mentor remotely-located primary care providers in providing routine speciality care for common chronic illnesses. The goal of SCAN-ECHO was to improve access to speciality care for Veterans. The aim of this study was to provide guidance and support for the implementation and spread of SCAN-ECHO. Semi-structured telephone interviews with 55 key informants (primary care providers, specialists and support staff) were conducted post-implementation with nine sites and analysed using Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research constructs. Data were analysed to distinguish sites based on level of implementation measured by the numbers of SCAN-ECHO sessions. Surveys with all SCAN-ECHO sites further explored implementation information. Analysis of the interviews revealed three of 14 Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research constructs that distinguished between low and high implementation sites: design quality and packaging; compatibility; and reflecting and evaluating. The survey data generally supported these findings, while also revealing a fourth distinguishing construct - leadership engagement. All sites expressed positive attitudes toward SCAN-ECHO, despite struggling with the complexity of programme implementation. Recommendations based on the findings include: (a) expend more effort in developing and distributing educational materials; (b) restructure the delivery process to improve programme compatibility; (c) establish an audit and feedback mechanism for monitoring and improving the programme; (d) engage in more upfront planning to reduce complexity; and (e) obtain local leadership support for providing primary care

  10. Veterans Crisis Line: Videos About Reaching out for Help

    Medline Plus

    Full Text Available ... from Veterans Health Administration Be There: Help Save a Life see more videos from Veterans Health Administration ... more videos from Veterans Health Administration I am A Veteran Family/Friend Active Duty/Reserve and Guard ...

  11. Mentoring health information professionals in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lloyd, Susan S; Fenton, Susan H

    2008-04-07

    As a major employer of health information professionals, the VA faces significant recruitment and retention challenges. The authors evaluated mentoring as a retention tool through a review of existing literature and the retrospective review of a VA health information management mentoring program. The literature review showed a link between employer mentorship and employee retention, regardless of the nature and structure of the mentoring relationship. Most organizations support employees who are willing to serve as mentors through increased compensation, recognition, and other types of support. No literature was found that studied retention rates for more than three years after a mentoring experience. The review of the VA mentoring program showed increased retention in the three years following enrollment in the program, but the increase was not statistically significant. The review did not demonstrate improvement in retention over a seven-year period. The combined evaluation gives mixed findings for mentorship as a retention tool and demonstrates the need for more research on the topic.

  12. Sleep characteristics of Veterans Affairs Adult Day Health Care participants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hughes, Jaime M; Martin, Jennifer L

    2015-01-01

    Addressing sleep disturbance can help to slow functional decline, delay nursing home admission, and improve overall health among older adults; however, sleep is not widely studied in high-risk older adults such as Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) participants. Sixty-eight ADHC participants were interviewed for sleep disturbance using a 28-item screening questionnaire. More than two thirds (n = 48, 70.6%) reported one or more characteristics of poor sleep, and 38% of participants met basic criteria for insomnia. Individuals with insomnia attended ADHC less frequently, reported worse sleep quality and shorter sleep duration, and were more likely to endorse trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking up too early (ps sleep disturbance within ADHC participants.

  13. Racial And Ethnic Disparities Persist At Veterans Health Administration Patient-Centered Medical Homes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Washington, Donna L; Steers, W Neil; Huynh, Alexis K; Frayne, Susan M; Uchendu, Uchenna S; Riopelle, Deborah; Yano, Elizabeth M; Saechao, Fay S; Hoggatt, Katherine J

    2017-06-01

    Patient-centered medical homes are widely promoted as a primary care delivery model that achieves better patient outcomes. It is unknown if their benefits extend equally to all racial/ethnic groups. In 2010 the Veterans Health Administration, part of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), began implementing patient-centered medical homes nationwide. In 2009 significant disparities in hypertension or diabetes control were present for most racial/ethnic groups, compared with whites. In 2014 hypertension disparities were similar for blacks, had become smaller but remained significant for Hispanics, and were no longer significant for multiracial veterans, whereas disparities had become significant for American Indians/Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians/other Pacific Islanders. By contrast, in 2014 diabetes disparities were similar for American Indians/Alaska Natives, blacks, and Hispanics, and were no longer significant for Native Hawaiians/other Pacific Islanders. We found that the modest benefits of the VA's implementation of patient-centered medical homes were offset by competing multifactorial external, health system, provider, and patient factors, such as increased patient volume. To promote health equity, health care innovations such as patient-centered medical homes should incorporate tailored strategies that account for determinants of racial/ethnic variations. Evaluations of patient-centered medical homes should monitor outcomes for racial/ethnic groups. Project HOPE—The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc.

  14. Prevalence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Aging Vietnam-Era Veterans: Veterans Administration Cooperative Study 569: Course and Consequences of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Vietnam-Era Veteran Twins.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goldberg, Jack; Magruder, Kathryn M; Forsberg, Christopher W; Friedman, Matthew J; Litz, Brett T; Vaccarino, Viola; Heagerty, Patrick J; Gleason, Theresa C; Huang, Grant D; Smith, Nicholas L

    2016-03-01

    The prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among aging Vietnam-era veterans is not well characterized. In a cross-sectional study, 5,598 male Vietnam-era veterans and members of the Vietnam Era Twin Registry were assessed for PTSD using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Current symptoms were measured with the PTSD Checklist (PCL). PTSD was estimated according to age (aged at least 60 years was 16.9% (95% CI: 13.9%-20.5%) and higher than the 5.5% (95% CI: 4.3%-7.0%) among nontheater veterans. Among veterans younger than 60 years, the comparable prevalence was 22.0% for theater (95% CI: 16.7%-28.4%) and 15.7% for nontheater (95% CI: 13.4%-18.2%) veterans. Similar results were found for theater service and current PTSD prevalence (past 12 months). PCL scores were significantly higher in theater compared with nontheater veterans in both younger and older cohorts. In both the younger and older cohorts significant differences in lifetime and current PTSD prevalence and PCL scores persisted in theater service discordant twin pairs. Vietnam service is related to elevated PTSD prevalence and current symptom burden in aging veterans. More than 30 years after the end of the Vietnam conflict, many veterans continue to suffer from PTSD, which highlights the need for continuing outreach throughout the life course. Copyright © 2016 American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. All rights reserved.

  15. Honoring our Nation's Veterans

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robbins RA

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available No abstract available. Article truncated at 150 words. Today is Armistice Day, renamed Veterans Day in 1954, to honor our Nation's Veterans. In Washington the rhetoric from both the political right and left supports our Veterans. My cynical side reminds me that this might have something to do with Veterans voting in a higher percentage than the population as a whole, but let me give the politicians this one. Serving our Country in the military is something that deserves to be honored. I was proud to serve our Veterans over 30 years at the four Department of Veterans Affairs (VA hospitals. However, the VA has had a very bad year. First, in Washington there were the resignations of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki; the undersecretary for the Veterans Health Administration, Robert Petzel; and the undersecretary for the Veterans Benefits Administration, Allison Hickey. Locally, in the light of the VA wait scandal there were the firing of ...

  16. Veterans' voices: use of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Survey to identify My HealtheVet personal health record users' characteristics, needs, and preferences.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nazi, Kim M

    2010-01-01

    Consumer research reveals considerable interest in the use of Personal Health Records (PHRs), yet adoption remains relatively low. Both adopters and nonadopters represent important perspectives from which to understand this paradox. This study focuses on direct feedback from adopters obtained using the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey on the My HealtheVet PHR portal (http://www.myhealth.va.gov) of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). The results represent a source of direct feedback with which to better understand veterans' needs and preferences. The ACSI Survey was implemented in October 2007 to measure satisfaction and elicit information about characteristics and preferences of My HealtheVet PHR adopters. The data represent a continuous random sample of site visitors who have navigated at least four pages on the site. A total of 100 617 surveys were completed (17.2%). Satisfaction with My HealtheVet is high (8.3/10.0), and users are highly likely to return to the site (8.6/10.0) and recommend the site to other veterans (9.1/10.0). The majority of system adopters are male (91%), between the ages of 51 and 70 (68%), and served in the Vietnam War (60%). Most veterans currently visit the site to utilize pharmacy-related features. VHA has used the ACSI to monitor satisfaction, and to better understand the characteristics, needs, and preferences of early adopters. The data provide an important source of direct feedback to inform program development. Future research will include monitoring the impact of enhancements and new features on satisfaction, and conducting additional research with nonadopters to identify barriers to adoption and use.

  17. Veterans' voices: use of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Survey to identify My HealtheVet personal health record users' characteristics, needs, and preferences

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-01

    Background Consumer research reveals considerable interest in the use of Personal Health Records (PHRs), yet adoption remains relatively low. Both adopters and nonadopters represent important perspectives from which to understand this paradox. Objective This study focuses on direct feedback from adopters obtained using the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey on the My HealtheVet PHR portal (http://www.myhealth.va.gov) of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). The results represent a source of direct feedback with which to better understand veterans' needs and preferences. Methods The ACSI Survey was implemented in October 2007 to measure satisfaction and elicit information about characteristics and preferences of My HealtheVet PHR adopters. The data represent a continuous random sample of site visitors who have navigated at least four pages on the site. A total of 100 617 surveys were completed (17.2%). Results Satisfaction with My HealtheVet is high (8.3/10.0), and users are highly likely to return to the site (8.6/10.0) and recommend the site to other veterans (9.1/10.0). The majority of system adopters are male (91%), between the ages of 51 and 70 (68%), and served in the Vietnam War (60%). Most veterans currently visit the site to utilize pharmacy-related features. Conclusion VHA has used the ACSI to monitor satisfaction, and to better understand the characteristics, needs, and preferences of early adopters. The data provide an important source of direct feedback to inform program development. Future research will include monitoring the impact of enhancements and new features on satisfaction, and conducting additional research with nonadopters to identify barriers to adoption and use. PMID:20190065

  18. Recent research on Gulf War illness and other health problems in veterans of the 1991 Gulf War: Effects of toxicant exposures during deployment

    Science.gov (United States)

    White, Roberta F.; Steele, Lea; O’Callaghan, James P.; Sullivan, Kimberly; Binns, James H.; Golomb, Beatrice A.; Bloom, Floyd E.; Bunker, James A.; Crawford, Fiona; Graves, Joel C.; Hardie, Anthony; Klimas, Nancy; Knox, Marguerite; Meggs, William J.; Melling, Jack; Philbert, Martin A.; Grashow, Rachel

    2015-01-01

    Veterans of Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield – the 1991 Gulf War (GW) – are a unique population who returned from theater with multiple health complaints and disorders. Studies in the U.S. and elsewhere have consistently concluded that approximately 25–32% of this population suffers from a disorder characterized by symptoms that vary somewhat among individuals and include fatigue, headaches, cognitive dysfunction, musculoskeletal pain, and respiratory, gastrointestinal and dermatologic complaints. Gulf War illness (GWI) is the term used to describe this disorder. In addition, brain cancer occurs at increased rates in subgroups of GW veterans, as do neuropsychological and brain imaging abnormalities. Chemical exposures have become the focus of etiologic GWI research because nervous system symptoms are prominent and many neurotoxicants were present in theater, including organophosphates (OPs), carbamates, and other pesticides; sarin/cyclosarin nerve agents, and pyridostigmine bromide (PB) medications used as prophylaxis against chemical warfare attacks. Psychiatric etiologies have been ruled out. This paper reviews the recent literature on the health of 1991 GW veterans, focusing particularly on the central nervous system and on effects of toxicant exposures. In addition, it emphasizes research published since 2008, following on an exhaustive review that was published in that year that summarizes the prior literature (RACGWI, 2008). We conclude that exposure to pesticides and/or to PB are causally associated with GWI and the neurological dysfunction in GW veterans. Exposure to sarin and cyclosarin and to oil well fire emissions are also associated with neurologically based health effects, though their contribution to development of the disorder known as GWI is less clear. Gene-environment interactions are likely to have contributed to development of GWI in deployed veterans. The health consequences of chemical exposures in the GW and other conflicts have

  19. Extracting a stroke phenotype risk factor from Veteran Health Administration clinical reports: an information content analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mowery, Danielle L; Chapman, Brian E; Conway, Mike; South, Brett R; Madden, Erin; Keyhani, Salomeh; Chapman, Wendy W

    2016-01-01

    In the United States, 795,000 people suffer strokes each year; 10-15 % of these strokes can be attributed to stenosis caused by plaque in the carotid artery, a major stroke phenotype risk factor. Studies comparing treatments for the management of asymptomatic carotid stenosis are challenging for at least two reasons: 1) administrative billing codes (i.e., Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes) that identify carotid images do not denote which neurovascular arteries are affected and 2) the majority of the image reports are negative for carotid stenosis. Studies that rely on manual chart abstraction can be labor-intensive, expensive, and time-consuming. Natural Language Processing (NLP) can expedite the process of manual chart abstraction by automatically filtering reports with no/insignificant carotid stenosis findings and flagging reports with significant carotid stenosis findings; thus, potentially reducing effort, costs, and time. In this pilot study, we conducted an information content analysis of carotid stenosis mentions in terms of their report location (Sections), report formats (structures) and linguistic descriptions (expressions) from Veteran Health Administration free-text reports. We assessed an NLP algorithm, pyConText's, ability to discern reports with significant carotid stenosis findings from reports with no/insignificant carotid stenosis findings given these three document composition factors for two report types: radiology (RAD) and text integration utility (TIU) notes. We observed that most carotid mentions are recorded in prose using categorical expressions, within the Findings and Impression sections for RAD reports and within neither of these designated sections for TIU notes. For RAD reports, pyConText performed with high sensitivity (88 %), specificity (84 %), and negative predictive value (95 %) and reasonable positive predictive value (70 %). For TIU notes, pyConText performed with high specificity (87 %) and negative predictive

  20. Rehospitalization in the First Year Following Veteran and Service Member TBI: A VA TBI Model Systems Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tran, Johanna; Hammond, Flora; Dams-OʼConnor, Kristen; Tang, Xinyu; Eapen, Blessen; McCarthy, Marissa; Nakase-Richardson, Risa

    To determine the incidence and causes of rehospitalization following military or Veteran traumatic brain injury (TBI). Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Health Administration Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers (VHA PRCs). Consecutive sample of VHA TBI Model System participants (N = 401). Prospective observational cohort study. Number and type of rehospitalizations in first year post-TBI. Forty-one percent of 401 participants were rehospitalized. Rehospitalization status was associated with greater injury severity and receipt of TBI while active duty. Of those rehospitalized, 30% had 2 or more readmissions. Participants experiencing multiple rehospitalizations (2+) were more likely to have sustained their TBI during deployment than those with none or single rehospitalization. This group also sustained more severe injuries and spent more time in VA PRC inpatient rehabilitation. Common reasons for rehospitalization included inpatient rehabilitation (33%), unspecified (26%), orthopedic (10%), seizures (8%), infection (8%), and psychiatric (7%). This is the first study examining military and Veteran rehospitalization following TBI requiring inpatient rehabilitation at a VA PRC. Findings indicate frequent rehospitalizations in the first year postinjury, suggesting the need for preventive models of health maintenance following inpatient rehabilitation discharge. Greater surveillance of those with deployment-related TBI or active duty at the time of injury and greater TBI severity may be warranted.

  1. Physical Health Conditions Among a Population-Based Cohort of Vietnam-Era Women Veterans: Agreement Between Self-Report and Medical Records.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kilbourne, Amy M; Schumacher, Karen; Frayne, Susan M; Cypel, Yasmin; Barbaresso, Michelle M; Nord, Kristina M; Perzhinsky, Juliette; Lai, Zongshan; Prenovost, Katherine; Spiro, Avron; Gleason, Theresa C; Kimerling, Rachel; Huang, Grant D; Serpi, Tracey B; Magruder, Kathryn M

    2017-11-01

    Little is known about medical morbidity among women Vietnam-era veterans, or the long-term physical health problems associated with their service. This study assessed agreement comparing data on physical health conditions from self-report and medical records from a population-based cohort of women Vietnam-era Veterans from the Health of Vietnam Era Women's Study (HealthViEWS). Women Vietnam-era veterans (n = 4219) self-completed a survey and interview on common medical conditions. A subsample (n = 900) were contacted to provide permission to obtain medical records from as many as three of their providers. Medical record reviews were conducted using a standardized checklist. Agreement and kappa (agreement beyond chance) were calculated for physical health condition groups. Of the 900, 449 had medical records returned, and of those, 412 had complete surveys/interviews. The most commonly reported conditions based on self-report or medical record review included hypertension, hyperlipidemia, or arthritis. Kappa scores between self-reported conditions and medical record documentation were 0.75-0.91 for hypertension, diabetes, most cancers, and neurological conditions, but lower (k = 0.29-0.55) for cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal, and gastrointestinal conditions. Generally, agreement did not significantly vary by different sociodemographic groups. There was relatively high agreement for physical health conditions when self-report was compared with medical record review. As more women are increasingly represented in the military and more veterans in general seek care outside the Veterans Health Administration, accurate measurement of physical health conditions among population-based samples is crucial.

  2. Race/ethnicity and gender differences in mental health diagnoses among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koo, Kelly H; Hebenstreit, Claire L; Madden, Erin; Seal, Karen H; Maguen, Shira

    2015-10-30

    Veterans who served in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF; predominantly in Afghanistan) and Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn (OIF and OND; predominantly in Iraq) and are enrolled in the VA are comprised of a growing cohort of women and higher proportions of racial/ethnic minorities than civilians. To compare rates of mental health disorders by race/ethnicity and gender for this diverse cohort, we conducted a retrospective analysis of existing records from OEF/OIF/OND veterans who were seen at the VA 10/7/01-8/1/2013 (N=792,663). We found that race/ethnicity was related to diagnoses of mental health disorders. Asian/Pacific Islanders (A/PIs) were diagnosed with all disorders at lower rates than whites, and American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) males were diagnosed with most disorders at higher rates than white males. Research is needed to identify contributing factors to differential rates of diagnoses based on race/ethnicity and gender. A/PIs and AI/ANs have unique patterns of mental health diagnoses indicating they should be considered separately to present a comprehensive picture of veteran mental health. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

  3. Suicide Mortality Among Patients Treated by the Veterans Health Administration From 2000 to 2007

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bohnert, Amy S. B.; Ilgen, Mark A.; Ignacio, Rosalinda; McCarthy, John F.; Valenstein, Marcia M.; Knox, Kerry L.

    2012-01-01

    Objectives. We sought to examine rates of suicide among individuals receiving health care services in Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facilities over an 8-year period. Methods. We included annual cohorts of all individuals who received VHA health care services from fiscal year (FY) 2000 through FY 2007 (October 1, 1999–September 30, 2007; N = 8 855 655). Vital status and cause of death were obtained from the National Death Index. Results. Suicide was more common among VHA patients than members of the general US population. The overall rates of suicide among VHA patients decreased slightly but significantly from 2000 to 2007 (P < .001). Male veterans between the ages of 30 and 64 years were at the highest risk of suicide. Conclusions. VHA health care system patients are at elevated risk for suicide and are appropriate for suicide reduction services, although the rate of suicide has decreased in recent years for this group. Comprehensive approaches to suicide prevention in the VHA focus not only on recent returnees from Iraq and Afghanistan but also on middle-aged and older Veterans. PMID:22390612

  4. posttraumatic stress and its relationship to physical health functioning in a sample of Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans seeking postdeployment VA health care.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jakupcak, Matthew; Luterek, Jane; Hunt, Stephen; Conybeare, Daniel; McFall, Miles

    2008-05-01

    The relationship between posttraumatic stress and physical health functioning was examined in a sample of Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans seeking postdeployment VA care. Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans (N = 108) who presented for treatment to a specialty postdeployment care clinic completed self-report questionnaires that assessed symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chemical exposure, combat exposure, and physical health functioning. As predicted, PTSD symptom severity was significantly associated with poorer health functioning, even after accounting for demographic factors, combat and chemical exposure, and health risk behaviors. These results highlight the unique influence of PTSD on the physical health in treatment seeking Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans.

