O'Toole, B I; Marshall, R P; Grayson, D A; Schureck, R J; Dobson, M; Ffrench, M; Pulvertaft, B; Meldrum, L; Bolton, J; Vennard, J
Self-reported physical health status of Australian Vietnam veterans was determined 20-25 years after the war and its relation to combat was investigated. An epidemiological cohort study of a simple random sample of Army veterans posted to Vietnam between 1964 and 1972 was conducted with personal interviews using the Australian Bureau of Statistics Health Interview Survey questionnaire to compare veterans with the Australian population and a 21-item combat exposure index used to measure the relationship of combat to physical health. Veterans reported greater health service usage and more recent health actions than population expectations. They also reported excess health problems in almost all recent illness disease categories except endocrine conditions and cardiovascular conditions; only 6 of 37 chronic disease groups were not elevated compared to the population. Adjustment for non-response changed estimates only slightly. Combat exposure was significantly related to reports of recent and chronic mental disorders, recent hernia and chronic ulcer, recent eczema and chronic rash, deafness, chronic infective and parasitic disease, chronic back disorders and symptoms, signs and ill-defined conditions. Combat exposure may have significantly increased reports of only some health problems. A general position to complain as a result of psychological conditions due to combat is not consistent with the lack of relationship between combat and reports of physical conditions.
Yi, Sang-Wook; Ryu, So-Yeon; Ohrr, Heechoul; Hong, Jae-Seok
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.
Weiner, Melissa R; Monin, Joan K; Mota, Natalie; Pietrzak, Robert H
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.
Mellotte, Harriet; Murphy, Dominic; Rafferty, Laura; Greenberg, Neil
Background : It is well established that veterans suffering from mental health difficulties under use mental health services. Objective : This study aimed to understand more about the barriers that prevent veterans from seeking professional help and the enablers that assist veterans in seeking professional help. It also aimed to explore potential mechanisms to improve veterans' help-seeking and pathways to care. Method : The study employed a qualitative design whereby 17 veterans who had recently attended specialist veteran mental health services took part in semi-structured interviews. The resultant data were analysed using grounded theory. Results : Participants described two distinct stages to their help-seeking: initial help-seeking and pathways through treatment. Specific barriers and enablers to help-seeking were identified at each stage. Initial barriers included recognizing that there is a problem, self-stigma and anticipated public stigma. Initial enablers included being in crisis, social support, motivation and the media. Treatment pathway barriers included practical factors and negative beliefs about health services and professionals. Treatment pathway enablers included having a diagnosis, being seen in a veteran-specific service and establishing a good therapeutic relationship. Participants provided some suggestions for interventions to improve veterans' help-seeking in future; these focussed on enhancing both veterans and health professionals' knowledge regarding mental health difficulties. Conclusions : This study identified a number of barriers and enablers that may impact a veteran's journey in seeking help from professional services for mental health difficulties. Enablers such as reaching a crisis point, social support, the media, having a diagnosis of PTSD and veteran-specific mental health services appeared to be important in opposing stigma-related beliefs and in supporting veterans to engage in help-seeking behaviours.
Kukla, Marina; Rattray, Nicholas A; Salyers, Michelle P
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.
Yi, Sang-Wook; Hong, Jae-Seok; Ohrr, Heechoul; Yi, Jee-Jeon
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
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
A comparison of longitudinal global cognitive functioning in women Veteran and non-Veteran participants in the Women's Health Initiative (WHI). 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. 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). 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. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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
Choi, Namkee G; DiNitto, Diana M; Marti, C Nathan
To examine self-rated health (SRH) and its association with social participation, along with physical and mental health indicators, among USA male veterans and non-veterans aged ≥65 years. The two waves of the National Health and Aging Trend Study provided data (n = 2845 at wave 1; n = 2235 at wave 2). Multilevel mixed effects generalized linear models were fit to test the hypotheses. Despite their older age, veterans did not differ from non-veterans in their physical, mental and cognitive health, and they had better SRH. However, black and Hispanic veterans had lower SRH than non-Hispanic white veterans. Formal group activities and outings for enjoyment were positively associated with better SRH for veterans, non-veterans and all veteran cohorts. Aging veterans, especially black and Hispanic veterans, require programs and services that will help increase their social connectedness. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2016; 16: 920-927. © 2015 Japan Geriatrics Society.
appropriate access to health care; technical quality is providing world-class care to our veterans; customer satisfaction is ensuring the STVHCS patients and...were not called. These results not only improved access to health care, but also positively affected customer service. 111 Case Study: South Texas...increased waiting times for the patient . With current regulatory requirements calling for improved access to health care services, many hospital and
Pelts, Michael D; Albright, David L
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.