  5. Will Veterans Answer Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Questions?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruben, Mollie A; Blosnich, John R; Dichter, Melissa E; Luscri, Lorry; Shipherd, Jillian C

    2017-09-01

    The Veterans Health Administration does not routinely collect and document sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data, despite existing health disparities among sexual and gender minority Veterans. Because of the legacy of previous Department of Defense (DoD) policies that prohibited disclosure of sexual or gender minority identities among active duty personnel, Veterans may be reluctant to respond to SOGI questions. This population-based study assesses item nonresponse to SOGI questions by Veteran status. This is a secondary analysis of data from a population-based sample of adults in 20 US states that elected to administer a SOGI module in the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey. Prevalence of SOGI refusals and responses of "don't know" were compared for Veterans and non-Veterans. Veterans (n=22,587) and non-Veterans (n=146,475) were surveyed. Nearly all Veteran respondents (≥98%) completed the SOGI questions, with 95.4% identifying as heterosexual, 1.2% as gay or lesbian, 1.2% as bisexual, and 0.59% as transgender. A significantly lower proportion of Veterans than non-Veterans refuse to answer sexual orientation (1.5% vs. 1.9%). There was no difference between Veterans and non-Veterans in responses for gender identity. Veterans are just as likely as non-Veterans to complete SOGI items in survey research. Asking Veterans about SOGI is unlikely to yield significant nonresponse. These data suggest that future research should investigate Veterans' perspectives on being asked about SOGI in research settings and as part of routine clinical care.

  6. Illness Among Persian Gulf War Veterans: Case Validation Studies

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Doebbeling, Bradley

    1999-01-01

    ..., and fibromyalgia were particularly elevated. The existence of a causal relationship between either military exposures or other risk factors and documented illness for most symptomatic PGW veterans remains to be demonstrated...

  7. Multiple Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries Are Associated with Increased Rates of Health Symptoms and Gulf War Illness in a Cohort of 1990–1991 Gulf War Veterans

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Megan K. Yee

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available Recent research demonstrated a relation between traumatic brain injury (TBI, health symptoms and diagnosis of Gulf War Illness (GWI in Gulf War Veterans, but no study has examined the impact of multiple mild TBIs (mTBIs. A total of 229 male Gulf War Veterans from the Ft Devens Cohort were categorized by a number of mTBIs reported. One-way ANOVA and chi-square test of independence were used to test for differences in total reported health symptoms and diagnosis of chronic multisymptom illness (CMI or Kansas GWI criteria, two of the most common case definitions of GWI. A total of 72 veterans reported no mTBIs (31.4%, 26 reported one mTBI (11.4%, 25 reported two mTBIs (10.9%, and 106 veterans reported sustaining three or more mTBIs (46.3%. Veterans reporting two or more mTBIs (p < 0.01 or three or more mTBIs (p < 0.001 endorsed significantly higher rates of health symptoms than Veterans reporting no mTBIs. Significantly higher rates of CMI (p = 0.035 and Kansas GWI criteria (p < 0.001 were seen in the three or more mTBI group. Results suggest two mTBIs increase risk of health symptoms, but three mTBIs may be the threshold needed to sustain chronic symptom reporting needed for a formal diagnosis. These findings highlight the importance of implementing policies and procedures monitoring head injuries in military personnel.

  8. Higher Education Military and Veteran Student Program Success: A Qualitative Study of Program Administration Best Practice Application

    Science.gov (United States)

    Murillo, Rose L.

    2017-01-01

    Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine how Southern California community colleges have implemented best practices based on the 8 Keys to Veterans' Success as identified by the U.S. Departments of Education, Defense, and Veterans Affairs to effectively support and retain military and veteran students in higher education programs. The…

  9. Lack of serological evidence for Mycoplasma fermentans infection in army Gulf War veterans: a large scale case-control study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lo, S C; Levin, L; Ribas, J; Chung, R; Wang, R Y; Wear, D; Shih, J W

    2000-12-01

    Mycoplasma firmentans is suspected in the development of 'Gulf War illness' in veterans of Operation Desert Storm. We conducted a matched case-control study for the prevalence of M. firmentans-specific antibodies before and after the operation, as well as seroconversion rates in veterans with and without complaints of 'Gulf War illness'. Cases consisted of Gulf War veterans, who complained of various illnesses and were enrolled in the second phase of the health evaluation by the Army Comprehensive Clinical Examination Program (CCEP). Controls were selected from Gulf War veterans who did not participate in the registry and did not request a health evaluation by the CCEP. Before operation deployment, 34 out of 718 of the cases (48%) and 116 out of 2233 of the controls (5.2%) tested positive for M. fermentans-specific antibodies. There was no difference in rates of seroconversion between cases and controls (1.1 vs. 1.2%) to M. fermentans during Operation Desert Storm. Thus, there is no serological evidence that suggests infectionby M. fermentans is associated with development of 'Gulf War illness'.

  10. Veterans health administration hepatitis B testing and treatment with anti-CD20 antibody administration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hunt, Christine M; Beste, Lauren A; Lowy, Elliott; Suzuki, Ayako; Moylan, Cynthia A; Tillmann, Hans L; Ioannou, George N; Lim, Joseph K; Kelley, Michael J; Provenzale, Dawn

    2016-05-21

    To evaluate pretreatment hepatitis B virus (HBV) testing, vaccination, and antiviral treatment rates in Veterans Affairs patients receiving anti-CD20 Ab for quality improvement. We performed a retrospective cohort study using a national repository of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) electronic health record data. We identified all patients receiving anti-CD20 Ab treatment (2002-2014). We ascertained patient demographics, laboratory results, HBV vaccination status (from vaccination records), pharmacy data, and vital status. The high risk period for HBV reactivation is during anti-CD20 Ab treatment and 12 mo follow up. Therefore, we analyzed those who were followed to death or for at least 12 mo after completing anti-CD20 Ab. Pretreatment serologic tests were used to categorize chronic HBV (hepatitis B surface antigen positive or HBsAg+), past HBV (HBsAg-, hepatitis B core antibody positive or HBcAb+), resolved HBV (HBsAg-, HBcAb+, hepatitis B surface antibody positive or HBsAb+), likely prior vaccination (isolated HBsAb+), HBV negative (HBsAg-, HBcAb-), or unknown. Acute hepatitis B was defined by the appearance of HBsAg+ in the high risk period in patients who were pretreatment HBV negative. We assessed HBV antiviral treatment and the incidence of hepatitis, liver failure, and death during the high risk period. Cumulative hepatitis, liver failure, and death after anti-CD20 Ab initiation were compared by HBV disease categories and differences compared using the χ(2) test. Mean time to hepatitis peak alanine aminotransferase, liver failure, and death relative to anti-CD20 Ab administration and follow-up were also compared by HBV disease group. Among 19304 VHA patients who received anti-CD20 Ab, 10224 (53%) had pretreatment HBsAg testing during the study period, with 49% and 43% tested for HBsAg and HBcAb, respectively within 6 mo pretreatment in 2014. Of those tested, 2% (167/10224) had chronic HBV, 4% (326/7903) past HBV, 5% (427/8110) resolved HBV, 8% (628

  11. Veterans Health Administration Survey of Healthcare Experiences of Patients (SHEP)

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Department of Health & Human Services — A list of VHA hospitals with inpatient experience of care survey data. The VA SHEP uses the same questions as the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Health Providers...

  12. VA Health Care: Actions Needed to Improve Newly Enrolled Veterans Access to Primary Care

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-03-01

    specialty care—such as cardiology or gastroenterology—they are typically referred to a specialist by their primary care provider, and each veteran’s...2015, added it to GAO’s High Risk List.5 To help improve timely access to health care, Congress passed the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability...The Government Accountability Office, the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of Congress , exists to support Congress in meeting its

  13. Behavioral Health and Adjustment to College Life for Student Service Members/Veterans

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schonfeld, Lawrence; Braue, Lawrence A.; Stire, Sheryl; Gum, Amber M.; Cross, Brittany L.; Brown, Lisa M.

    2015-01-01

    Objective: Increasing numbers of student service members/veterans (SSM/Vs) are enrolling in college. However, little is known about how their previous military experience affects their adjustment to this new role. The present study tested the hypothesis that SSM/Vs who report adjustment problems in college have a higher incidence of posttraumatic…

  14. An Observational Study of Service Dogs for Veterans With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yarborough, Bobbi Jo H; Owen-Smith, Ashli A; Stumbo, Scott P; Yarborough, Micah T; Perrin, Nancy A; Green, Carla A

    2017-07-01

    This study examined needs related to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), assistance by service dogs, and feasibility of data collection among veterans receiving service dogs. Questionnaires assessed PTSD-related needs and services performed or expected to be performed by service dogs among 78 veterans who had or were on a wait list for a service dog (average age, 42; women, 31%). Analyses compared pre-post characteristics among 22 veterans who received a service dog as part of the study (91% follow-up; average follow-up=3.37±2.57 months). Veterans reported that the most important services performed were licking or nudging veterans to help them "stay present," preventing panic, and putting space between veterans and strangers. High follow-up rates and improvements in outcomes with moderate to large effect sizes among recipients of study-provided dogs suggest further study is warranted. Service dogs may be feasible supports for veterans with PTSD; randomized clinical trials are needed to assess effectiveness.

  15. Toward a VA Women's Health Research Agenda: Setting Evidence-based Priorities to Improve the Health and Health Care of Women Veterans

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yano, Elizabeth M; Bastian, Lori A; Frayne, Susan M; Howell, Alexandra L; Lipson, Linda R; McGlynn, Geraldine; Schnurr, Paula P; Seaver, Margaret R; Spungen, Ann M; Fihn, Stephan D

    2006-01-01

    The expansion of women in the military is reshaping the veteran population, with women now constituting the fastest growing segment of eligible VA health care users. In recognition of the changing demographics and special health care needs of women, the VA Office of Research & Development recently sponsored the first national VA Women's Health Research Agenda-setting conference to map research priorities to the needs of women veterans and position VA as a national leader in Women's Health Research. This paper summarizes the process and outcomes of this effort, outlining VA's research priorities for biomedical, clinical, rehabilitation, and health services research. PMID:16637953

  16. The mental health of sons and daughters of Australian Vietnam veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Toole, Brian I; Dadds, Mark; Outram, Sue; Catts, Stanley V

    2018-02-07

    War service increases the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to combatants, and has been shown to increase the risk of PTSD in their offspring. The extent to which there is an excess compared with the general population is not yet established, nor whether PTSD increases the risk of other psychiatric problems. A national sample of 133 sons and 182 daughters of a cohort of 179 Australian Vietnam veterans' families were assessed in person, using structured psychiatric interviews. The prevalence of trauma exposures, DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition) diagnoses and suicidality were compared with the Australian Bureau of Statistics' 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing data matched for age and sex. The risk of mental health problems potentially attributable to PTSD was also assessed. Sons and daughters were more likely than population expectations to report exposures to natural disasters, fire or explosions and transport accidents, and sons more likely to report exposure to toxic chemicals whereas daughters were more likely to report sexual assault. Sons and daughters had higher prevalences of alcohol and other substance dependence, depression and anxiety, and PTSD, and children's PTSD was associated with substance dependence, depression and suicidal ideation. There were strong associations between children's PTSD and comorbid conditions of substance use disorders, depression and anxiety. Higher rates of mental health problems in veterans' families, together with comorbidity with PTSD and the link between veterans' and children's PTSD, suggest that the effects of trauma may continue into subsequent generations.

  17. Reduction in patient enrollment in the Veterans Health Administration after media coverage of adverse medical events.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weeks, William B; Mills, Peter D

    2003-12-01

    Health care organizations may experience costs associated with preventable adverse events in the form of poor brand image and subsequent patient disenrollment. A retrospective cohort design was used to determine whether media coverage of adverse events that occurred in Veterans Health Administration (VHA) hospitals was associated with subsequent veteran disenrollment. Twenty-four newspaper reports of medical adverse events that occurred between 1994 and 1999 within the VHA system were identified. Regionally adjusted changes in enrollment rates for VHA facilities that had reported adverse events were compared with those that had not one year before and one and three years after publication of the newspaper reports. Facilities that had published reports of adverse events had lower enrollment rates after publication of the report for two groups of veterans. Within the VHA system, health care organizations involved in adverse events that generated publicity suffered a greater rate of patient disenrollment. If safe patient care practices can reduce adverse publicity, they may enhance corporate value by maintaining enrollment of the patient population.

  18. Validity of Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D scale in a sample of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ana R Quiñones

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available Objectives: Optimal depression screening necessitates measurement tools that are valid across varied populations and in the presence of comorbidities. Methods: This study assessed the test properties of two versions of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale against psychiatric diagnoses established by the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview among a clinical sample of US Veterans deployed during Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and New Dawn. Participants (N = 359 recruited from two Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals completed a clinical interview, structured diagnostic interview, and self-reported measures. Results: Based on diagnostic interview and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th Edition criteria, 29.5% of the sample met diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder and 26.5% met diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder. Both Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression-20 and Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression-10 scales performed well and almost identically against the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview-major depressive disorder in identifying Veterans with major depressive disorder (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression-20 area under the Receiver Operating Characteristic curve 91%; Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression-10 area under the ROC curve 90%. Overall, higher cut points for the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scales performed better in correctly identifying true positives and true negatives for major depressive disorder (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression-20 cut point 18+ sensitivity 92% specificity 72%; Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression-10 cut point 10+ sensitivity 92% specificity 69%. Conclusions: The specificity of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scales was poor among Veterans with co-occurring post-traumatic stress disorder (13% and 16%. Veterans with post

  19. Multi-family Group Treatment for Veterans with Mood Disorders: A Pilot Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sherman, Michelle D; Fischer, Ellen P; Owen, Richard R; Lu, Liya; Han, Xiaotong

    2015-09-01

    Mood disorders affect large numbers of individuals and their families; the ripple effects on relationship functioning can be great. Researchers have advocated for a relational perspective to mood disorder treatment, and several promising treatments have been developed. However, few rigorous evaluations have been conducted within the Veterans Affairs (VA) system. Multifamily group therapy, an evidence-based practice for people living with schizophrenia, has recently been adapted for other psychological disorders with promising results. This report describes the first published evaluation of this treatment modality in the VA system for veterans living with mood disorders. 101 male veterans (74 with major depression and 27 with bipolar disorder) and their family members participated in REACH (Reaching out to Educate and Assist Caring, Healthy Families), a 9-month, manualized, multi-family group treatment, intervention adapted from McFarlane's original multi-family group model. Participants completed self-report questionnaires at four time points across the course of the treatment, and service utilization data for veterans were obtained from VA databases. Both veterans and family members showed improvements in their knowledge about mood disorders, understanding of positive strategies for dealing with situations commonly confronted in mood disorders, and family coping strategies. Veterans also evidenced improvement in family communication and problem-solving behaviors, empowerment, perceived social support, psychiatric symptoms, and overall quality of life. The REACH intervention holds promise as a feasible, acceptable, and effective treatment for veterans living with mood disorders and their families. Further study is warranted.

  20. The transformation experience of the Veterans Health Administration and its relevance to Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fooks, Cathy; Decter, Michael

    2005-01-01

    Over the past few years, there has been a steady stream of visitors to Canada from the US Veterans Health Administration (VA). Led by the former Under Secretary for Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. Ken Kizer, they come to tell the remarkable story of how the VA transformed itself from a hospital-based bureaucracy described as "dangerous, dirty and scandal-ridden" to a healthcare system for veterans recognized for its high-quality, patient-centred care. It is a fascinating story of how a publicly funded healthcare service changed its entire approach to patient care with a quality improvement lens at its core. Fifteen years ago, critics of the VA called for its complete privatization as the only solution to fixing its problems. A team of quality champions set out to prove otherwise. Canada has some lessons to learn. The VA is a compelling role model for Canadian reformers, in large measure, due to its public sector character.

  1. Interest in Use of Technology for Healthcare Among Veterans Receiving Treatment for Mental Health.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Christopher J; McInnes, D Keith; Stolzmann, Kelly; Bauer, Mark S

    2016-10-01

    There is great interest in leveraging technology, including cell phones and computers, to improve healthcare. A range of e-health applications pertaining to mental health such as messaging for prescription refill or mobile device videoconferencing are becoming more available, but little is known about the mental health patient's interest in using these newer applications. We mailed a survey to 300 patients seen in the general mental health clinic of a local Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Survey questions focused on interest in use of cell phones, tablets, and other computers in patients' interactions with the healthcare system. A total of 74 patients, primarily treated for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or anxiety disorders, returned completed surveys. Nearly all reported having a cell phone (72/74, 97%), but fewer than half reported having a smartphone (35/74, 47%). Overall, a substantial majority (64/74, 86%) had access to an Internet-capable device (smartphone or computer, including tablets). Respondents appeared to prefer computers to cell phones for some health-related communications, but did not express differential interest for other tasks (such as receiving appointment reminders). Interest in use was higher among younger veterans. Most veterans with a mental health diagnosis have access to technology (including cell phones and computers) and are interested in using that technology for some types of healthcare-related communications. While there is capacity to utilize information technology for healthcare purposes in this population, interests vary widely, and a substantial minority does not have access to relevant devices. Although interest in using computers for health-related communication was higher than interest in using cell phones, single-platform technology-based interventions may nonetheless exclude crucial segments of the population.

  2. Examining Burnout, Depression, and Self-Compassion in Veterans Affairs Mental Health Staff.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Atkinson, David M; Rodman, John L; Thuras, Paul D; Shiroma, Paulo R; Lim, Kelvin O

    2017-07-01

    Burnout, a state of emotional exhaustion associated with negative personal and occupational outcomes, is prevalent among healthcare providers. A better understanding of the psychological factors that may be associated with resilience to burnout is essential to develop effective interventions. Self-compassion, which includes kindness toward oneself, recognition of suffering as part of shared human experience, mindfulness, and nonjudgment toward inadequacies and failures, may be one such factor. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between burnout, depression, and self-compassion in Veterans Affairs (VA) mental health staff. Cross-sectional study. VA medical center and affiliated community-based clinics. VA mental health staff. The 19-item Copenhagen Burnout Inventory, the 26-item Self-Compassion Scale, and the Patient Health Questionnaire 2-item depression screen. Demographic information included age, sex, years worked in current position, and number of staff supervised. One hundred and twenty-eight of a potential 379 individuals (33.8%) responded. Clerical support, nursing, social work, psychology, and psychiatry were the major professions represented. Self-compassion was inversely correlated with burnout (r = -0.41, p burnout remained significant even after accounting for depressive symptoms and demographic variables in a multiple linear regression model. Of all the variables examined, self-compassion was the strongest predictor of burnout. The results of this study support the hypothesis that self-compassion may be associated with resilience to burnout. Alternatively, decreased self-compassion may be a downstream effect of increased burnout. Prospective, longitudinal studies are needed to determine the directional relationship between these factors, and whether interventions that cultivate self-compassion may decrease burnout and/or protect against its negative personal and professional outcomes.

  3. Combat exposure and mental health: the long-term effects among US Vietnam and Gulf War veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gade, Daniel M; Wenger, Jeffrey B

    2011-04-01

    Using a random sample of more than 4000 veterans, we test the effects of combat exposure on mental health. We focus on two cohorts of veterans: those who served in Vietnam (1964-1975) and the Gulf War (1990-1991). Combat exposure differed between these groups in intensity, duration and elapsed time since exposure. We find that combat exposure generally, and exposure to dead, dying, or wounded people, specifically, is a significant predictor of mental health declines as measured by an individual's Mental Component Summary score. Under our general specifications, the negative effects of combat on mental health were larger for Gulf war veterans than for Vietnam veterans as of 2001. These effects persist after controlling for demographic characteristics, insurance coverage, income and assets. Using discrete factor, nonparametric maximum likelihood (DFML) estimation we controlled for unobserved heterogeneity as well as the factors above. In the DFML specifications we find a negative impact of exposure to dead, wounded or dying people for both Gulf and Vietnam veterans, but find no statistically significant effect for combat exposure overall for Vietnam veterans as of 2001. Based on our Gulf war parameters, we estimate that the costs of mental health declines to be between $87 and $318 per year for each soldier with combat service and exposure to dead, dying and wounded people. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  4. Assessment of biological age and "quantity of health" of judoists-veterans at the exit stage from elite sport

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Volodymyr Perebeynos

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Purpose: the assessment of biological age and "quantity of health" of judoists-veterans that allows estimating the level of functionality of their organism at the exit stage from elite sport and to construct correctly their training and competitive processes. Material & Methods: the systemic-functional approach is applied. The biological age and "quantity of health" of judoists-veterans decided with the help of tests. The group of 28 men and 19 women – judoists-veterans is tested for this purpose. Results: it is proved that the research of biological age of veterans of judo at the exit stage from elite sport, continuing systematic trainings, is of great importance for sports medicine, physical therapy, gerontology, neurology, and also for professional selection in respect of age rationing of intellectual and exercise stresses, assessment of influence of the motive mode on the rate of aging; the carried-out tests allowed to estimate "quantity of health" of judoists-veterans, giving the idea of the level of functionality of their organism. Conclusions: it is proved that judo classes, the correct and positive image of life positively influence health of judoists-veterans.

  5. Veterans Health Administration Timely and Effective Care Data

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Department of Health & Human Services — A list of VHA hospitals with timely and effective care (process of care) measure data. VHA collects this information through a Quality Improvement Organization...

  6. Research on rural veterans: an analysis of the literature.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weeks, William B; Wallace, Amy E; West, Alan N; Heady, Hilda R; Hawthorne, Kara

    2008-01-01

    The Veterans Health Administration (VA) provides comprehensive health care services to veterans across the United States. Recently, the VA established an Office of Rural Health to address the health care needs of rural veterans. To review the literature on rural veterans' health care needs in order to identify areas for future research. We conducted a literature review of articles listed in the Medline, CINAHL, and BIOSIS datasets since 1950. We reviewed and summarized the findings of 50 articles that specifically examined rural veterans. The literature on rural veterans included 4 articles examining access to care, 7 evaluating distance technology, 4 examining new models of care delivery, 11 studying rural veterans' patient characteristics, 10 evaluating programs provided in a rural setting, 6 examining rural health care settings, and 8 exploring rural veterans' health services utilization patterns. Most studies were small, based on data obtained before 2000, and consisted of uncontrolled, retrospective, descriptive studies of health care provided in rural VA settings. Definitions of rural were inconsistent, and in 20% of the articles examined the rural aspect of the setting was incidental to the study. The literature on rural veterans' health care needs warrants expansion and investment so that policy makers can make informed decisions in an environment of limited resources and competing interests.

  7. Suicide risk assessment received prior to suicide death by Veterans Health Administration patients with a history of depression.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Eric G; Kim, Hyungjin Myra; Ganoczy, Dara; Stano, Claire; Pfeiffer, Paul N; Valenstein, Marcia

    2013-03-01

    To examine the quality of suicide risk assessment provided to veterans with a history of depression who died by suicide between 1999 and 2004. We conducted a case-control study of suicide risk assessment information recorded in 488 medical charts of veterans previously diagnosed with major depression, depression not otherwise specified, dysthymia, or other, less common ICD-9-CM depression codes. Patients dying by suicide from April 1999 through September 2004 or comparison patients (n = 244 pairs) were matched for age, sex, entry year, and region. Seventy-four percent of patients with a history of depression received a documented assessment of suicidal ideation within the past year, and 59% received more than 1 assessment. However, 70% of those who died of suicide did not have a documented assessment for suicidal ideation at their final Veterans Health Administration (VHA) visit, even if that visit occurred within 0 through 7 days prior to suicide death. Most patients dying by suicide denied suicidal ideation when assessed (85%; 95% CI, 75%-92%), even just 0 through 7 days prior to suicide death (73%; 95% CI, 39%-94%). Suicidal ideation was assessed more frequently during outpatient final visits with mental health providers (60%) than during outpatient final visits with primary care (13%) or other non-mental health providers (10%, P risk assessment within the past year, but suicide risk assessments were infrequently administered at the final visit of patients who eventually died by suicide. Among patients who had assessments, denial of suicidal ideation appeared to be of limited value. Practice changes are needed to improve suicide risk assessment among patients with histories of depression, including the development of assessment and prevention strategies that are less dependent on the presence or disclosure of suicidal ideation at scheduled medical visits. © Copyright 2013 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.

  8. Being hopeful and continuing to move ahead: religious coping in Iranian chemical warfare poisoned veterans, a qualitative study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hassankhani, Hadi; Taleghani, Fariba; Mills, Jane; Birks, Melanie; Francis, Karen; Ahmadi, Fazlolah

    2010-09-01

    There is a substantial number of Iranian war veterans, exposed to sulfur mustard, who suffer from serious long term progressive health problems involving their respiratory organs, eyes, and skin. Little is known, however, about these casualties' experiences of living with the consequences of sulfur mustard poisoning. This qualitative study aims to provide greater insight into how war veterans live with the consequences of the poisoning and involved 17 Iranian war veterans who had been poisoned by sulfur mustard during the Iran-Iraq conflict. Each participant was interviewed using a semi-structured interview schedule and the data generated through this process was analyzed using constant comparative data analysis technique. Data analysis resulted in "religious beliefs and practices" as a main category, which included two sub-categories: religious value centered life and religious support. Findings suggest that religious belief assists veterans to accept the impact of poisoning on their lives and adapt their lifestyles accordingly, to participate in religious social activities and feel socially supported, and to be hopeful about the future and live their lives as fully as possible.

  9. Tailoring Care to Vulnerable Populations by Incorporating Social Determinants of Health: the Veterans Health Administration’s “Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team” Program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Erin E.; Aiello, Riccardo; Kane, Vincent; Pape, Lisa

    2016-01-01

    Introduction Although the clinical consequences of homelessness are well described, less is known about the role for health care systems in improving clinical and social outcomes for the homeless. We described the national implementation of a “homeless medical home” initiative in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and correlated patient health outcomes with characteristics of high-performing sites. Methods We conducted an observational study of 33 VHA facilities with homeless medical homes and patient- aligned care teams that served more than 14,000 patients. We correlated site-specific health care performance data for the 3,543 homeless veterans enrolled in the program from October 2013 through March 2014, including those receiving ambulatory or acute health care services during the 6 months prior to enrollment in our study and 6 months post-enrollment with corresponding survey data on the Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team (H-PACT) program implementation. We defined high performance as high rates of ambulatory care and reduced use of acute care services. Results More than 96% of VHA patients enrolled in these programs were concurrently receiving VHA homeless services. Of the 33 sites studied, 82% provided hygiene care (on-site showers, hygiene kits, and laundry), 76% provided transportation, and 55% had an on-site clothes pantry; 42% had a food pantry and provided on-site meals or other food assistance. Six-month patterns of acute-care use pre-enrollment and post-enrollment for 3,543 consecutively enrolled patients showed a 19.0% reduction in emergency department use and a 34.7% reduction in hospitalizations. Three features were significantly associated with high performance: 1) higher staffing ratios than other sites, 1) integration of social supports and social services into clinical care, and 3) outreach to and integration with community agencies. Conclusion Integrating social determinants of health into clinical care can be effective for high

  10. Tailoring Care to Vulnerable Populations by Incorporating Social Determinants of Health: the Veterans Health Administration's "Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team" Program.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Toole, Thomas P; Johnson, Erin E; Aiello, Riccardo; Kane, Vincent; Pape, Lisa

    2016-03-31

    Although the clinical consequences of homelessness are well described, less is known about the role for health care systems in improving clinical and social outcomes for the homeless. We described the national implementation of a "homeless medical home" initiative in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and correlated patient health outcomes with characteristics of high-performing sites. We conducted an observational study of 33 VHA facilities with homeless medical homes and patient- aligned care teams that served more than 14,000 patients. We correlated site-specific health care performance data for the 3,543 homeless veterans enrolled in the program from October 2013 through March 2014, including those receiving ambulatory or acute health care services during the 6 months prior to enrollment in our study and 6 months post-enrollment with corresponding survey data on the Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team (H-PACT) program implementation. We defined high performance as high rates of ambulatory care and reduced use of acute care services. More than 96% of VHA patients enrolled in these programs were concurrently receiving VHA homeless services. Of the 33 sites studied, 82% provided hygiene care (on-site showers, hygiene kits, and laundry), 76% provided transportation, and 55% had an on-site clothes pantry; 42% had a food pantry and provided on-site meals or other food assistance. Six-month patterns of acute-care use pre-enrollment and post-enrollment for 3,543 consecutively enrolled patients showed a 19.0% reduction in emergency department use and a 34.7% reduction in hospitalizations. Three features were significantly associated with high performance: 1) higher staffing ratios than other sites, 1) integration of social supports and social services into clinical care, and 3) outreach to and integration with community agencies. Integrating social determinants of health into clinical care can be effective for high-risk homeless veterans.

  11. Racial, Income, and Marital Status Disparities in Hospital Readmissions Within a Veterans-Integrated Health Care Network.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moore, Crystal Dea; Gao, Kelly; Shulan, Mollie

    2015-12-01

    Hospital readmission is an important indicator of health care quality and currently used in determining hospital reimbursement rates by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Given the important policy implications, a better understanding of factors that influence readmission rates is needed. Racial disparities in readmission have been extensively studied, but income and marital status (a postdischarge care support indicator) disparities have received limited attention. By employing three Poisson regression models controlling for different confounders on 8,718 patients in a veterans-integrated health care network, this study assessed racial, income, and martial disparities in relation to total number of readmissions. In contrast to other studies, no racial and income disparities were found, but unmarried patients experienced significantly more readmissions: 16%, after controlling for the confounders. These findings render unique insight into health care policies aimed to improve race and income disparities, while challenging policy makers to reduce readmissions for those who lack family support. © The Author(s) 2013.

  12. Understanding, Predicting, and Preventing Life Changing and Life Threatening Health Changes among Aging Veterans and Civilians with Spinal Cord Injury

    Science.gov (United States)

    2017-10-01

    Veterans and Civilians with Spinal Cord Injury PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: James S Krause, PhD RECIPIENT: Medical University of South Carolina Charleston...Threatening Health Changes among Aging Veterans and Civilians with Spinal Cord Injury 5a. CONTRACT NUMBER 5b. GRANT NUMBER W81XWH-16-1-0629 5c. PROGRAM...STATEMENT Approved for Public Release; Distribution Unlimited 13. SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES 14. ABSTRACT Spinal cord injury (SCI) is associated with secondary

  13. Prevalence and Characteristics of Suicide Ideation and Attempts Among Active Military and Veteran Participants in a National Health Survey

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knox, Kerry L.; Piegari, Rebecca; Altieri, John; Kemp, Janet; Katz, Ira R.

    2012-01-01

    The relationships between military service and suicide are not clear, and comparatively little is known about the characteristics and correlates of suicide ideation and attempts among those with history of military service. We used data from a national health survey to estimate the prevalence and correlates of suicidal behaviors among veterans and service members in 2 states. The prevalence of suicidal behaviors among Veterans was similar to previous estimates of ideation and attempts among adults in the US general population. PMID:22390598

  14. Trust in health care providers: factors predicting trust among homeless veterans over time.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van den Berk-Clark, Carissa; McGuire, James

    2014-08-01

    We examined whether a combination of predisposing, enabling, need, and primary care experience variables would predict trust in medical health care providers for homeless veterans over 18 months. Linear mixed model analysis indicated that, among these variables, race, social support, service-connected disability status, and satisfaction and continuity with providers predicted trust in provider over time. Trust in providers improved during the initial stages of the relationship between patient and provider and then declined to slightly below baseline levels over time. Further research is needed to determine generalizability and effects of provider trust on patient health care status over longer periods of time.

  15. VA health service utilization for homeless and low-income Veterans: a spotlight on the VA Supportive Housing (VASH) program in greater Los Angeles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gabrielian, Sonya; Yuan, Anita H; Andersen, Ronald M; Rubenstein, Lisa V; Gelberg, Lillian

    2014-05-01

    The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-VA Supportive Housing (VASH) program-the VA's Housing First effort-is central to efforts to end Veteran homelessness. Yet, little is known about health care utilization patterns associated with achieving HUD-VASH housing. We compare health service utilization at the VA Greater Los Angeles among: (1) formerly homeless Veterans housed through HUD-VASH (HUD-VASH Veterans); (2) currently homeless Veterans; (3) housed, low-income Veterans not in HUD-VASH; and (4) housed, not low-income Veterans. We performed a secondary database analysis of Veterans (n=62,459) who received VA Greater Los Angeles care between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2011. We described medical/surgical and mental health utilization [inpatient, outpatient, and emergency department (ED)]. We controlled for demographics, need, and primary care use in regression analyses of utilization data by housing and income status. HUD-VASH Veterans had more inpatient, outpatient, and ED use than currently homeless Veterans. Adjusting for demographics and need, HUD-VASH Veterans and the low-income housed Veterans had similar likelihoods of medical/surgical inpatient and outpatient utilization, compared with the housed, not low-income group. Adjusting first for demographics and need (model 1), then also for primary care use (model 2), HUD-VASH Veterans had the greatest decrease in incident rates of specialty medical/surgical, mental health, and ED care from models 1 to 2, becoming similar to the currently homeless, compared with the housed, not low-income group. Our findings suggest that currently homeless Veterans underuse health care relative to housed Veterans. HUD-VASH may address this disparity by providing housing and linkages to primary care.

  16. "I'm Coming Home, Tell the World I'm Coming Home". The Long Homecoming and Mental Health Treatment of Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rozanova, Julia; Noulas, Paraskevi; Smart, Kathleen; Roy, Alicia; Southwick, Steven M; Davidson, Larry; Harpaz-Rotem, Ilan

    2016-09-01

    This study explored the journey of American armed forces personnel from their decision to join the service, through their service in an active military conflict and how these factors may be associated with potential resistance for mental healthcare. The data came from qualitative interviews with 46 OIF/OEF/OND active-duty military, reservists, and discharged veterans of the average age of 25 years, who presented for a new episode of mental health treatment to a large Veterans Affairs Hospital (VAH) in Northeastern United States in 2011-2012. Qualitative analysis of veterans' perceptions revealed several major themes describing how a mental health diagnosis would negatively impact both their sense of identity and pragmatic career-building goals: enlisting as a career-building avenue, 'noble superhero' identity, escaping from hardship, and mental illness as a career-killer. Findings suggest that factors making young veterans resist mental healthcare may be reduced by partnering VAH psychiatrists with career counselors, and by enhancing military leadership's awareness and understanding about how to support soldiers with emotional and mental health needs, with a goal to eliminating stigma.

  17. Organization Complexity and Primary Care Providers' Perceptions of Quality Improvement Culture Within the Veterans Health Administration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Korom-Djakovic, Danijela; Canamucio, Anne; Lempa, Michele; Yano, Elizabeth M; Long, Judith A

    2016-01-01

    This study examined how aspects of quality improvement (QI) culture changed during the introduction of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) patient-centered medical home initiative and how they were influenced by existing organizational factors, including VHA facility complexity and practice location. A voluntary survey, measuring primary care providers' (PCPs') perspectives on QI culture at their primary care clinics, was administered in 2010 and 2012. Participants were 320 PCPs from hospital- and community-based primary care practices in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Ohio. PCPs in community-based outpatient clinics reported an improvement in established processes for QI, and communication and cooperation from 2010 to 2012. However, their peers in hospital-based clinics did not report any significant improvements in QI culture. In both years, compared with high-complexity facilities, medium- and low-complexity facilities had better scores on the scales assessing established processes for QI, and communication and cooperation. © The Author(s) 2014.

  18. State of affairs of emergency medicine in the Veterans Health Administration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kessler, Chad; Chen, Jennifer; Dill, Curt; Tyndall, Gary; Olszyk, Mark D

    2010-10-01

    The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has reformed its emergency medical services. This study updates an overview of emergency medicine within VHA. This is a cross-sectional survey of VHA medical facilities offering emergency medical care. Sixty-eight percent (95/140) of facilities had emergency departments (EDs) only, 12% (16/140) had both ED and urgent care centers (UCCs), and 16% (23/140) had only UCCs. The mean (SD) ED/UCC census was 13 371 (7664). A mean (SD) of 53% (27%) of facility admissions were admitted through ED/UCCs. The median of all ED/UCC admissions admitted to intensive care unit level care was 11% (interquartile range, 7-16). Of physicians with any board certification, 16% (209/1331) of physicians had emergency medicine board certification. Emergency medical care is now available at most VHA facilities. The specialty of emergency medicine has an important but minority presence within clinical emergency medical care at VHA. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  19. A Descriptive Study of the Audiograms and Hearing Aid Prescription Papers of Veterans

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Khosro Gourabi

    1999-03-01

    Full Text Available In the current investigation we gathered information about the hearing thresholds, types of hearing loss, types of tinnitus, and also the prescribed tinnitus maskers for the veterans. We were aimed at determining the percentage of tinnitus, audiogram shape and its relationship with tinnitus, and the percentages of veterans using tinnitus maskers. The needed information was prepared by studying the audiograms and file of the patients. The results of the investigation have been prepared here in details.

  20. A Comparison of Sleep Difficulties among Iraq/Afghanistan Theater Veterans with and without Mental Health Diagnoses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ulmer, Christi S; Van Voorhees, Elizabeth; Germain, Anne E; Voils, Corrine I; Beckham, Jean C

    2015-09-15

    Sleep disturbance is among the most common complaints of veterans and military personnel who deployed to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. A growing body of research has examined cross-sectional and longitudinal relationships between sleep disturbance and mental health symptoms and specific diagnoses in this population. However, prior research has not examined these relationships in terms of the presence or absence of any mental health diagnosis. The objective of the current study is to characterize the sleep complaints (sleep characteristics, sleep quality, insomnia symptoms, and distressing dreams and nightmares) of previously deployed military personnel in terms of the presence or absence of a mental health disorder, diagnosed using structured clinical diagnostic interviews. Participants (n = 1,238) were veterans and active duty military personnel serving in the military since September 11, 2001, and deployed at least once. Scale scores and item-level data from the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), the PSQI-Addendum, the Davidson Trauma Scale, and the Symptom Checklist-90 were used to compare sleep across mental health status (with/without mental health disorder). As expected, self-reported sleep impairments were worse among those meeting criteria for a mental health disorder. However, findings also revealed very poor sleep among those without a mental health diagnosis as well. Mean values for both groups were suggestive of short sleep duration, low sleep efficiency, long sleep onset latencies, poor sleep quality, frequent insomnia symptoms, and nightmare frequencies that are well above norms for the general population. Given the evidence for adverse mental and physical health sequelae of untreated sleep disturbance, increased attention to sleep in this population may serve as a primary prevention strategy. © 2015 American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

  1. Factors affecting the use of patient survey data for quality improvement in the Veterans Health Administration

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Davies Elizabeth A

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Little is known about how to use patient feedback to improve experiences of health care. The Veterans Health Administration (VA conducts regular patient surveys that have indicated improved care experiences over the past decade. The goal of this study was to assess factors that were barriers to, or promoters of, efforts to improve care experiences in VA facilities. Methods We conducted case studies at two VA facilities, one with stable high scores on inpatient reports of emotional support between 2002 and 2006, and one with stable low scores over the same period. A semi-structured interview was used to gather information from staff who worked with patient survey data at the study facilities. Data were analyzed using a previously developed qualitative framework describing organizational, professional and data-related barriers and promoters to data use. Results Respondents reported more promoters than barriers to using survey data, and particularly support for improvement efforts. Themes included developing patient-centered cultures, quality improvement structures such as regular data review, and training staff in patient-centered behaviors. The influence of incentives, the role of nursing leadership, and triangulating survey data with other data on patients' views also emerged as important. It was easier to collect data on current organization and practice than those in the past and this made it difficult to deduce which factors might influence differing facility performance. Conclusions Interviews with VA staff provided promising examples of how systematic processes for using survey data can be implemented as part of wider quality improvement efforts. However, prospective studies are needed to identify the most effective strategies for using patient feedback to improve specific aspects of patient-centered care.