The present study of veterans' health carried out in association with Tyne Tees Television presents new and disturbing evidence of significant health effects in both veterans and their children, based on the health records of 1,454 members of the British Nuclear Test Veterans' Association, of whom 1,147 were fathers. (orig./MG)
Deployment scientific; ethical ; and legal experts in the field of genetics and veteran representatives, and partners, including but not limited to veterans...Smith TC, et al. Anthrax vaccination in the Millennium Cohort: validation and measures of health. Am J Prev Med. 2007;32:347–353. 20. Smith B, Smith...LeardMann CA, Smith B, Smith TC, Wells TS, Ryan MAK. Smallpox vaccination : comparison of self-reported and electronic vaccine records in the millennium
Dobalian, Aram; Stein, Judith A; Heslin, Kevin C; Riopelle, Deborah; Venkatesh, Brinda; Lanto, Andrew B; Simon, Barbara; Yano, Elizabeth M; Rubenstein, Lisa V
The 1994 earthquake that struck Northridge, California, led to the closure of the Veterans Health Administration Medical Center at Sepulveda. This article examines the earthquake's impact on the mental health of an existing cohort of veterans who had previously used the Sepulveda Veterans Health Administration Medical Center. From 1 to 3 months after the disaster, trained interviewers made repeated attempts to contact participants by telephone to administer a repeated measures follow-up design survey based on a survey that had been done preearthquake. Postearthquake data were obtained on 1144 of 1800 (64%) male veterans for whom there were previous data. We tested a predictive latent variable path model of the relations between sociodemographic characteristics, predisaster physical and emotional health measures, and postdisaster emotional health and perceived earthquake impact. Perceived earthquake impact was predicted by predisaster emotional distress, functional limitations, and number of health conditions. Postdisaster emotional distress was predicted by preexisting emotional distress and earthquake impact. The regression coefficient from earthquake impact to postearthquake emotional distress was larger than that of the stability coefficient from preearthquake emotional distress. Postearthquake emotional distress also was affected indirectly by preearthquake emotional distress, health conditions, younger age, and lower socioeconomic status. The postdisaster emotional health of veterans who experienced greater earthquake impact would have likely benefited from postdisaster intervention, regardless of their predisaster emotional health. Younger veterans and veterans with generally poor physical and emotional health were more vulnerable to greater postearthquake emotional distress. Veterans of lower socioeconomic status were disproportionately likely to experience more effects of the disaster because they had more predisaster emotional distress, more functional
Runnals, Jennifer J; Garovoy, Natara; McCutcheon, Susan J; Robbins, Allison T; Mann-Wrobel, Monica C; Elliott, Alyssa
Given recent, rapid growth in the field of women veterans' mental health, the goal of this review was to update the status of women veterans' mental health research and to identify current themes in this literature. The scope of this review included women veterans' unique mental health needs, as well as gender differences in veterans' mental health needs. Database searches were conducted for relevant articles published between January 2008 and July 2011. Searches were supplemented with bibliographic reviews and consultation with subject matter experts. The database search yielded 375 titles; 32 met inclusion/exclusion criteria. The women veterans' mental health literature crosses over several domains, including prevalence, risk factors, health care utilization, treatment preferences, and access barriers. Studies were generally cross-sectional, descriptive, mixed-gender, and examined Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care users from all service eras. Results indicate higher rates of specific disorders (e.g., depression) and comorbidities, with differing risk factors and associated medical and functional impairment for female compared with male veterans. Although satisfaction with VA health care is generally high, unique barriers to care and indices of treatment satisfaction exist for women. There is a breadth of descriptive knowledge in many content areas of women veterans' mental health; however, the research base examining interventional and longitudinal designs is less developed. Understudied content areas and targets for future research and development include certain psychiatric disorders (e.g., schizophrenia), the effects of deployment on woman veterans' families, and strategies to address treatment access, attrition, and provision of gender-sensitive care. Published by Elsevier Inc.