  2. Preparing MSW Students to Provide Mental and Behavioral Health Services to Military Personnel, Veterans, and Their Families in Rural Settings

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rishel, Carrie W.; Hartnett, Helen P.

    2015-01-01

    The prevalence of mental health disorders constitutes a nationwide public health crisis. Estimates suggest that more than 90 million people live in areas designated mental health professional shortage areas, with almost 6,000 additional practitioners needed to meet the service needs in these areas. Military personnel and veterans have greater…

  3. Study adaptation, design, and methods of a web-based PTSD intervention for women Veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lehavot, Keren; Litz, Brett; Millard, Steven P; Hamilton, Alison B; Sadler, Anne; Simpson, Tracy

    2017-02-01

    Women Veterans are a rapidly growing population with high risk of exposure to potentially traumatizing events and PTSD diagnoses. Despite the dissemination of evidence-based treatments for PTSD in the VA, most women Veteran VA users underutilize these treatments. Web-based PTSD treatment has the potential to reach and engage women Veterans with PTSD who do not receive treatment in VA settings. Our objective is to modify and evaluate Delivery of Self Training and Education for Stressful Situations (DESTRESSS), a web-based cognitive-behavioral intervention for PTSD, to target PTSD symptoms among women Veterans. The specific aims are to: (1) obtain feedback about DESTRESS, particularly on its relevance and sensitivity to women, using semi-structured interviews with expert clinicians and women Veterans with PTSD, and make modifications based on this feedback; (2) conduct a pilot study to finalize study procedures and make further refinements to the intervention; and (3) conduct a randomized clinical trial (RCT) evaluating a revised, telephone-assisted DESTRESS compared to telephone monitoring only. We describe the results from the first two aims, and the study design and procedures for the ongoing RCT. This line of research has the potential to result in a gender-sensitive, empirically-based, online treatment option for women Veterans with PTSD. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  4. Assessing health status differences between Veterans Affairs home-based primary care and state Medicaid Waiver Program clients.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wharton, Tracy C; Nnodim, Joseph; Hogikyan, Robert; Mody, Lona; James, Mary; Montagnini, Marcos; Fries, Brant E

    2013-04-01

    Comprehensive health care for older adults is complex, involving multiple comorbidities and functional impairments of varying degrees and numbers. In response to this complexity and associated barriers to care, home-based care models have become prevalent. The home-based primary care (HBPC) model, based at a Michigan Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and the Michigan Waiver Program (MWP) that includes home-based care are 2 of these. Although both models are formatted to address barriers to effective and efficient health care, there are differences in disease prevalence and functional performance between groups. The objective of this study was to explore the differences between the 2 groups, to shed some light on potential trends that could suggest areas for resource allocation by service providers. Using a retrospective analysis of data collected using the interRAI-home care, we examined a cross-sectional representation of clients enrolled in HBPC and MWP in 2008. The HBPC sample had 89 participants. The MWP database contained 9324 participants from across the State of Michigan and were weighted to be comparable to the HBPC population in sex and age, and to simulate the HBPC sample size. Veterans were more independent in basic activities of daily living performance, but there was no difference in the rate of reported falls between the 2 groups. Veterans had more pain and a higher prevalence of coronary artery disease (z = 7.0; P Affairs Medical Center were more burdened by chronic disease and had higher degrees of loneliness than their MWP counterparts- factors, which may increase their likelihood of hospitalizations. MWP participants had more cases of cerebrovascular accident (z = 2.1; P = .039), as well as a higher rate of diagnosed dementias (z = 2.7; P = .006). Though not different, stress among caregivers in both groups, and depression in clients of both groups were substantial. Overall, sleep, pain, coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive

  5. Tailoring Care to Vulnerable Populations by Incorporating Social Determinants of Health: the Veterans Health Administration's "Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team" Program

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    O'Toole, Thomas P; Johnson, Erin E; Aiello, Riccardo; Kane, Vincent; Pape, Lisa

    2016-01-01

    .... We correlated site-specific health care performance data for the 3,543 homeless veterans enrolled in the program from October 2013 through March 2014, including those receiving ambulatory or acute...

  6. Do homeless veterans have the same needs and outcomes as non-veterans?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsai, Jack; Mares, Alvin S; Rosenheck, Robert A

    2012-01-01

    Although veterans have been found to be at increased risk for homelessness as compared to non-veterans, it is not clear whether those who are homeless have more severe health problems or poorer outcomes in community-based supported housing. This observational study compared 162 chronically homeless veterans to 388 non-veterans enrolled in a national-supported housing initiative over a 1-year period. Results showed that veterans tended to be older, were more likely to be in the Vietnam era age group, to be male, and were more likely to have completed high school than other chronically homeless adults. There were no differences between veterans and non-veterans on housing or clinical status at baseline or at follow-up, but both groups showed significant improvement over time. These findings suggest that the greater risk of homelessness among veterans does not translate into more severe problems or treatment outcomes. Supported housing programs are similarly effective for veterans and non-veterans.

  7. Impact of Paliperidone Palmitate Versus Oral Atypical Antipsychotics on Health Care Resource Use and Costs in Veterans With Schizophrenia and Comorbid Substance Abuse.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lefebvre, Patrick; Muser, Erik; Joshi, Kruti; DerSarkissian, Maral; Bhak, Rachel H; Duh, Mei Sheng; Shiner, Brian; Young-Xu, Yinong

    2017-07-01

    Almost half of all patients diagnosed with schizophrenia have a history of substance abuse (SA). However, data on treatment of schizophrenia with paliperidone palmitate (PP) among patients with comorbid SA are limited. The objective of this study was to compare all-cause and SA-related health care resource utilization and costs in veterans with schizophrenia and co-occurring SA who were treated with PP versus oral atypical antipsychotics (OAAs). Veterans Health Administration electronic health record data were used to conduct a retrospective longitudinal study in veterans with schizophrenia who initiated PP or OAA between January 1, 2010 and June 30, 2016, had ≥12 months of enrollment before treatment initiation (baseline), were diagnosed with SA, and had ≥1 Global Assessment of Functioning score during baseline. Differences in baseline characteristics were adjusted for using inverse probability of treatment weighting. Adjusted cost differences and incidence rate ratios (IRR) for the association between PP versus OAA and all-cause and SA-related health care costs and health care resource utilization in the 12 months after treatment initiation were estimated with corresponding 95% CIs using weighted linear and Poisson regression models, respectively. Of 6872 veterans in the study, 1684 (25%) and 5188 (75%) were treated with PP and OAA, respectively. After adjustment, PP was associated with fewer all-cause inpatient (IRR = 0.88; 95% CI, 0.85 to 0.90), mental health-related inpatient (IRR = 0.88; 95% CI, 0.85 to 0.91), and long-term care stays (IRR = 0.53; 95% CI, 0.44 to 0.64), but more frequent mental health intensive case management visits (IRR = 1.51; 95% CI, 1.49 to 1.53) compared with OAA (all P schizophrenia and comorbid SA. Thus, PP appears to be a valuable treatment option for patients in this subpopulation. Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  8. The association of military discharge variables with smoking status among homeless Veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hammett, Patrick; Fu, Steven S; Lando, Harry A; Owen, Greg; Okuyemi, Kolawale S

    2015-12-01

    There is a dearth of research examining the health correlates of tobacco use within the homeless population, particularly with respect to homeless Veterans. An aim of the present study was to compare homeless Veteran and homeless non-Veteran smokers across a series of socio-demographic and health variables, and to determine whether any of these variables were independently associated with Veteran status. A subsequent aim was to compare the socio-demographic and health profiles of Veteran smokers and Veteran nonsmokers, and to determine whether any of these variables were independently associated with current smoking. Data were obtained from the 2009 Homelessness in Minnesota survey conducted by the Wilder Research Foundation. The final sample included 4750 homeless individuals living throughout Minnesota. The prevalence of smoking was greater among homeless Veterans (74%) than homeless non-Veterans (70%). The prevalence of physical and mental health problems was higher among homeless Veteran smokers than homeless non-Veteran smokers, although these variables were not independently associated with Veteran status after controlling for socio-demographics. Analyses of the homeless Veteran sample indicated that receipt of Veterans' benefits, type of discharge, and alcohol and/or chemical dependence were independently associated with current smoking. Homeless Veteran smokers exhibit heightened rates of physical and mental health problems compared to homeless non-Veteran smokers. Military service and discharge characteristics may contribute to this high smoking prevalence. Future efforts should focus on increasing Veterans' access to and knowledge of Veterans' health resources, and on developing innovative strategies to boost cessation in this population. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  9. Long-term disability associated with war-related experience among Vietnam veterans: retrospective cohort study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clarke, Philip M; Gregory, Robert; Salomon, Joshua A

    2015-05-01

    Recent combat operations have involved large numbers of personnel. Long-term health effects of military deployment remain largely unknown. To examine patterns and trends in long-term disability among combat veterans and to relate disability to aspects of wartime experience. A total of 60,228 Australian military personnel deployed between 1962 and 1975 during the Vietnam War, and 82,877 military personnel who were not deployed overseas. Accepted physician-assessed disability claims were evaluated over follow-up periods up to 50 years after deployment, and compared with age-matched controls. Multivariable analysis was used to examine differences by service branch, rank, age, and deployment duration. The steepest rise in disability incidence was observed among Vietnam veterans starting in the 1990s, around 20-30 years after deployment for most veterans. After 1994, when Statements of Principles were introduced to guide evaluation of disability claims, the hazard ratio for disability incidence was 1.53 (95% confidence interval, 1.32-1.77) compared with the prior period. By January 2011, after an average follow-up of 42.5 years, 69.7% (95% confidence interval, 69.4%-70.1%) of veterans had at least 1 war-related disability. Many veterans had multiple disabilities, with leading causes being eye and ear disorders (48.0%), mental health conditions (47.9%), and musculoskeletal disorders (18.4%). For specific categories of disability, relative risks for accepted claims among veterans compared with controls were highest for mental health disorders, at 22.9 (21.9-24.0) and lowest for injuries, at 1.5 (1.4-1.6) with a relative risk for any disability of 3.7 (3.7-3.8). Veterans with service of >1 year were 2.5 (2.2-2.7) times more likely to have a mental health disability than those who served war-related disability is associated with service history. If similar patterns follow from more recent conflicts, significant additional resources will be needed to prevent and treat long

  10. Epidemiologic Study of One Million U.S. Radiation Workers and Veterans

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Boice, John [National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, Bethesda, MD (United States)

    2017-12-14

    The single most important question in radiation epidemiology is determining the level of health risks associated with radiation exposures that occur gradually over time. The study of one million early U.S. radiation workers and veterans has been designed to provide information on risk following chronic exposures by focusing on occupational groups with differing radiation exposure patterns, including intakes of radionuclides. The cost-efficient study builds on the investments made and foundations laid by investigators and government agencies over the past 30-40 years, which have established early worker cohorts that can now provide answers to questions on the lifetime human health risks associated with low-level radiation exposures. Within the overall goal of the epidemiologic study of one million U.S. radiation workers and veterans, this project had a total of nine specific aims which included studies of six populations for multiple endpoints including cancer overall mortality, leukemia and non-cancer mortality. The six populations included: Mound, Ohio, workers exposed to polonium, tritium and plutonium; nuclear power plant workers within the Landauer dosimetry and Nuclear Regulatory Commission data files; industrial radiographers; Mallinckrodt uranium workers; uranium workers who linked with the US Renal Data System; and nuclear weapons test participants. Over 400,000 workers and atomic veterans are included in these populations, with vital status being determined and analyses of all causes of death undertaken. A critical, integral component of the studies has been comprehensive evaluations of dosimetry involving, in many cases, complex dose reconstructions, and assessments of uncertainties. The work has also involved development of state-of-the art statistical approaches and modeling. All nine aims were accomplished successfully, resulting in publication of two NCRP documents, 13 literature papers, numerous Boice Reports in Health Physics News and many

  11. Implementation and dissemination of a transition of care program for rural veterans: a controlled before and after study

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chelsea Leonard

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Adapting promising health care interventions to local settings is a critical component in the dissemination and implementation process. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA rural transitions nurse program (TNP is a nurse-led, Veteran-centered intervention designed to improve transitional care for rural Veterans funded by VA national offices for dissemination to other VA sites serving a predominantly rural Veteran population. Here, we describe our novel approach to the implementation and evaluation = the TNP. Methods This is a controlled before and after study that assesses both implementation and intervention outcomes. During pre-implementation, we assessed site context using a mixed method approach with data from diverse sources including facility-level quantitative data, key informant and Veteran interviews, observations of the discharge process, and a group brainstorming activity. We used the Practical Robust Implementation and Sustainability Model (PRISM to inform our inquiries, to integrate data from all sources, and to identify factors that may affect implementation. In the implementation phase, we will use internal and external facilitation, paired with audit and feedback, to encourage appropriate contextual adaptations. We will use a modified Stirman framework to document adaptations. During the evaluation phase, we will measure intervention and implementation outcomes at each site using the RE-AIM framework (Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance. We will conduct a difference-in-differences analysis with propensity-matched Veterans and VA facilities as a control. Our primary intervention outcome is 30-day readmission and Emergency Department visit rates. We will use our findings to develop an implementation toolkit that will inform the larger scale-up of the TNP across the VA. Discussion The use of PRISM to inform pre-implementation evaluation and synthesize data from multiple sources

  12. Implementation and dissemination of a transition of care program for rural veterans: a controlled before and after study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leonard, Chelsea; Lawrence, Emily; McCreight, Marina; Lippmann, Brandi; Kelley, Lynette; Mayberry, Ashlea; Ladebue, Amy; Gilmartin, Heather; Côté, Murray J; Jones, Jacqueline; Rabin, Borsika A; Ho, P Michael; Burke, Robert

    2017-10-23

    Adapting promising health care interventions to local settings is a critical component in the dissemination and implementation process. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) rural transitions nurse program (TNP) is a nurse-led, Veteran-centered intervention designed to improve transitional care for rural Veterans funded by VA national offices for dissemination to other VA sites serving a predominantly rural Veteran population. Here, we describe our novel approach to the implementation and evaluation = the TNP. This is a controlled before and after study that assesses both implementation and intervention outcomes. During pre-implementation, we assessed site context using a mixed method approach with data from diverse sources including facility-level quantitative data, key informant and Veteran interviews, observations of the discharge process, and a group brainstorming activity. We used the Practical Robust Implementation and Sustainability Model (PRISM) to inform our inquiries, to integrate data from all sources, and to identify factors that may affect implementation. In the implementation phase, we will use internal and external facilitation, paired with audit and feedback, to encourage appropriate contextual adaptations. We will use a modified Stirman framework to document adaptations. During the evaluation phase, we will measure intervention and implementation outcomes at each site using the RE-AIM framework (Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance). We will conduct a difference-in-differences analysis with propensity-matched Veterans and VA facilities as a control. Our primary intervention outcome is 30-day readmission and Emergency Department visit rates. We will use our findings to develop an implementation toolkit that will inform the larger scale-up of the TNP across the VA. The use of PRISM to inform pre-implementation evaluation and synthesize data from multiple sources, coupled with internal and external facilitation, is a

  13. Risk factors for serious prescription opioid-related toxicity or overdose among Veterans Health Administration patients.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zedler, Barbara; Xie, Lin; Wang, Li; Joyce, Andrew; Vick, Catherine; Kariburyo, Furaha; Rajan, Pradeep; Baser, Onur; Murrelle, Lenn

    2014-11-01

    Prescription opioid use and deaths related to serious toxicity, including overdose, have increased dramatically in the United States since 1999. However, factors associated with serious opioid-related respiratory or central nervous system (CNS) depression or overdose in medical users are not well characterized. The objective of this study was to examine the factors associated with serious toxicity in medical users of prescription opioids. Retrospective, nested, case-control analysis of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) medical, pharmacy, and health care resource utilization administrative data. Patients dispensed an opioid by VHA between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2012 (N=8,987). Cases (N=817) experienced life-threatening opioid-related respiratory/CNS depression or overdose. Ten controls were randomly assigned to each case (N=8,170). Logistic regression was used to examine associations with the outcome. The strongest associations were maximum prescribed daily morphine equivalent dose (MED)≥ 100 mg (odds ratio [OR]=4.1, 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.6-6.5), history of opioid dependence (OR=3.9, 95% CI, 2.6-5.8), and hospitalization during the 6 months before the serious toxicity or overdose event (OR=2.9, 95% CI, 2.3-3.6). Liver disease, extended-release or long-acting opioids, and daily MED of 20 mg or more were also significantly associated. Substantial risk for serious opioid-related toxicity and overdose exists at even relatively low maximum prescribed daily MED, especially in patients already vulnerable due to underlying demographic factors, comorbid conditions, and concomitant use of CNS depressant medications or substances. Screening patients for risk, providing education, and coprescribing naloxone for those at elevated risk may be effective at reducing serious opioid-related respiratory/CNS depression and overdose in medical users of prescription opioids. Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  14. Vagus Nerve Stimulation: A Non-Invasive Treatment to Improve the Health of Gulf Veterans with Gulf War Illness

    Science.gov (United States)

    2017-05-01

    Gulf War Illness (GWI) is a condition occurring in some veterans who served in the 1990-91 Gulf War . To date there is no specific treatment for it. A...major complaint of veteran subjects with GWI is widespread pain and achiness. Currently, some drugs are available to treat these symptoms, but these...complaint of Gulf War veterans with GWI using a hand-held neuro-stimulator device that activates a nerve in the neck called the vagus. This study will

  15. Hearing aid patients in private practice and public health (Veterans Affairs) clinics: are they different?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cox, Robyn M; Alexander, Genevieve C; Gray, Ginger A

    2005-12-01

    In hearing aid research, it is commonplace to combine data across subjects whose hearing aids were provided in different service delivery models. There is reason to question whether these types of patients are always similar enough to justify this practice. To explore this matter, this investigation evaluated similarities and differences in self-report data obtained from hearing aid patients derived from public health (Veterans Affairs, VA) and private practice (PP) settings. The study was a multisite, cross-sectional survey in which 230 hearing aid patients from VA and PP audiology clinic settings provided self-report data on a collection of questionnaires both before and after the hearing aid fitting. Subjects were all older adults with mild to moderately severe hearing loss. About half of them had previous experience wearing hearing aids. All subjects were fitted with wide-dynamic-range-compression instruments and received similar treatment protocols. Numerous statistically significant differences were observed between the VA and PP subject groups. Before the fitting, VA patients reported higher expectations from the hearing aids and more severe unaided problems compared with PP patients with similar audiograms. Three wks after the fitting, VA patients reported more satisfaction with their hearing aids. On some measures VA patients reported more benefit, but different measures of benefit did not give completely consistent results. Both groups reported using the hearing aids an average of approximately 8 hrs per day. VA patients reported age-normal physical and mental health, but PP patients tended to report better than typical health for their age group. These data indicate that hearing aid patients seen in the VA public health hearing services are systematically different in self-report domains from those seen in private practice services. It is therefore risky to casually combine data from these two types of subjects or to generalize research results from one

  16. Veterans Crisis Line: Videos About Reaching out for Help

    Medline Plus

    Full Text Available ... Help see more videos from Veterans Health Administration Suicide Prevention PSA for Military Families see more videos ... About About the Veterans Crisis Line FAQs Veteran Suicide The Veterans Crisis Line text-messaging service does ...

  17. Opioid pain medication prescriptions obtained through emergency medical visits in the Veterans Health Administration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grasso, Michael A; Dezman, Zachary D W; Grasso, Clare T; Jerrard, David A

    This study sought to characterize national patterns for opioid pain medication (OPM) prescriptions received during emergency medical encounters in the Veterans Health Administration (VA). The authors conducted a retrospective study of all emergency department (ED) visits by adults in the VA between January 2009 and June 2015. We examined demographics, comorbidities, utilization measures, diagnoses, and prescriptions. The percentage of ED visits that culminated in the receipt of a prescription for an OPM. There were 6,721,134 emergency medical visits by 1,708,545 individuals during the study period. An OPM was prescribed during 913,872 visits (13.6 percent), and 407,408 individuals (27.5 percent) received at least one OPM prescription. Prescriptions for OPMs peaked in 2011 at 14.5 percent, declining to 12.3 percent in 2015. The percentage of prescriptions limited to 12 pills increased from 25.0 to 32.4 percent. The heaviest users (top 1.5 percent, n = 7,247) received an average 602.5 total doses, and had at least 10 ED visits during the study period. The most frequently prescribed OPMs were acetaminophen/hydrocodone, followed by tramadol and acetaminophen/oxycodone. Receiving a prescription was associated with younger patients, musculoskeletal diagnoses, higher pain scores, a history of chronic pain, a history of mental illness, a history of substance abuse, prior heavy prescription OPM use, and lower participation in outpatient services. The writing of OPM prescriptions after an ED visit is on the decline in the VA. Compliance with prescribing guidelines is increasing, but is not yet at goal.

  18. Pain research using Veterans Health Administration electronic and administrative data sources.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abel, Erica A; Brandt, Cynthia A; Czlapinski, Rebecca; Goulet, Joseph L

    2016-01-01

    Health services researchers are using Veterans Health Administration (VHA) electronic health record (EHR) data sources to examine the prevalence, treatment, and outcomes of pain among Veterans in VHA care. Little guidance currently exists on using these data; thus, findings may vary depending on the methods, data sources, and definitions used. We sought to identify current practices in order to provide guidance to future pain researchers. We conducted an anonymous survey of VHA-affiliated researchers participating in a monthly national pain research teleconference. Thirty-two researchers (89%) responded: 75% conducted pain-focused research, 78% used pain intensity numeric rating screening scale (NRS) scores to identify pain, 41% used International Classification of Diseases-9th Revision codes, and 57% distinguished between chronic and acute pain using either NRS scores or pharmacy data. The NRS and pharmacy data were rated as the most valid pain data sources. Of respondents, 48% reported the EHR data sources were adequate for pain research, while 45% had published peer-reviewed articles based on the data. Despite limitations, VHA researchers are increasingly using EHR data for pain research, and several common methods were identified. More information on the performance characteristics of these data sources and definitions is needed.

  19. Attitudes about the VA health-care setting, mental illness, and mental health treatment and their relationship with VA mental health service use among female and male OEF/OIF veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fox, Annie B; Meyer, Eric C; Vogt, Dawne

    2015-02-01

    In the present study, the authors explored gender differences in attitudinal barriers to and facilitators of care for Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) veterans and examined the relationship of those factors with VA mental health service use among female and male veterans with probable mental health conditions. Data were collected as part of a national cross-sectional survey of OEF/OIF veterans; the current sample was limited to participants with a probable diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, or alcohol abuse (N = 278). Although negligible gender differences were observed in attitudes about VA care and perceived fit in the VA setting, men reported slightly more negative beliefs about mental illness and mental health treatment than women. In addition, logistic regressions revealed different associations with VA mental health service use for women and men. For women only, positive perceptions of VA care were associated with increased likelihood of seeking mental health treatment. For men only, perceived similarity to other VA care users and negative beliefs about mental health treatment were associated with increased likelihood of service use, whereas negative beliefs about mental illness were associated with lower likelihood of service use. For both women and men, perceived entitlement to VA care was associated with increased likelihood of service use and negative beliefs about treatment-seeking were associated with a reduced likelihood of seeking mental health care in the past 6 months. Results support the need for tailored outreach to address unique barriers to mental health treatment for female and male OEF/OIF veterans.

  20. Increased psychological distress among Danish Gulf War veterans--without evidence for a neurotoxic background. The Danish Gulf War Study

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ishøy, Torben; Knop, Joachim; Suadicani, Poul

    2004-01-01

    would perform less well than controls using a computerized neuromotor test battery; and that 2) GW veterans have a psychological profile different from that of controls. MATERIAL AND METHODS: A cross-sectional study of 686 subjects who had been deployed in the Persian Gulf within the period August 2......, 1990 until December 31, 1997; the control group comprised 231 subjects matched according to age, gender and profession. All participants underwent clinical and paraclinical examinations, along with a neuromotor test battery (CATSYS Test System) and a psychological health status questionnaire, the SCL...... associations were found for ratings of the obsessive-compulsive dimension and of the depression dimension. No associations were found with respect to phobic anxiety, paranoid ideation, and psychoticism. INTERPRETATION: The increased psychological distress found among Danish GW veterans seemed rather due...

  1. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Health Risk Behaviors among Afghanistan and Iraq War Veterans Attending College

    Science.gov (United States)

    Widome, Rachel; Kehle, Shannon M.; Carlson, Kathleen F.; Laska, Melissa Nelson; Gulden, Ashley; Lust, Katherine

    2011-01-01

    Objective: To determine if post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with health risk behaviors among Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) veterans attending college. Method: Using 2008 Boynton College Student Health Survey data, we tested associations between self-reported PTSD diagnosis and self-reported risk behaviors…

  2. Evaluating current automatic de-identification methods with Veteran's health administration clinical documents.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ferrández, Oscar; South, Brett R; Shen, Shuying; Friedlin, F Jeffrey; Samore, Matthew H; Meystre, Stéphane M

    2012-07-27

    The increased use and adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHR) causes a tremendous growth in digital information useful for clinicians, researchers and many other operational purposes. However, this information is rich in Protected Health Information (PHI), which severely restricts its access and possible uses. A number of investigators have developed methods for automatically de-identifying EHR documents by removing PHI, as specified in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act "Safe Harbor" method.This study focuses on the evaluation of existing automated text de-identification methods and tools, as applied to Veterans Health Administration (VHA) clinical documents, to assess which methods perform better with each category of PHI found in our clinical notes; and when new methods are needed to improve performance. We installed and evaluated five text de-identification systems "out-of-the-box" using a corpus of VHA clinical documents. The systems based on machine learning methods were trained with the 2006 i2b2 de-identification corpora and evaluated with our VHA corpus, and also evaluated with a ten-fold cross-validation experiment using our VHA corpus. We counted exact, partial, and fully contained matches with reference annotations, considering each PHI type separately, or only one unique 'PHI' category. Performance of the systems was assessed using recall (equivalent to sensitivity) and precision (equivalent to positive predictive value) metrics, as well as the F(2)-measure. Overall, systems based on rules and pattern matching achieved better recall, and precision was always better with systems based on machine learning approaches. The highest "out-of-the-box" F(2)-measure was 67% for partial matches; the best precision and recall were 95% and 78%, respectively. Finally, the ten-fold cross validation experiment allowed for an increase of the F(2)-measure to 79% with partial matches. The "out-of-the-box" evaluation of text de

  3. Anxiety disorders, physical illnesses, and health care utilization in older male veterans with Parkinson disease and comorbid depression.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Qureshi, Salah U; Amspoker, Amber B; Calleo, Jessica S; Kunik, Mark E; Marsh, Laura

    2012-12-01

    This study examined the rates of anxiety and depressive disorders, physical illnesses, and health service use in male patients 55 years or older with a diagnosis of Parkinson disease who were seen at least twice at the 10 medical centers in the Veterans Affairs Healthcare Network of the South Central region of the United States. Of the 273 male patients diagnosed between October 1, 1997, and September 30, 2009, 62 (22.7%) had a depressive disorder. The overall prevalence of anxiety disorders was 12.8%; patients with comorbid depression had a 5-fold greater prevalence of anxiety disorders than those without depression (35.5% vs 6.2%, Pdisease and comorbid depression are more likely to have anxiety disorders and several physical illnesses, to be using antipsychotic and dementia medicines, and to have increased health service utilization than those without depression.

  4. Trajectories of stress reactions and somatization symptoms among war veterans: a 20-year longitudinal study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ginzburg, K; Solomon, Z

    2011-02-01

    There is considerable evidence that immediate and long-term stress reactions are associated with increased somatic symptomatology. However, because of the scarcity of long-term longitudinal studies, the trend of mutual change of these factors has not been assessed. This study examined the chronological inter-relationships between post-traumatic stress reactions and somatization symptoms among combatants over a 20-year period. Two groups of veterans were assessed 1, 2, 3 and 20 years after their participation in the 1982 Lebanon War: a clinical group of veterans who had been diagnosed with combat stress reaction (CSR) on the battlefield (n=363), and a matched control group of veterans (n=301). The CSR veterans reported higher initial levels of intrusion and avoidance and a steeper decline in those symptoms over time in comparison to the control group. The former also reported higher initial levels of somatization symptoms than the latter. In addition, over the years, stress reactions were positively associated with somatization symptoms. For both study groups, in the first years after the war, stress reaction symptoms predicted somatization symptoms. However, with time, the trend was reversed and somatization symptoms predicted stress reactions. The findings suggest that CSR is a marker for future stress reactions and somatization symptoms, and indicate a long-term role for these symptoms in veterans' psychological distress.

  5. Reasons for underuse of recommended therapies for colorectal and lung cancer in the Veterans Health Administration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Landrum, Mary Beth; Keating, Nancy L; Lamont, Elizabeth B; Bozeman, Samuel R; McNeil, Barbara J

    2012-07-01

    Many studies have documented low rates of effective cancer therapies, particularly in older or minority populations. However, little is known about why effective therapies are underused in these populations. The authors examined medical records of 584 patients with cancer diagnosed or treated in Department of Veterans Affairs facilities to assess reasons for lack of 1) surgery for stage I/II nonsmall cell lung cancer, 2) surgery for stage I/II/III rectal cancer, 3) adjuvant radiation therapy for stage II/III rectal cancer, and 4) adjuvant chemotherapy for stage III colon cancer. They also assessed differences in reasons for underuse by patient age and race. Across the 4 guideline-recommended treatments, 92% to 99% of eligible patients were referred to the appropriate cancer specialist; however, therapy was recommended in only 74% to 92% of eligible cases. Poor health was cited in the medical record as the reason for lack of therapy in 15% to 61% of underuse cases; patient refusal explained 26% to 58% of underuse cases. African American patients were more likely to refuse surgery. Older patients were more likely to refuse treatments. Recommendation against therapy was a primary factor in underuse of effective therapies in older and sicker patients. Patients' refusal of therapy contributed to age and racial disparities in care. Improved data on the effectiveness of cancer therapies in community populations and interventions aimed at improved communication of known risks and benefits of therapy to cancer patients could be effective tools to reduce underuse and lingering disparities in care. Copyright © 2011 American Cancer Society.

  6. Risk factors associated with posttraumatic stress disorder in US veterans: A cohort study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Müller, Jan; Ganeshamoorthy, Sarmila; Myers, Jonathan

    2017-01-01

    To assess the association between clinical and exercise test factors and the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in US Veterans. Exercise capacity, demographics and clinical variables were assessed in 5826 veterans (mean age 59.4 ± 11.5 years) from the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System in Palo Alto, CA. The study participants underwent routine clinical exercise testing between the years 1987 and 2011. The study end point was the development of PTSD. A total of 723 (12.9%) veterans were diagnosed with PTSD after a mean follow-up of 9.6 ± 5.6 years. Drug abuse (HR: 1.98, CI: 1.33-2.92, p = .001), current smoking (HR: 1.57, CI: 1.35-2.24, p Physical activity pattern was not associated with PTSD in either the univariate or multivariate models. In the final multivariate model, current smoking (HR: 1.30, CI: 1.10-1.53, p = .002) history of chest pain (HR: 1.37, CI: 1.15-1.63, p <.001) and younger age (HR: 0.97, CI: 0.97-0.98, p <.001) were significantly associated to PTSD. Onset of PTSD is significantly associated with current smoking, history of chest pain and younger age. Screening veterans with multiple risk factors for symptoms of PTSD should therefore be taken into account.

  7. Examining Spouse/Partner Presence as a Moderator in the Relationship between Mental Health Symptoms and Alcohol Use in OEF/OIF Veterans

    OpenAIRE

    Klanecky, Alicia K.; Cadigan, Jennifer M.; Martens, Matthew P.; Rogers, Randall E.

    2014-01-01

    Veterans from the conflicts in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom; OEF) and Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom; OIF) have reported elevated rates of alcohol consumption, and greater depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are associated with increased alcohol use. Presence of a spouse/partner, which has been associated with reduced drinking, may buffer the relationship between mental health symptoms and alcohol consumption. To examine this hypothesis, the current study ut...

  8. Arthritis, comorbidities, and care utilization in veterans of operations enduring and Iraqi Freedom.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rivera, Jessica C; Amuan, Megan E; Morris, Ruth M; Johnson, Anthony E; Pugh, Mary Jo

    2017-03-01

    Veteran populations are known to have frequencies of arthritis higher than civilian populations. The aim of this study is to define the prevalence of arthritis among a cohort of veterans from ongoing U.S. military operations. A retrospective cohort study using Veterans Administration data sources for service connected disability, comorbidities, clinic utilization, and pharmacy utilization was conducted including veterans who deployed in service to operations in Afghanistan or Iraq, comparing veterans with a diagnosis of arthritis, arthritis plus back pain, and veterans with no pain diagnoses. The frequency of arthritis was 11.8%. Veterans with arthritis and arthritis plus back pain had greater frequencies of diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and obesity compare to veterans with no pain diagnosis. Veterans with arthritis plus back pain had the highest pain clinic utilization and prescription use of opioids and anti-inflammatories. Veterans with no pain diagnosis had higher frequencies of diagnosis and clinic utilization for mental health disorders. Arthritis is prevalent among the latest generation of combat veterans and is associated with diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular comorbidities. The need for arthritis care and associated comorbidities is expected to increase as the Veterans Administration and the civilian health care sector assumes care of these veterans. © 2016 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 35:682-687, 2017. © 2016 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  9. Partnering to improve care: the case of the Veterans' Health Administration's Quality Enhancement Research Initiative.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bergman, Alicia A; Delevan, Deborah M; Miake-Lye, Isomi M; Rubenstein, Lisa V; Ganz, David A

    2017-01-01

    Background Within many large health care organizations, researchers and operations partners (i.e., policymakers, managers, clinical leaders) join to conduct studies to improve the quality of patient care. Yet optimal approaches to conducting partnership research and evaluation are only beginning to be clearly defined. The Veterans' Health Administration (VA) Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI), funded by operations leaders and administered by the VA's research service, now has nearly two decades of experience in fostering research-operations partnerships for improving quality of VA care. The work reported here is part of a national evaluation of QUERI. Because individuals in research and operations often have differing backgrounds and perspectives, we aim to identify the main sources of tension in research-operations partnerships and strategies for maximizing partnership success, through the eyes of QUERI participants. Methods We conducted semi-structured interviews with 116 researchers and operations partners chosen randomly from within pre-identified key participant groups. We conducted inductive qualitative analysis of verbatim interview transcripts, limited to the 89 interviews of individuals reporting at least some familiarity with QUERI. Results Tensions in research-operations partnerships were primarily related to diverging incentives and to differing values placed on scientific rigor or integrity versus quick timelines. To alleviate these tensions, operations' partners highlighted the importance of 'perspective-taking' (i.e., putting themselves into the shoes of the researchers) to ensure a mutually beneficial and attractive partnership, whereas researchers identified the importance of overcoming the need for recognition to be apportioned between either research or operations for achieved results. Both researchers and operations participants identified jointly designing each partnership from the beginning, minimizing research bureaucracy burdens

  10. Quality management and federal workers' compensation: the Veterans Health Administration workers' compensation program model.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hodgson, Michael J; Mohr, David C; Lipkowitz-Eaton, Jennifer; Rodrigues, Dianne; Moreau, Sarah; McPhaul, Kate

    2015-03-01

    The federal workers' compensation program includes under a single employer five commonly encountered roles and responsibilities-injured patient, clinical provider, third-party administrator, adjudicator, and insurer. Data within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) provide a unique opportunity to apply a simple model of health care quality improvement, exploring interactions between structures, processes, and outcomes. A facility survey identified reporting structures, levels of education and training, policies and processes, tool availability and use, and perceptions of role adherence. Administrative data included process and outcome metrics, including short-term disability, long-term disability, and lost time cases. Improved collaboration between clinical and administrative staff within VHA and with the Department of Labor was associated with improved performance. Applying a clinical quality improvement model clarifies roles, expectations, and likely relationships for improved program management.

  11. Recent research on Gulf War illness and other health problems in veterans of the 1991 Gulf War: Effects of toxicant exposures during deployment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    White, Roberta F; Steele, Lea; O'Callaghan, James P; Sullivan, Kimberly; Binns, James H; Golomb, Beatrice A; Bloom, Floyd E; Bunker, James A; Crawford, Fiona; Graves, Joel C; Hardie, Anthony; Klimas, Nancy; Knox, Marguerite; Meggs, William J; Melling, Jack; Philbert, Martin A; Grashow, Rachel

    2016-01-01

    Veterans of Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield - the 1991 Gulf War (GW) - are a unique population who returned from theater with multiple health complaints and disorders. Studies in the U.S. and elsewhere have consistently concluded that approximately 25-32% of this population suffers from a disorder characterized by symptoms that vary somewhat among individuals and include fatigue, headaches, cognitive dysfunction, musculoskeletal pain, and respiratory, gastrointestinal and dermatologic complaints. Gulf War illness (GWI) is the term used to describe this disorder. In addition, brain cancer occurs at increased rates in subgroups of GW veterans, as do neuropsychological and brain imaging abnormalities. Chemical exposures have become the focus of etiologic GWI research because nervous system symptoms are prominent and many neurotoxicants were present in theater, including organophosphates (OPs), carbamates, and other pesticides; sarin/cyclosarin nerve agents, and pyridostigmine bromide (PB) medications used as prophylaxis against chemical warfare attacks. Psychiatric etiologies have been ruled out. This paper reviews the recent literature on the health of 1991 GW veterans, focusing particularly on the central nervous system and on effects of toxicant exposures. In addition, it emphasizes research published since 2008, following on an exhaustive review that was published in that year that summarizes the prior literature (RACGWI, 2008). We conclude that exposure to pesticides and/or to PB are causally associated with GWI and the neurological dysfunction in GW veterans. Exposure to sarin and cyclosarin and to oil well fire emissions are also associated with neurologically based health effects, though their contribution to development of the disorder known as GWI is less clear. Gene-environment interactions are likely to have contributed to development of GWI in deployed veterans. The health consequences of chemical exposures in the GW and other conflicts have been

  12. Audiologic characteristics in a sample of recently-separated military Veterans: The Noise Outcomes in Servicemembers Epidemiology Study (NOISE Study).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gordon, J S; Griest, S E; Thielman, E J; Carlson, K F; Helt, W J; Lewis, M S; Blankenship, C; Austin, D; Theodoroff, S M; Henry, J A

    2017-06-01

    Military Service Members are often exposed to high levels of occupational noise, solvents, and other exposures that can be damaging to the auditory system. Little is known about hearing loss and how it progresses in Veterans following military service. This epidemiology study is designed to evaluate and monitor a cohort of Veterans for 20 years or more to determine how hearing loss changes over time and how those changes are related to noise exposure and other ototoxic exposures encountered during military service. Data reported here are from baseline assessments of the first 100 study participants (84 males; 16 females; mean age 33.5 years; SD 8.8; range 21-58). Each participant was asked to complete a comprehensive audiologic examination and self-report questionnaires regarding sociodemographic characteristics, noise and solvent exposures, health conditions common among post-deployment Veterans, and the social and emotional consequences of hearing loss. For this relatively young cohort, 29% exhibited hearing loss, defined as average hearing threshold >20 dB HL in the conventional audiometric range. Forty-two percent exhibited hearing loss in the extended-high-frequency audiometric range using the same criterion (average hearing threshold >20 dB HL). Certain factors were found to be associated with poorer hearing in both conventional and extended-high-frequency ranges, including age, type of military branch, years of military service, number of military deployments, noise exposure, tinnitus, and a positive screen for post-traumatic stress disorder. Although the majority of participants had hearing within normal limits, 27% reported a self-perceived mild/moderate hearing handicap and 14% reported a significant handicap. Further research is needed to identify a cause for this discrepancy in audiologic results versus self-report. The information obtained from this longitudinal study could be used in future resource planning with the goal of preventing, as much as

  13. Tobacco use among Iraq- and Afghanistan-era veterans: a qualitative study of barriers, facilitators, and treatment preferences.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gierisch, Jennifer M; Straits-Tröster, Kristy; Calhoun, Patrick S; Beckham, Jean C; Acheson, Shawn; Hamlett-Berry, Kim

    2012-01-01

    Military service and combat exposure are risk factors for smoking. Although evidence suggests that veterans are interested in tobacco use cessation, little is known about their reasons for quitting, treatment preferences, and perceived barriers to effective tobacco use cessation treatment. Our study objective was to elicit perspectives of Iraq- and Afghanistan-era veterans who had not yet quit smoking postdeployment to inform the development of smoking cessation services for this veteran cohort. We conducted 3 focus groups among 20 participants in October 2006 at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center to explore issues on tobacco use and smoking cessation for Iraq- and Afghanistan-era veterans who continued to smoke postdeployment. We used qualitative content analysis to identify major themes and organize data. Veterans expressed the belief that smoking was a normalized part of military life and described multiple perceived benefits of smoking. Although veterans expressed a high level of interest in quitting, they listed several behavioral, situational, and environmental triggers that derailed smoking cessation. They expressed interest in such cessation treatment features as flexible scheduling, free nicotine replacement therapy, peer support, and family inclusion in treatment. Our results indicate that the newest cohort of veterans perceives smoking as endemic in military service. However, they want to quit smoking and identified several personal and environmental obstacles that make smoking cessation difficult. Our findings may inform programmatic efforts to increase successful quit attempts in this unique veteran population.