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Smith, Noelle B; Mota, Natalie; Tsai, Jack; Monteith, Lindsey; Harpaz-Rotem, Ilan; Southwick, Steven M; Pietrzak, Robert H
Suicidal thoughts and behaviors among U.S. military veterans are a major public health concern. To date, however, scarce data are available regarding the nature and correlates of suicidal ideation (SI) among U.S. veterans. This study evaluated the prevalence and correlates of suicidal ideation in a contemporary, nationally representative, 2-year prospective cohort study. Data were analysed from a total of 2157 U.S. veterans who participated in the National Health and Resilience Veterans Study (NHRVS; Wave 1 conducted in 2011; Wave 2 in 2013). Veterans completed measures assessing SI, sociodemographic characteristics, and potential risk and protective correlates. The majority of veterans (86.3%) denied SI at either time point, 5.0% had SI onset (no SI at Wave 1, SI at Wave 2), 4.9% chronic SI (SI at Waves 1 and 2), and 3.8% had remitted SI (SI at Wave 1, no SI Wave 2). Greater Wave 1 psychiatric distress was associated with increased likelihood of chronic SI (relative risk ratio [RRR]=3.72), remitted SI (RRR=3.38), SI onset (RRR=1.48); greater Wave 1 physical health difficulties were additionally associated with chronic SI (RRR=1.64) and SI onset (RRR=1.47); and Wave 1 substance abuse history was associated with chronic SI (RRR 1.57). Greater protective psychosocial characteristics (e.g., resilience, gratitude) at Wave 1 were negatively related to SI onset (RRR=0.57); and greater social connectedness at Wave 1, specifically perceived social support and secure attachment style, was negatively associated with SI onset (RRR=0.75) and remitted SI (RRR=0.44), respectively. Suicidal ideation was assessed using a past two-week timeframe, and the limited duration of follow-up precludes conclusions regarding more dynamic changes in SI over time. These results indicate that a significant minority (13.7%) of U.S. veterans has chronic, onset, or remitted SI. Prevention and treatment efforts designed to mitigate psychiatric and physical health difficulties, and bolster social
Full Text Available Background: The mustard gas (MG exposure can impair physical health and therefore increase the probability of the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD and psychological disorders. Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate long-term effects of MG exposure on veterans′ mental health. Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional study. In order to assess prevalence of mental health and PTSD of 100 MG victims 25 years after the exposure to MG in Iran-Iraq conflict, the general health questionnaire (GHQ-28 and Impact of Event Scale-Revised, respectively was administered. Results: The mean (±standard deviation (SD age of participants was 40.63 (±5.86 years. The mean GHQ-28 (47.34 of the study group was higher compared to standardized cutoff point (23 of the Iranian community. Also, it was found that 38 participants (38% suffer from PTSD. The results of this study showed that academic education in the PTSD group was less than that in the non-PTSD group (P=0.03. In addition, in multivariate analysis it was found that only education level of the veterans and their wives were effective on the mental health score (adjusted P=0.036 and 0.041, respectively. The mean score of depression and psychosocial activity subscale in patients at higher education level was lower than patients at lower education level (P<0.05. Conclusion: This study found that sulfur mustard (SM exposure can be effect on mental health even 25 years after exposure. Therefore, the psychological state should be more considered in chemical injured veterans and it is important that providing more mental health centers for this community.
Rhidenour, Kayla B; Barrett, Ashley K; Blackburn, Kate G
We examine the frames the elite news media uses to portray veterans on and surrounding Veterans Day 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. We use mental health illness and media framing literature to explore how, why, and to what extent Veterans Day news coverage uses different media frames across the four consecutive years. We compiled a Media Coverage Corpora for each year, which contains the quotes and paraphrased remarks used in all veterans news stories for that year. In our primary study, we applied the meaning extraction method (MEM) to extract emergent media frames for Veterans Day 2014 and compiled a word frequency list, which captures the words most commonly used within the corpora. In post hoc analyses, we collected news stories and compiled word frequency lists for Veterans Day 2012, 2013, and 2015. Our findings reveal dissenting frames across 2012, 2013, and 2014 Veterans Day media coverage. Word frequency results suggest the 2012 and 2013 media frames largely celebrate Veterans as heroes, but the 2014 coverage depicts veterans as victimized by their wartime experiences. Furthermore, our results demonstrate how the prevailing 2015 media frames could be a reaction to 2014 frames that portrayed veterans as health victims. We consider the ramifications of this binary portrayal of veterans as either health victims or heroes and discuss the implications of these dueling frames for veterans' access to healthcare resources.
.... Thirteen South Texas Veterans Health Care System key management staff were interviewed to learn their perceptions about implementing pro- duct line management in the South Texas Veterans Health Care System...
Weems, Shelley; Heller, Pamela; Fenton, Susan H
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.