  14. The symmetry rule: a seven-year study of symptoms and explanatory labels among Gulf War veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brewer, Noel T; Hallman, William K; Kipen, Howard M

    2008-12-01

    Noticing medical symptoms can cause one to search for explanatory labels such as "ate bad food" or even "exposed to anthrax," and perhaps these labels may cause new symptom reports. The present study examined whether there is empirical support for this symptom-label "symmetry rule." We interviewed veterans (N= 362) from the Gulf War Registry in 1995 and 2002 about their medical symptoms and about their exposure to war-related hazards and stressors. Health symptom reports were strongly correlated between the two time periods and showed relatively stable mean levels, whereas recall of war-related exposures was notably unstable. Veterans starting with fewer medical symptoms recalled fewer war-related exposures seven years later. Initial recollection of chemical and biological warfare exposure (but not other exposures) longitudinally predicted novel medical symptoms. The findings generally support the symmetry rule hypotheses, although the evidence for the label to symptom link was less strong. The findings account for some variability in symptoms and exposure recall over time, but they do not, on their own, account for the Gulf War veterans' elevated number of unexplained medical symptoms.

  15. Psychosocial Equine Program for Veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ferruolo, David M

    2016-01-01

    Nearly half of all combat veterans suffer from serious psychological disorders and reintegration issues. Veterans shy away from typical talk therapy and are seeking alternative treatments. Equine-facilitated mental health therapy has shown promise in treating veterans with depressive and anxiety disorders and reintegration issues. This article reports on an institutional review board-approved pilot program designed to address the mental health needs of veterans. Furthermore, this article discusses future directions for evolving development of equine treatment programming.

  16. Risk factors for homelessness among US veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsai, Jack; Rosenheck, Robert A

    2015-01-01

    Homelessness among US veterans has been a focus of research for over 3 decades. Following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, this is the first systematic review to summarize research on risk factors for homelessness among US veterans and to evaluate the evidence for these risk factors. Thirty-one studies published from 1987 to 2014 were divided into 3 categories: more rigorous studies, less rigorous studies, and studies comparing homeless veterans with homeless nonveterans. The strongest and most consistent risk factors were substance use disorders and mental illness, followed by low income and other income-related factors. There was some evidence that social isolation, adverse childhood experiences, and past incarceration were also important risk factors. Veterans, especially those who served since the advent of the all-volunteer force, were at greater risk for homelessness than other adults. Homeless veterans were generally older, better educated, and more likely to be male, married/have been married, and to have health insurance coverage than other homeless adults. More studies simultaneously addressing premilitary, military, and postmilitary risk factors for veteran homelessness are needed. This review identifies substance use disorders, mental illness, and low income as targets for policies and programs in efforts to end homelessness among veterans. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health 2015. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.

  17. War, its aftermath, and U.S. health policy: toward a comprehensive health program for America's military personnel, veterans, and their families.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jackonis, Michael J; Deyton, Lawrence; Hess, William J

    2008-01-01

    This essay discusses the challenges faced by veterans returning to society in light of the current organization and structure of the military, veterans', and overall U.S. health care systems. It also addresses the need for an integrated health care financing and delivery system to ensure a continuum of care for service members, veterans, dependents, and other family members. The health care systems of both the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs execute their responsibilities to active duty service members, while their families and retirees/veterans are under separate legal authorities. Although they perform their mandates with extraordinary commitment and demonstrably high quality, both systems need to explore improved communication, coordination, and sharing, as well as increased collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services programs serving the same populations, far beyond current efforts. The health care-related missions and the locus of health care delivery of each agency are admittedly unique, but their distinctions must not be permitted to impede system integration and coordination of a continuum of care provided to the men and women who serve the nation, and their families.

  18. Factors associated with treatment success in veterans with diabetes and hyperlipidemia: a retrospective study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tressler, Michael C; Greer, Nancy; Rector, Thomas S; Ishani, Areef; Ercan-Fang, Nacide

    2013-01-01

    The purpose of this study is to identify factors related to achieving a LDL management versus usual care conducted at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System were analyzed. The trial consisted of 556 veterans with diabetes mellitus (DM) and at least 1 of the following: blood pressure (BP) >140/90 mmHg, and/or glycated hemoglobin (A1C) >9.0%, and/or LDL >100 mg/dL. The current analysis is focused on 275 patients in either treatment group who, at baseline, had LDL >100 mg/dL. Baseline characteristics and variables obtained during the trial of the 95 patients who reached goal LDL were compared to the 180 who did not. Patients who reached goal LDL had higher rates of preexisting coronary artery disease (CAD), cerebrovascular accident (CVA), congestive heart failure (CHF), and HMG-coenzyme A reductase inhibitor (statin) use. After adjustment for baseline LDL, preexisting CAD, CVA, and CHF increased the odds of patients achieving a goal LDL <100 mg/dL. This is possibly secondary to the increased prevalence of these conditions in patients with DM. These patients also likely had multiple other providers involved in their care promoting attainment of lower LDL. Baseline statin usage was not related to achieving a LDL<100 mg/dL, however, patients declining to take a statin at any time during the trial had decreased odds of reaching goal LDL. Patients with preexisting neuropathy were also less likely to reach goal LDL. Preexisting CAD, CVA, or CHF all increased the odds of patients achieving a goal LDL <100 mg/dL while declining statin therapy and preexisting neuropathy reduced the odds.

  19. Identification of rheumatoid arthritis patients using an administrative database: a Veterans Affairs study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ng, Bernard; Aslam, Fawad; Petersen, Nancy J; Yu, Hong-Jen; Suarez-Almazor, Maria E

    2012-10-01

    The accuracy of the diagnosis is vital when administrative databases are used for pharmacoepidemiologic and outcome studies. Data pertaining to the utility of databases for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are sparse and variable. We assessed the utility of various diagnostic algorithms to identify RA patients within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) databases. Using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision code for RA at 2 visits at least 6 months apart, we identified 1,779 patients between October 1, 1998 and September 30, 2009 in our local Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) administrative database. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) use was ascertained from the pharmacy database. Cases were analyzed based on DMARD therapy and RA codes at clinic visits. A total of 543 patients' medical records, selected by stratification and random selection on the basis of their visits, were reviewed to ascertain the clinicians' diagnoses and clinical criteria documentation. Positive predictive values (PPVs) were calculated for various database case identification algorithms using diagnosis of RA by medical record review as the gold standard. The PPV for identification of RA with 2 RA codes 6 months apart was 30.9%. Addition of DMARD therapy increased the PPV to 60.4%. The PPV further increased to 91.4% when having an RA code at the last VAMC rheumatology clinic visit criterion was added. An algorithm using only 2 administrative RA codes 6 months apart had a low PPV for correctly identifying patients with RA in the VHA database. Including DMARD therapy and requiring an RA code at the last visit with a rheumatologist increased the performance of the data extraction algorithm. Copyright © 2012 by the American College of Rheumatology.

  20. National study of discontinuation of long-term opioid therapy among veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vanderlip, Erik R; Sullivan, Mark D; Edlund, Mark J; Martin, Bradley C; Fortney, John; Austen, Mark; Williams, James S; Hudson, Teresa

    2014-12-01

    Veterans have high rates of chronic pain and long-term opioid therapy (LTOT). Understanding predictors of discontinuation from LTOT will clarify the risks for prolonged opioid use and dependence among this population. All veterans with at least 90 days of opioid use within a 180-day period were identified using national Veteran's Health Affairs (VHA) data between 2009 and 2011. Discontinuation was defined as 6 months with no opioid prescriptions. We used Cox proportional hazards analysis to determine clinical and demographic correlates for discontinuation. A total of 550,616 veterans met criteria for LTOT. The sample was primarily male (93%) and white (74%), with a mean age of 57.8 years. The median daily morphine equivalent dose was 26 mg, and 7% received high-dose (>100mg MED) therapy. At 1 year after initiation, 7.5% (n=41,197) of the LTOT sample had discontinued opioids. Among those who discontinued (20%, n=108,601), the median time to discontinuation was 317 days. Factors significantly associated with discontinuation included both younger and older age, lower average dosage, and having received less than 90 days of opioids in the previous year. Although tobacco use disorders decreased the likelihood of discontinuation, co-morbid mental illness and substance use disorders increased the likelihood of discontinuation. LTOT is common in the VHA system and is marked by extended duration of use at relatively low daily doses with few discontinuation events. Opioid discontinuation is more likely in veterans with mental health and substance use disorders. Further research is needed to delineate causes and consequences of opioid discontinuation. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  1. Caregiving-Related Sleep Problems and Their Relationship to Mental Health and Daytime Function in Female Veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Song, Yeonsu; Washington, Donna L; Yano, Elizabeth M; McCurry, Susan M; Fung, Constance H; Dzierzewski, Joseph M; Rodriguez, Juan Carlos; Jouldjian, Stella; Mitchell, Michael N; Alessi, Cathy A; Martin, Jennifer L

    2016-10-03

    To identify caregiving-related sleep problems and their relationship to mental health and daytime function in female Veterans. Female Veterans (N = 1,477) from cross-sectional, nationwide, postal survey data. The survey respondent characteristics included demographics, comorbidity, physical activity, health, use of sleep medications, and history of sleep apnea. They self-identified caregiving- related sleep problems (i.e., those who had trouble sleeping because of caring for a sick adult, an infant/child, or other respondents). Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-4) was used to assess mental health, and daytime function was measured using 11 items of International Classification of Sleep Disorders-2 (ICSD-2). Female Veterans with self-identified sleep problems due to caring for a sick adult (n = 59) experienced significantly more symptoms of depression and anxiety (p sleep problems due to caring for an infant or child (n = 95) or all other respondents (n = 1,323) after controlling for the respondent characteristics. Healthcare providers should pay attention to assessing sleep characteristics of female Veterans with caregiving responsibilities, particularly those caregiving for a sick adult.

  2. Anticipating the traumatic brain injury-related health care needs of women veterans after the Department of Defense change in combat assignment policy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amara, Jomana; Iverson, Katherine M; Krengel, Maxine; Pogoda, Terri K; Hendricks, Ann

    2014-01-01

    Female service members' presence in combat zones during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom is unprecedented both in terms of the number of women deployed and the nature of their involvement. In light of changing Department of Defense policy governing the deployment of women in combat zones, this article intends to set the groundwork for estimating future combat-related injuries and subsequent Veterans Health Administration (VHA) utilization while focusing on traumatic brain injury (TBI). The article summarizes and presents the results of a study that examines veterans who present to VHA for TBI evaluation. For a national sample of veterans, a dataset including information on post-screening utilization, diagnoses, and location of care was constructed. The dataset included self-reported health symptoms and other information obtained from a standardized national VHA post-screening clinical evaluation, the comprehensive TBI evaluation (CTBIE). Both women and men utilize high levels of VHA health care after a CTBIE. However, there are gender differences in the volume and types of services used, with women utilizing different services than their male counterparts and incurring higher costs, including higher overall and outpatient costs. As women veterans seek more of their health care from the VHA, there will be a need for more coordinated care to identify and manage deployment-related TBI and common comorbidities such as posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and chronic pain. Deployment-connected injuries are likely to rise because of the rescinding of the ban on women in combat. This in turn has critical implications for VHA strategic planning and budgeting. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  3. A Randomized, Controlled Multisite Study of Behavioral Interventions for Veterans with Mental Illness and Antipsychotic Medication-Associated Obesity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erickson, Zachary D; Kwan, Crystal L; Gelberg, Hollie A; Arnold, Irina Y; Chamberlin, Valery; Rosen, Jennifer A; Shah, Chandresh; Nguyen, Charles T; Hellemann, Gerhard; Aragaki, Dixie R; Kunkel, Charles F; Lewis, Melissa M; Sachinvala, Neena; Sonza, Patrick A; Pierre, Joseph M; Ames, Donna

    2017-04-01

    Weight gain and other metabolic sequelae of antipsychotic medications can lead to medication non-adherence, reduced quality of life, increased costs, and premature mortality. Of the approaches to address this, behavioral interventions are less invasive, cost less, and can result in sustained long-term benefits. We investigated behavioral weight management interventions for veterans with mental illness across four medical centers within the Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare System. We conducted a 12-month, multi-site extension of our previous randomized, controlled study, comparing treatment and control groups. Veterans (and some non-veteran women) diagnosed with mental illness, overweight (defined as having a BMI over 25), and required ongoing antipsychotic therapy. One group received "Lifestyle Balance" (LB; modified from the Diabetes Prevention Program) consisting of classes and individual nutritional counseling with a dietitian. A second group received less intensive "Usual Care" (UC) consisting of weight monitoring and provision of self-help. Participants completed anthropometric and nutrition assessments weekly for 8 weeks, then monthly. Psychiatric, behavioral, and physical assessments were conducted at baseline and months 2, 6, and 12. Metabolic and lipid laboratory tests were performed quarterly. Participants in both groups lost weight. LB participants had a greater decrease in average waist circumference [F(1,1244) = 11.9, p Behavioral interventions specifically designed for individuals with mental illness can be effective for weight loss and improve dietary behaviors. "Lifestyle Balance" integrates well with VA healthcare's patient-centered "Whole Health" approach. ClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT01052714.

  4. Veterans Crisis Line: Videos About Reaching out for Help

    Medline Plus

    Full Text Available ... listen? see more videos from Veterans Health Administration 1 Act see more videos from Veterans Health Administration Lost: The Power of One Connection see more videos from Veterans Health Administration ...

  5. Veterans Crisis Line: Videos About Reaching out for Help

    Medline Plus

    Full Text Available ... videos about getting help. Be There: Help Save a Life see more videos from Veterans Health Administration ... listen? see more videos from Veterans Health Administration 1 Act see more videos from Veterans Health Administration ...

  6. Veterans Crisis Line: Videos About Reaching out for Help

    Medline Plus

    Full Text Available ... Administration I'm Good. But are you ready to listen? see more videos from Veterans Health Administration ... videos from Veterans Health Administration Vet Centers: Here to Help see more videos from Veterans Health Administration ...

  7. Correlates of VA mental health treatment utilization among OEF/OIF/OND veterans: Resilience, stigma, social support, personality, and beliefs about treatment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeViva, Jason C; Sheerin, Christina M; Southwick, Steven M; Roy, Alicia M; Pietrzak, Robert H; Harpaz-Rotem, Ilan

    2016-05-01

    Veterans of Operations Iraqi Freedom/Enduring Freedom/New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND) tend not to engage in mental health care. Identifying modifiable factors related to mental health service utilization could facilitate development of interventions to increase utilization. The current study examined the relationship between mental health care utilization and measures of PTSD symptoms, resilience, stigma, beliefs about mental health care, perceived barriers to mental health care, posttraumatic growth and meaning, social support, and personality factors in a sample of 100 OEF/OIF/OND veterans with PTSD symptoms referred to VA mental health care. Participants who received psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy (PP) scored higher on measures of PTSD symptoms, stigma, and adaptive beliefs about mental health treatment, and lower on measures of resilience, postdeployment social support, emotional stability, and conscientiousness, than participants who received no treatment (NT). Participants who received psychotherapy only (PT) scored higher on a measure of PTSD symptoms than NT participants. PT participants scored higher on an emotional stability measure and lower on measures of PTSD symptoms and stigma than PP participants. Multinomial logistic regression including all variables significantly related to treatment utilization indicated that PTSD symptoms and adaptive beliefs about psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy were higher in the PT and PP groups than in the NT group, and concerns about discrimination were higher in the PP group than the NT group. Interventions targeting beliefs about mental health care could increase mental health treatment utilization among OEF/OIF/OND veterans. Concerns about stigma may affect the utilization process differently at different decision points. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved).

  8. Gender Differences in Service Utilization among OEF/OIF Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder after a Brief Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention to Increase Treatment Engagement: A Mixed Methods Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gallegos, Autumn M; Wolff, Kristina B; Streltzov, Nicholas A; Adams, Leslie B; Carpenter-Song, Elizabeth; Nicholson, Joanne; Stecker, Tracy

    2015-01-01

    Women veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom [OEF/OIF]) have a moderately higher risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than male veterans. However, gender disparities in treatment engagement may prevent women veterans from initiating the care they need. Understanding gender differences in predictors of and barriers to treatment is essential to improving engagement and mental health outcomes. The purpose of this study was to examine gender differences in treatment utilization after a brief, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) intervention among male and female OEF/OIF veterans. Participants were assigned randomly to either the intervention or control conditions. Intervention participants received the telephone-based CBT intervention. Participants were 35 female and 238 male OEF/OIF veterans who screened positive for PTSD and had never initiated PTSD treatment. Participants were asked about treatment utilization, beliefs about PTSD treatment, and symptoms at months 1, 3, and 6 months subsequent to the baseline telephone assessment. The PTSD Checklist-Military Version was used to assess PTSD and the Patient's Health Questionnaire was used to assess symptoms of depression. Female veterans who received an intervention were significantly more likely to have attended treatment over the 6-month follow-up period than male veterans who received an intervention (χ(2) = 7.91; df = 3; odds ratio, 3.93; p = .04). The CBT intervention may be a critical mechanism to engage female veterans in treatment. Further research is needed to understand how to engage male veterans with PTSD in treatment. Copyright © 2015 Jacobs Institute of Women's Health. All rights reserved.

  9. Evaluating the Veterans Health Administration's Staffing Methodology Model: A Reliable Approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Taylor, Beth; Yankey, Nicholas; Robinson, Claire; Annis, Ann; Haddock, Kathleen S; Alt-White, Anna; Krein, Sarah L; Sales, Anne

    2015-01-01

    All Veterans Health Administration facilities have been mandated to use a standardized method of determining appropriate direct-care staffing by nursing personnel. A multi-step process was designed to lead to projection of full-time equivalent employees required for safe and effective care across all inpatient units. These projections were intended to develop appropriate budgets for each facility. While staffing levels can be increased, even in facilities subject to budget and personnel caps, doing so requires considerable commitment at all levels of the facility. This commitment must come from front-line nursing personnel to senior leadership, not only in nursing and patient care services, but throughout the hospital. Learning to interpret and rely on data requires a considerable shift in thinking for many facilities, which have relied on historical levels to budget for staffing, but which does not take into account the dynamic character of nursing units and patient need.

  10. Exploring the Experiences of Female Student Veterans with Disabilities Entering Higher Education during Reintegration: A Phenomenological Study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, Beverly Tillery

    2016-01-01

    The purpose of this qualitative transcendental phenomenological study was to explore and describe the lived experiences of female student veterans with disabilities entering higher education during reintegration in order to improve programs, services, and support available to female student veterans with disabilities. A screening questionnaire,…

  11. A Collective Case Study of Veterans inside an Arts and Crafts Room and Their Perceptions Regarding Empowerment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hasio, Cindy Lee

    2013-01-01

    This dissertation is "A Collective Case Study of Veterans Inside an Arts and Crafts Room and Their Perceptions Regarding Empowerment." This research examined to what degree art making, and in what ways a community of learning contributed to veterans' self-worth and empowerment through their creative activities and interactions inside an…

  12. CKD screening and management in the Veterans Health Administration: the impact of system organization and an innovative electronic record.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patel, Thakor G; Pogach, Leonard M; Barth, Robert H

    2009-03-01

    At the beginning of this decade, Healthy People 2010 issued a series of objectives to "reduce the incidence, morbidity, mortality and health care costs of chronic kidney disease." A necessary feature of any program to reduce the burden of kidney disease in the US population must include mechanisms to screen populations at risk and institute early the aspects of management, such as control of blood pressure, management of diabetes, and, in patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD), preparation for dialysis therapy and proper vascular access management, that can retard CKD progression and improve long-term outcome. The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans Health Administration is a broad-based national health care system that is almost uniquely situated to address these issues and has developed a number of effective approaches using evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, performance measures, innovative use of a robust electronic medical record system, and system oversight during the past decade. In this report, we describe the application of this systems approach to the prevention of CKD in veterans through the treatment of risk factors, identification of CKD in veterans, and oversight of predialysis and dialysis care. The lessons learned and applicability to the private sector are discussed.

  13. Veterans Choice Program

    Data.gov (United States)

    Department of Veterans Affairs — If you are already enrolled in VA health care, the Choice Program allows you to receive health care within your community. Using this program does NOT impact your...

  14. Observational Comparative Effectiveness of Pharmaceutical Treatments for Obesity within the Veterans Health Administration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grabarczyk, Ted R

    2018-01-01

    To compare the effectiveness of weight-management medications used to assist with weight loss in real-world clinical practice in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Retrospective, multicenter, observational cohort study. National VA Corporate Data Warehouse. A total of 66,035 VA patients aged 18 years or older with a body mass index of 25 kg/m 2 or greater who had an initial fill for a study medication (orlistat [6153 patients], phentermine [304 patients], lorcaserin [298 patients], or phentermine-topiramate extended release [233 patients]) or participation in the VA's MOVE! weight-management program with at least three total visits in a clinic coded as a MOVE clinic in the subsequent 24 weeks (59,047 patients) between January 1, 2012, and July 1, 2016. The primary outcome was the percentage change in weight from baseline to at least 20 weeks or later (i.e., closest weight to 6 months). Secondary outcomes were difference in the percentage of weight loss at 12 and 36 weeks; changes in blood pressure, hemoglobin A 1c , high-density and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels; and percentage of patients who achieved at least a 5% and 10% weight loss at 6 months from baseline in each group after at least 20 weeks. For the primary outcome, the percentage decrease in weight from baseline after at least 20 weeks in the lorcaserin, phentermine-topiramate, phentermine, orlistat, and MOVE! groups were 3.6%, 4.1%, 3.6%, 2.1%, and 1.6%, respectively (phentermine-topiramate group vs. MOVE! group, pweight loss after at least 20 weeks differed significantly among groups, ranging from 26.2% for the MOVE! Program only group to 40.3% for patients in the phentermine-topiramate group. In the VA population, the effectiveness of four available weight-management medications was similar. Patients receiving phentermine-topiramate had a greater proportion of weight loss after at least 20 weeks compared with those solely enrolled in the VA's MOVE! weight

  15. Building the Relations of New and Veteran Teachers to Address Retention: An Action Research Study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roberts, John-Bernard

    2016-01-01

    This dissertation analyzed the factors that affected the retention of new teachers in the United States. This action research study was conducted utilizing qualitative data. Qualitative methods were relied upon to investigate perspectives from new and veteran teachers. It was proposed that teachers left the profession due to opportunity cost…

  16. A Coaching by Telephone Intervention for Veterans and Care Team Engagement (ACTIVATE): A study protocol for a Hybrid Type I effectiveness-implementation randomized controlled trial.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oddone, Eugene Z; Damschroder, Laura J; Gierisch, Jennifer; Olsen, Maren; Fagerlin, Angela; Sanders, Linda; Sparks, Jordan; Turner, Marsha; May, Carrie; McCant, Felicia; Curry, David; White-Clark, Courtney; Juntilla, Karen

    2017-04-01

    A large proportion of deaths and many illnesses can be attributed to three modifiable risk factors: tobacco use, overweight/obesity, and physical inactivity. Health risk assessments (HRAs) are widely available online but have not been consistently used in healthcare systems to activate patients to participate in prevention programs aimed at improving lifestyle behaviors. The goal of this study is to test whether adding telephone-based coaching to use of a comprehensive HRA increases at-risk patients' activation and enrollment into a prevention program compared to HRA use alone. Participants were randomized to either complete an HRA alone or in conjunction with a telephone coaching intervention. To be eligible Veterans had to have at least one modifiable risk factor (current smoker, overweight/obese, or physically inactive). The primary outcome is enrollment and participation in a prevention program by 6months. Secondary outcomes include change in a Patient Activation Measure and Framingham Risk Score. This study is the first to test a web-based health risk assessment coupled with a health coaching intervention within a large healthcare system. Results from this study will help the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) implement its national plan to include comprehensive health risk assessments as a tool to engage Veterans in prevention. The results will also inform health systems outside VHA who seek to implement Medicare's advisement that health risk assessment become a mandatory component of care under the Affordable Care Act. © 2016.

  17. Psychological problems in children of war veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder in Bosnia and Herzegovina: cross-sectional study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klarić, Miro; Francisković, Tanja; Klarić, Branka; Kvesić, Ante; Kastelan, Ana; Graovac, Mirjana; Lisica, Ines Diminić

    2008-08-01

    To assess psychological problems in children as reported by their veteran fathers with war-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The study group consisted of 154 veterans with war-related PTSD who were treated at the Mostar University Hospital. The control group consisted of 77 veterans without war-related PTSD who were selected from veteran associations by the snowball method. General Demographic Questionnaire, the first and fourth module of the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire-Bosnia and Herzegovina version, and the Questionnaire on Developmental, Emotional, and Behavioral Problems in Children, created specifically for the needs of this study, were used to collect data on veterans' perception of psychological problems in their children. In comparison with veterans without PTSD, veterans with PTSD reported significantly more developmental (odds ratio [OR], 2.37; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.51-3.73), behavioral (OR, 3.92; 95% CI, 1.53-10.03), and emotional problems (OR, 17.74; 95% CI, 2.40-131.10) in their children. Veterans with war-related PTSD more often reported developmental problems in their children. Father's PTSD may have long-term and long-lasting consequences on the child's personality.

  18. Arthritis and Veterans

    Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Podcasts

    2015-11-09

    One in three veterans has arthritis. This podcast provides information on how veterans can improve their quality of life with physical activity and other arthritis management strategies.  Created: 11/9/2015 by National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP).   Date Released: 11/9/2015.

  19. Risk Factors for Homelessness Among US Veterans

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsai, Jack; Rosenheck, Robert A.

    2015-01-01

    Homelessness among US veterans has been a focus of research for over 3 decades. Following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, this is the first systematic review to summarize research on risk factors for homelessness among US veterans and to evaluate the evidence for these risk factors. Thirty-one studies published from 1987 to 2014 were divided into 3 categories: more rigorous studies, less rigorous studies, and studies comparing homeless veterans with homeless nonveterans. The strongest and most consistent risk factors were substance use disorders and mental illness, followed by low income and other income-related factors. There was some evidence that social isolation, adverse childhood experiences, and past incarceration were also important risk factors. Veterans, especially those who served since the advent of the all-volunteer force, were at greater risk for homelessness than other adults. Homeless veterans were generally older, better educated, and more likely to be male, married/have been married, and to have health insurance coverage than other homeless adults. More studies simultaneously addressing premilitary, military, and postmilitary risk factors for veteran homelessness are needed. This review identifies substance use disorders, mental illness, and low income as targets for policies and programs in efforts to end homelessness among veterans. PMID:25595171

  20. Perceived Stigma, Discrimination, and Disclosure of Sexual Orientation Among a Sample of Lesbian Veterans Receiving Care in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mattocks, Kristin M; Sullivan, J Cherry; Bertrand, Christina; Kinney, Rebecca L; Sherman, Michelle D; Gustason, Carolyn

    2015-06-01

    Many lesbian women experience stigma and discrimination from their healthcare providers as a result of their sexual orientation. Additionally, others avoid disclosure of their sexual orientation to their providers for fear of mistreatment. With the increasing number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) veterans seeking care from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), it is important to understand lesbian veterans' experiences with stigma, discrimination, and disclosure of sexual orientation. This article examines lesbian veterans' experiences with perceived stigma and discrimination in VHA healthcare, their perspectives on disclosure of sexual orientation to VHA providers, and their recommendations for improvements in VHA healthcare to create a welcoming environment for lesbian veterans. This is a mixed methods study of twenty lesbian veterans at four VHA facilities. The women veterans participated in a one-hour interview and then completed an anonymous survey. Ten percent of lesbian veterans had experienced mistreatment from VHA staff or providers, but nearly 50% feared that their Veterans Affairs (VA) providers would mistreat them if they knew about their sexual orientation. A majority of lesbian veterans (70%) believed that VHA providers should never ask about sexual orientation or should only ask if the veteran wanted to discuss it. A majority (80%) believed the VHA had taken steps to create a welcoming environment for LBGT veterans. Though many lesbian veterans have fears of stigma and discrimination in the context of VHA care, few have experienced this. Most lesbian veterans believed the VHA was trying to create a welcoming environment for its LGBT veterans. Future research should focus on expanding this study to include a larger and more diverse sample of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender veterans receiving care at VA facilities across the country.

  1. Allowing Family to be Family: End-of-Life Care in Veterans Affairs Medical Foster Homes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manheim, Chelsea E; Haverhals, Leah M; Jones, Jacqueline; Levy, Cari R

    2016-01-01

    The Medical Foster Home program is a unique long-term care program coordinated by the Veterans Health Administration. The program pairs Veterans with private, 24-hour a day community-based caregivers who often care for Veterans until the end of life. This qualitative study explored the experiences of care coordination for Medical Foster Home Veterans at the end of life with eight Veterans' family members, five Medical Foster Home caregivers, and seven Veterans Health Administration Home-Based Primary Care team members. A case study, qualitative content analysis identified these themes addressing care coordination and impact of the Medical Foster Home model on those involved: (a) Medical Foster Home program supports Veterans' families; (b) Medical Foster Home program supports the caregiver as family; (c) Veterans' needs are met socially and culturally at the end of life; and (d) the changing needs of Veterans, families, and caregivers at Veterans' end of life are addressed. Insights into how to best support Medical Foster Home caregivers caring for Veterans at the end of life were gained including the need for more and better respite options and how caregivers are compensated in the month of the Veteran's death, as well as suggestions to navigate end-of-life care coordination with multiple stakeholders involved.

  2. A prospective examination of the impact of a supported employment program and employment on health-related quality of life, handicap, and disability among Veterans with SCI.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ottomanelli, Lisa; Barnett, Scott D; Goetz, Lance L

    2013-10-01

    To investigate impact of participation in a supported employment program and impact of employment itself on health-related quality of life (HRQOL), disability, and handicap among Veterans with spinal cord injury (SCI). We used a prospective, randomized, controlled, multi-site trial of supported employment (SE) versus treatment as usual (TAU) for vocational issues. Subjects were 157 Veterans with SCI who received either SE or TAU for vocational issues. Outcomes were examined in terms of type of vocational treatment received and whether competitive employment was obtained. Outcomes investigated were HRQOL as measured by the Veterans RAND 36-item health survey (VR-36), handicap as measured by the Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique (CHART), and disability as measured by the functional independence measure (FIM). Subjects were assessed at baseline and at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. There were no significant differences between Veterans who participated in SE compared to those who received TAU in study measures. Participants obtaining competitive employment demonstrated significantly higher scores on the Social Integration, Mobility, and Occupation dimensions of the CHART. There were no observed differences in VR-36 scores or FIM scores for those obtaining competitive employment. This study suggests that employment has a positive effect on an individual's ability to participate in social relationships, move about their home and community, and spend time in productive and usual roles. Inability to detect differences across other domains of handicap or any changes in HRQOL may have been due to several factors including level and intensity of employment, insufficient follow-up period, or measurement limitations.

  3. Patient-centered medical home initiative produced modest economic results for Veterans Health Administration, 2010-12.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hebert, Paul L; Liu, Chuan-Fen; Wong, Edwin S; Hernandez, Susan E; Batten, Adam; Lo, Sophie; Lemon, Jaclyn M; Conrad, Douglas A; Grembowski, David; Nelson, Karin; Fihn, Stephan D

    2014-06-01

    In 2010 the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) began a nationwide initiative called Patient Aligned Care Teams (PACT) that reorganized care at all VHA primary care clinics in accordance with the patient-centered medical home model. We analyzed data for fiscal years 2003-12 to assess how trends in health care use and costs changed after the implementation of PACT. We found that PACT was associated with modest increases in primary care visits and with modest decreases in both hospitalizations for ambulatory care-sensitive conditions and outpatient visits with mental health specialists. We estimated that these changes avoided $596 million in costs, compared to the investment in PACT of $774 million, for a potential net loss of $178 million in the study period. Although PACT has not generated a positive return, it is still maturing, and trends in costs and use are favorable. Adopting patient-centered care does not appear to have been a major financial risk for the VHA. Project HOPE—The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc.

  4. Open access in the patient-centered medical home: lessons from the Veterans Health Administration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    True, Gala; Butler, Anneliese E; Lamparska, Bozena G; Lempa, Michele L; Shea, Judy A; Asch, David A; Werner, Rachel M

    2013-04-01

    The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has undertaken a 5-year initiative to transform to a patient-centered medical home model. An early focus of implementation was on creating open access, defined as continuity and capacity in primary care. We describe the impact of readiness for implementation on efforts of pilot teams to make changes to improve access and identify successful strategies used by early adopters to overcome barriers to change. A qualitative, formative evaluation of the first 18 months of implementation in one Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) spread across six states. Members of local implementation teams including administrators, primary care providers, and staff from primary care clinics located at 10 medical centers and 45 outpatient clinics. We conducted site visits during the first 6 months of implementation, observations at Learning Collaboratives, semi-structured interviews, and review of internal organizational documents. All data collection took place between April 2010 and December 2011. Early adopters employed various strategies to enhance access, with a focus on decreasing demand for face-to-face care, increasing supply of different types of primary care encounters, and improving clinic efficiencies. Our interviews with key contacts revealed three important areas where readiness for implementation (or lack thereof) had an impact on interventions to improve access: leadership engagement, staffing resources, and access to information and knowledge. Key factors related to readiness for implementation had an impact on which interventions pilot teams could put into place, as well as the viability and sustainability of access gains. Wide variations in interventions to improve access occurring across sites situated within one organization have important implications for efforts to measure the impact of enhanced access on patient outcomes, costs, and other systems-level indicators of the Medical Home.

  5. Chikungunya Fever Cases Identified in the Veterans Health Administration System, 2014.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perti, Tara; Lucero-Obusan, Cynthia A; Schirmer, Patricia L; Winters, Mark A; Holodniy, Mark

    2016-05-01

    During December 2013, the first locally transmitted chikungunya virus (CHIKV) infections in the Americas were reported in the Caribbean. Although CHIKV infection is rarely fatal, risk for severe disease increases with age and medical comorbidities. Herein we describe characteristics of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) patients with CHIKV infection and, among those with infections diagnosed in Puerto Rico, investigated risk factors for hospitalization. We queried VHA's national electronic medical records to identify patients with CHIKV testing during 2014. Demographics, clinical history, laboratory results, and outcomes were abstracted. We investigated risk factors for hospitalization among patients with laboratory-confirmed CHIKV infection in Puerto Rico. We identified 180 laboratory-confirmed CHIKV infections; 148 (82.2%) were diagnosed in Puerto Rico, and 32 (17.8%) were diagnosed among returning travelers elsewhere in the United States. In Puerto Rico, where more patients were hospitalized (55.4% versus 20.0%) and died (4.1% versus 0%), risk for hospitalization increased with age (relative risk [RR]/each 10-year increase, 1.19; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.06-1.32) and, adjusted for age, increased among patients with congestive heart failure (RR, 1.58; 95% CI, 1.25-1.99), chronic kidney disease (RR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.19-1.94), diabetes mellitus (RR, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.06-1.84), or chronic lung disease (RR, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.03-1.82). CHIKV infection is an emerging problem among Veterans residing in or visiting areas with CHIKV transmission. Although overall mortality rates are low, clinicians in affected areas should be aware that older patients and patients with comorbidities may be at increased risk for severe disease.

  6. Isoniazid Toxicity among an Older Veteran Population: A Retrospective Cohort Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vinnard, Christopher; Gopal, Anand; Linkin, Darren R; Maslow, Joel

    2013-01-01

    our objective was to determine the incidence of toxicity among veterans initiating isoniazid therapy for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) and determine whether advancing age was a risk factor for toxicity. we performed a retrospective cohort study among all adults initiating isoniazid treatment for LTBI at a Veterans Medical Center from 1999 to 2005. We collected data on patient demographics, co-morbidities, site of initiation, and treatment outcome. 219 patients initiated isoniazid therapy for LTBI during the period of observation, and the completion of therapy was confirmed in 100 patients (46%). Among 18/219 patients (8%) that discontinued therapy due to a documented suspected toxicity, the median time to onset was 3 months (IQR 1-5 months). In an adjusted Cox regression model, there was no association between discontinuation due to suspected toxicity and advancing age (HR 1.03, 95% CI 0.99, 1.07). In contrast, hepatitis C infection was a significant predictor of cessation due to toxicity in the adjusted analysis (HR 3.03, 95% CI 1.08, 8.52). cessation of isoniazid therapy due to suspected toxicity was infrequently observed among a veteran population and was not associated with advancing age. Alternative LTBI treatment approaches should be further examined in the veteran population.

  7. Isoniazid Toxicity among an Older Veteran Population: A Retrospective Cohort Study

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christopher Vinnard

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Background: our objective was to determine the incidence of toxicity among veterans initiating isoniazid therapy for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI and determine whether advancing age was a risk factor for toxicity. Methods: we performed a retrospective cohort study among all adults initiating isoniazid treatment for LTBI at a Veterans Medical Center from 1999 to 2005. We collected data on patient demographics, co-morbidities, site of initiation, and treatment outcome. Results: 219 patients initiated isoniazid therapy for LTBI during the period of observation, and the completion of therapy was confirmed in 100 patients (46%. Among 18/219 patients (8% that discontinued therapy due to a documented suspected toxicity, the median time to onset was 3 months (IQR 1–5 months. In an adjusted Cox regression model, there was no association between discontinuation due to suspected toxicity and advancing age (HR 1.03, 95% CI 0.99, 1.07. In contrast, hepatitis C infection was a significant predictor of cessation due to toxicity in the adjusted analysis (HR 3.03, 95% CI 1.08, 8.52. Conclusions: cessation of isoniazid therapy due to suspected toxicity was infrequently observed among a veteran population and was not associated with advancing age. Alternative LTBI treatment approaches should be further examined in the veteran population.

  8. Male veterans with PTSD exhibit aberrant neural dynamics during working memory processing: an MEG study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McDermott, Timothy J; Badura-Brack, Amy S; Becker, Katherine M; Ryan, Tara J; Khanna, Maya M; Heinrichs-Graham, Elizabeth; Wilson, Tony W

    2016-06-01

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with executive functioning deficits, including disruptions in working memory. In this study, we examined the neural dynamics of working memory processing in veterans with PTSD and a matched healthy control sample using magnetoencephalography (MEG). Our sample of recent combat veterans with PTSD and demographically matched participants without PTSD completed a working memory task during a 306-sensor MEG recording. The MEG data were preprocessed and transformed into the time-frequency domain. Significant oscillatory brain responses were imaged using a beamforming approach to identify spatiotemporal dynamics. Fifty-one men were included in our analyses: 27 combat veterans with PTSD and 24 controls. Across all participants, a dynamic wave of neural activity spread from posterior visual cortices to left frontotemporal regions during encoding, consistent with a verbal working memory task, and was sustained throughout maintenance. Differences related to PTSD emerged during early encoding, with patients exhibiting stronger α oscillatory responses than controls in the right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG). Differences spread to the right supramarginal and temporal cortices during later encoding where, along with the right IFG, they persisted throughout the maintenance period. This study focused on men with combat-related PTSD using a verbal working memory task. Future studies should evaluate women and the impact of various traumatic experiences using diverse tasks. Posttraumatic stress disorder is associated with neurophysiological abnormalities during working memory encoding and maintenance. Veterans with PTSD engaged a bilateral network, including the inferior prefrontal cortices and supramarginal gyri. Right hemispheric neural activity likely reflects compensatory processing, as veterans with PTSD work to maintain accurate performance despite known cognitive deficits associated with the disorder.

  9. Development of a curriculum and training program in Woman Veterans Health for Internal Medical Residents.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ceylony, Manju; Porhomayon, Jahan; Pourafkari, Leili; Nader, Nader D

    2017-09-26

    Internal Medicine residents must develop competency as Primary Care Providers, but a gap exists in their curriculum and training with regard to women's reproductive health. With increasing need in VA due to new influx of women veterans it poses problems in recruitment of competent physicians trained in Women's health. An intensive, one-month women's reproductive health curriculum with hands on experience for Internal Medicine residents was provided. Curriculum was taught to the residents who rotated at the Women's Health Clinic for one month. Pre-test and post-test exams were administered. Increase in knowledge of residents in providing gender specific evaluations and management was objectively assessed by changes in post-test scores. Data were analyzed for statistically significant improvement in written tests scores. Total of 47 Internal Medicine residents rotated through Women's Health Center during the evaluation period. All residents completed both pre-test and post-test exams. The average time to complete the pre-test was 20.5 ± 5.4 min and 19.5 ± 4.8 min for post-test. There was no correlation between the time to complete the pre-test exam and the post-test exam. The total score was significantly improved from 8.5 ± 1.6 to 13.2 ± 1.8 (p training with information on women's health that enables them to provide safe and gender appropriate care in primary care settings. This practice will reduce the need for frequent referrals for specialized care and thus provide cost saving for patient and health care on the whole.

  10. Opioid overdose education and naloxone distribution: Development of the Veterans Health Administration's national program.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oliva, Elizabeth M; Christopher, Melissa L D; Wells, Daina; Bounthavong, Mark; Harvey, Michael; Himstreet, Julianne; Emmendorfer, Thomas; Valentino, Michael; Franchi, Mariano; Goodman, Francine; Trafton, Jodie A

    To prevent opioid-related mortality, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) developed a national Opioid Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution (OEND) program. VHA's OEND program sought national implementation of OEND across all medical facilities (n = 142). This paper describes VHA's efforts to facilitate nationwide health care system-based OEND implementation, including the critical roles of VHA's national pharmacy services and academic detailing services. VHA is the first large health care system in the United States to implement OEND nationwide. Launching the national program required VHA to translate a primarily community-based public health approach to OEND into a health care system-based approach that distributed naloxone to patients with opioid use disorders as well as to patients prescribed opioid analgesics. Key innovations included developing steps to implement OEND, pharmacy developing standard naloxone rescue kits, adding those kits to the VHA National Formulary, centralizing kit distribution, developing clinical guidance for issuing naloxone kits, and supporting OEND as a focal campaign of academic detailing. Other innovations included the development of patient and provider education resources (e.g., brochures, videos, accredited training) and implementation and evaluation resources (e.g., technical assistance, clinical decision support tools). Clinical decision support tools that leverage VHA national data are available to clinical staff with appropriate permissions. These tools allow staff and leaders to evaluate OEND implementation and provide actionable next steps to help them identify patients who could benefit from OEND. Through fiscal year 2016, VHA dispensed 45,178 naloxone prescriptions written by 5693 prescribers to 39,328 patients who were primarily prescribed opioids or had opioid use disorder. As of February 2, 2016, there were 172 spontaneously reported opioid overdose reversals with the use of VHA naloxone prescriptions. VHA

  11. Veterans Crisis Line: Videos About Reaching out for Help

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    Full Text Available ... Call see more videos from Veterans Health Administration I'm Good. But are you ready to listen? ... PSA see more videos from Veterans Health Administration I am A Veteran Family/Friend Active Duty/Reserve ...

  12. Veterans Crisis Line: Videos About Reaching out for Help

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    Full Text Available ... videos about getting help. Be There: Help Save a Life see more videos from Veterans Health Administration ... more videos from Veterans Health Administration I am A Veteran Family/Friend Active Duty/Reserve and Guard ...

  13. Veterans Crisis Line: Videos About Reaching out for Help

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  14. Veterans Crisis Line: Videos About Reaching out for Help

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    Full Text Available ... from Veterans Health Administration Suicide Prevention PSA for Military Families see more videos from Blue Star Families These ... from Veterans Health Administration I am A ... Veterans Live Chat Military Live Chat Deaf - Hard of Hearing Contact Us ...

  15. Veterans Crisis Line: Videos About Reaching out for Help

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    Full Text Available ... in crisis, find a facility near you. Spread the Word Download logos, Web ads, and materials and ... from Veterans Health Administration Veterans Crisis Line -- After the Call see more videos from Veterans Health Administration ...

  16. Veterans Crisis Line: Videos About Reaching out for Help

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  17. Veterans Crisis Line: Videos About Reaching out for Help

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    Full Text Available ... out for help. Bittersweet More Videos from Veterans Health Administration Watch additional videos about getting help. Be ... Save a Life see more videos from Veterans Health Administration Veterans Crisis Line -- After the Call see ...

  18. Veterans Crisis Line: Videos About Reaching out for Help

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  19. Veterans Crisis Line: Videos About Reaching out for Help

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    Full Text Available ... more videos from Veterans Health Administration Lost: The Power of One Connection see more videos from Veterans Health Administration The Power of 1 PSA see more videos from Veterans ...

  20. Experiences of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the military among OEF/OIF veterans: implications for health care providers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bell, Margret E; Reardon, Annemarie

    2011-01-01

    Given the frequent occurrence and significant health impact of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the military, it is important that for health care providers working with Veterans to have at least some basic knowledge in this area. Targeting providers addressing mental health and psychosocial issues, but also applicable to clinicians working with survivors in a variety of capacities, this article provides an overview of clinical care with survivors of sexual trauma in the military, particularly those who are OEF/OIF Veterans. We cover basic background information, focusing primarily on the impact of sexual trauma in the military, how survivor's reactions are shaped by various aspects of the military context, and general principles to assist clinicians in working effectively with survivors, whatever their role.

  1. Pilot study comparing telephone to in-person delivery of cognitive-behavioural therapy for trauma-related insomnia for rural veterans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laurel Franklin, C; Walton, Jessica L; Raines, Amanda M; Chambliss, Jessica L; Corrigan, Sheila A; Cuccurullo, Lisa-Ann J; Petersen, Nancy J; Thompson, Karin E

    2017-01-01

    Introduction It is estimated that 70% of patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have chronic insomnia. A recent meta-analysis examined cognitive-behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) in veterans with and without PTSD, and suggested that most studies had questionable methodology, but generally supported its effectiveness in this population. Further, while CBT-I via telehealth (i.e. using telecommunication and information technology to deliver health services) has shown effectiveness for primary insomnia, it has not been applied to PTSD-related insomnia. Methods Veterans with insomnia who were diagnosed with PTSD ( n = 12) or having significant subthreshold PTSD symptoms ( n = 6) on the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale were randomly assigned to receive CBT-I in-person ( n = 7) or by telephone ( n = 11), to pilot test the potential effectiveness, acceptability, and feasibility of administering CBT-I in rural veterans. A six-week CBT-I protocol was delivered, and the veteran's insomnia was assessed at post-treatment and follow-up. Results Given the small sample size, Cohen's d was used to detect group differences, finding large effect sizes favouring the in-person delivery, until three-months post-treatment when this difference diminished. Most veterans found the treatment acceptable, regardless of mode of delivery. Based on the results, a larger project is feasible. Feasibility for a larger project is favourable. Discussion In summary, our findings uphold and extend previous research. Specifically, current pilot data suggest that telephone-delivered CBT-I may be able to reduce trauma-related insomnia symptoms. Future trials are needed to assess the effectiveness of CBT-I delivered to rural veterans with posttraumatic insomnia.

  2. Opinions of Veteran Runners on The Influence Between Long-Distance Running and Holistically Interpreted Health

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Oborný Josef

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available The objective of the research was to determine the cognitive basis, the classification and evaluation of the long experience of long-distance runners in the senior category in relation to the perception of running as a factor in their overall health and wellbeing. Research was conducted with a sample of male and female long-distance runners with long experience in domestic and foreign longdistance running events in veteran categories. Oral and written interviews with the same questions were used to acquire information on the correlation between holistically understood health and long-term participation in long-distance running. The interview design allowed respondents to express their opinion on the questions in more detail through additional notes. A quantitative analysis of the acquired data was conducted using standard mathematical operations and the incidence of responses in percentage terms. The hypotheses were tested using a test on the parameter p of a binomial distribution and a median test. Senior-age long-distance runners’ decision to take up running was found to have both heteronomous motivation (encouragement by a sports teacher, admiration for other runners, persuasion by colleagues and autonomous motivation (an internal need to run, a means for overcoming mental stress and restoring internal balance, the need to lose weight, elimination of health problems, the desire to compete. The majority of runners agreed that long-distance running had a positive effect on their overall health and physical condition. Long-distance runners rated the effect of long-distance running on their social and personal wellbeing to be greater than three on a five-point scale did. There is no statistically significant difference between the number of runners who think that long practice of running has some negative effects on their health and the number of runners who think that it has no negative effects. The majority of runners think that their health

  3. Longitudinal changes in hearing sensitivity among men: the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Echt, Katharina V; Smith, Sherri L; Burridge, Andrea Backscheider; Spiro, Avron

    2010-10-01

    Over 35 years (1962-1996), participants of the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study (NAS), a study of healthy aging in men, completed up to eight audiometric assessments. This report describes the age-related hearing trajectories of screened men (n=953) aged 23 to 81 years at enrollment, estimates the typical rate of change per decade in hearing sensitivity, and compares longitudinal and cross-sectional estimates of change in hearing sensitivity. The men were followed 14 years on average. The hearing trajectories, based on a mixed-effects model analytical approach to the data, provide converging evidence that hearing loss in aging is pervasive and progressive even among men initially selected for good physical health. Typically the men accrued early losses (>25 dB HL) in hearing sensitivity at the higher frequencies beginning in the early 40s, but maintained hearing thresholds better than 25 dB HL for lower frequencies into old age. The average rate of change per year across frequencies and age was 0.69 dB. Predicted cross-sectional estimates of change in hearing sensitivity reliably approximated longitudinal trajectories, with slight misestimations in the 8th decade.

  4. High-intensity sports for posttraumatic stress disorder and depression: feasibility study of ocean therapy with veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Carly M; Mallinson, Trudy; Peppers, Dominique

    2014-01-01

    In this study, we conducted a pretest-posttest investigation of a sports-oriented occupational therapy intervention using surfing in an experiential, skills-based program to support veterans with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in their transition to civilian life. The purpose of this feasibility study was to evaluate the intervention for attendance rates and retention in the program provided in 5 sessions over 5 wk. Fourteen veterans from a specialty postdeployment clinic at a Veterans Affairs hospital were enrolled; 11 completed the study, and 10 attended ≥3 sessions. Participants reported clinically meaningful improvement in PTSD symptom severity (PTSD Checklist-Military Version, Wilcoxon signed rank Z = 2.5, p = .01) and in depressive symptoms (Major Depression Inventory, Wilcoxon signed rank Z = 2.05, p = .04). The results of this small, uncontrolled study suggest that a sports-oriented occupational therapy intervention has potential as a feasible adjunct intervention for veterans seeking mental health treatment for symptoms of PTSD. Copyright © 2014 by the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.

  5. Homeless Veterans Eligible for Medicaid Under the Affordable Care Act.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsai, Jack; Kasprow, Wesley J; Culhane, Dennis; Rosenheck, Robert A

    2015-12-01

    Among homeless veterans and those at risk of homelessness currently enrolled in Veterans Affairs (VA) health care, this study examined the proportion likely to become eligible for Medicaid in 2014 and their health needs. A total of 114,497 homeless and at-risk veterans were categorized into three groups: currently covered by Medicaid, likely to become eligible for Medicaid, and not likely. Seventy-eight percent of the sample was determined to be likely to become eligible for Medicaid in states that expand Medicaid. Compared with veterans not likely to become eligible for Medicaid, those likely to become eligible were less likely to have general medical and psychiatric conditions and to have a VA service-connected disability but more likely to have substance use disorders. Programs serving homeless and at-risk veterans should anticipate the potential interplay between VA health care and the expansion of Medicaid in states that implement the expansion.

  6. Association of Traumatic Brain Injury With Chronic Pain in Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans: Effect of Comorbid Mental Health Conditions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seal, Karen H; Bertenthal, Daniel; Barnes, Deborah E; Byers, Amy L; Strigo, Irina; Yaffe, Kristine

    2017-08-01

    To characterize the association between traumatic brain injury (TBI) and chronic pain and pain disability in the context of comorbid conditions, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression to better inform care of combat veterans. Retrospective cohort study. Medical centers and community clinics. Combat veterans (N=116,913) who received Veterans Affairs care between October 1, 2007 and March 31, 2015, completed a Comprehensive Traumatic Brain Injury Evaluation, and received a criterion standard diagnosis of TBI (none, mild, or moderate to severe). Not applicable. Chronic pain defined as ≥2 of the same pain diagnoses ≥90 days apart and pain disability defined as self-reported pain causing moderate to very severe interference with daily functioning. Fifty-seven percent received ≥1 chronic pain diagnosis. Compared to those with no TBI, PTSD, or depression, there was an independent risk for chronic pain in veterans with mild TBI, which was higher in veterans with moderate to severe TBI. The risk of chronic pain was additive and highest when all 3 conditions-TBI, depression, and PTSD-were copresent (adjusted relative risk, 1.53 and 1.62 [95% confidence interval, 1.50-1.66] for mild and moderate or severe TBI, respectively, plus other diagnoses). The relation of pain disability to TBI, PTSD, and depression followed a similar additive pattern. In combat veterans, chronic pain and pain disability are most commonly associated with TBI in conjunction with PTSD, depression, or both. Integrated models of care that simultaneously address pain in conjunction with TBI, PTSD, and depression will likely be the most clinically effective. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  7. Combat exposure, mental health, and relationship functioning among women veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Creech, Suzannah K; Swift, Robert; Zlotnick, Caron; Taft, Casey; Street, Amy E

    2016-02-01

    This study examined associations between warzone exposures to combat with postdeployment relationship and family functioning in 134 women who deployed to the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Survey invitations were sent by mail to 600 randomly selected women who experienced recent military deployments and were residing in New England. The web-based survey included measures of combat exposure, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, alcohol misuse, postdeployment stress exposure, family functioning, intimate relationship satisfaction, and parenting. Multivariate linear regression with bootstrapping estimates of indirect effects was used to examine whether PTSD symptoms and alcohol misuse accounted for associations between women's combat exposure and their postdeployment relationship and family functioning. Results indicated that women's PTSD symptoms had a direct and negative effect on postdeployment family functioning and on intimate relationship satisfaction. There was no direct association between combat exposure or alcohol misuse with any of the family or relationship functioning variables, however, the indirect association from combat to postdeployment family functioning (b = -.13, SE = 0.07, 95% confidence interval [CI]: -33, -.03) and intimate relationship satisfaction (b = -.25, SE = 0.18, 95% CI: -.79, -.001) was significant and negative through its association with PTSD symptoms. Parenting satisfaction was significantly and negatively associated with postdeployment stress only. This study is among the first to characterize the impact of deployment experiences on women veterans' relationship and family functioning. Findings suggest that women veterans who have been exposed to combat and who have higher levels of PTSD symptoms may benefit from relationship and family focused services after deployment. (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved).

  8. Reflections of the Veterans Administration Puget Sound Health Care System Regional Nurse Practitioner Residency Forum.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Kameka; Poppe, Anne; Kaminetzky, Catherine P; Wipf, Joyce A; Woods, Nancy Fugate

    2016-01-01

    There is a proliferation of advanced practice residency programs. However, there is no uniform model of developing and evaluating program success. An information forum was convened by Veterans Health Administration Puget Sound Health Care System's Center for Primary Care Education on September 17, 2013, in Seattle, Washington, to explore critical aspects of residency models. The three objectives of this forum were to develop a shared understanding of key elements needed to support nurse practitioner residencies; define the unique needs of nurse practitioner trainees who are interested in applying for a residency; and examine the viability of designing a replicable nurse practitioner residency model benchmarking stakeholder best practices. This article describes the organization of the forum and summarizes the presentations during the program. The companion article explores key recommendations from the forum related to future development of residency "toolkits" to aid in future evaluation and accreditation. As nurse practitioner residencies continue to develop and evolve, more is needed in the area of structure and alignment. Published 2015. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

  9. Emergency management program operational responses to weapons of mass destruction: Veterans Health Administration, 2001-2004.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hodgson, Michael J; Bierenbaum, Arnold; Mather, Susan; Brown, Mark A; Beatty, John; Scott, Margie; Brewster, Peter

    2004-11-01

    Despite the recognition of chemical emergencies, terrorist events, and ongoing threats, little practical guidance exists for healthcare facilities. An approach and materials developed by the Veterans Health Administration in a five-element program over the last 2 years to enhance the existing emergency management program is outlined. Nine steps to the development of a comprehensive all-hazards, emergency plan and program, with auditing and improvement tools are offered. Cognitive aids for clinical use are available on-line and in hard copy. A hazard assessment modeled patients as emission sources documenting the operations strategies under which level C personal protective equipment will protect healthcare workers. The development of this response program appears to support a broader, long-standing VHA approach to problem solving. This involves bringing together individual talented field staff, representing specific skills, geographic regions, and work styles; investing in face-to-face consensus development; and developing programs with extensive internal peer-review ("field-based," "bottom-up and top-down," and external re