Cleary, Paul D; Meterko, Mark; Wright, Steven M; Zaslavsky, Alan M
Surveys are increasingly used to assess patient experiences with health care. Comparisons of hospital scores based on patient experience surveys should be adjusted for patient characteristics that might affect survey results. Such characteristics are commonly drawn from patient surveys that collect little, if any, clinical information. Consequently some hospitals, especially those treating particularly complex patients, have been concerned that standard adjustment methods do not adequately reflect the challenges of treating their patients. To compare scores for different types of hospitals after making adjustments using only survey-reported patient characteristics and using more complete clinical and hospital information. We used clinical and survey data from a national sample of 1858 veterans hospitalized for an initial acute myocardial infarction (AMI) in a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical center during fiscal years 2003 and 2004. We used VA administrative data to characterize hospitals. The survey asked patients about their experiences with hospital care. The clinical data included 14 measures abstracted from medical records that are predictive of survival after an AMI. Comparisons of scores across hospitals adjusted only for patient-reported health status and sociodemographic characteristics were similar to those that also adjusted for patient clinical characteristics; the Spearman rank-order correlations between the 2 sets of adjusted scores were >0.97 across 9 dimensions of inpatient experience. This study did not support concerns that measures of patient care experiences are unfair because commonly used models do not adjust adequately for potentially confounding patient clinical characteristics.
Tsai, Jack; Harpaz-Rotem, Ilan; Armour, Cherie; Southwick, Steven M; Krystal, John H; Pietrzak, Robert H
To evaluate the prevalence of DSM-5 posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and factor structure of PTSD symptomatology in a nationally representative sample of US veterans and examine how PTSD symptom clusters are related to depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, hostility, physical and mental health-related functioning, and quality of life. Data were analyzed from the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study, a nationally representative survey of 1,484 US veterans conducted from September through October 2013. Confirmatory factor analyses were conducted to evaluate the factor structure of PTSD symptoms, and structural equation models were constructed to examine the association between PTSD symptom clusters and external correlates. 12.0% of veterans screened positive for lifetime PTSD and 5.2% for past-month PTSD. A 5-factor dysphoric arousal model and a newly proposed 6-factor model both fit the data significantly better than the 4-factor model of DSM-5. The 6-factor model fit the data best in the full sample, as well as in subsamples of female veterans and veterans with lifetime PTSD. The emotional numbing symptom cluster was more strongly related to depression (P < .001) and worse mental health-related functioning (P < .001) than other symptom clusters, while the externalizing behavior symptom cluster was more strongly related to hostility (P < .001). A total of 5.2% of US veterans screened positive for past-month DSM-5 PTSD. A 6-factor model of DSM-5 PTSD symptoms, which builds on extant models and includes a sixth externalizing behavior factor, provides the best dimensional representation of DSM-5 PTSD symptom clusters and demonstrates validity in assessing health outcomes of interest in this population. © Copyright 2015 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
... 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 ...
Breyer, Benjamin N; Cohen, Beth E; Bertenthal, Daniel; Rosen, Raymond C; Neylan, Thomas C; Seal, Karen H
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.
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...... the research field of psychosocial functioning and health among relatives living with a veteran, including potential gaps within this research field. We have found 103 publications. Most of them are American, 7 are from Europe and none from Scandinavia. Most publications focus on the partner’s relationship...... 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...
Nelson, Richard E; Hicken, Bret; Cai, Beilei; Dahal, Arati; West, Alan; Rupper, Randall
To improve access to care, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) increased its patient travel reimbursement rate from 11 to 28.5 cents per mile on February 1, 2008, and again to 41.5 cents per mile on November 17, 2008. We identified characteristics of veterans more likely to receive travel reimbursements and evaluated the impact of these increases on utilization of the benefit. We examined the likelihood of receiving any reimbursement, number of reimbursements, and dollar amount of reimbursements for VHA patients before and after both reimbursement rate increases. Because of our data's longitudinal nature, we used multivariable generalized estimating equation models for analysis. Rurality and categorical distance from the nearest VHA facility were examined in separate regressions. Our cohort contained 214,376 veterans. During the study period, the average number of reimbursements per veteran was higher for rural patients compared to urban patients, and for those living 50-75 miles from the nearest VHA facility compared to those living closer. Higher reimbursement rates led to more veterans obtaining reimbursement regardless of urban-rural residence or distance traveled to the nearest VHA facility. However, after the rate increases, urban veterans and veterans living reimbursement utilization slightly more than other patients. Our findings suggest an inverted U-shaped relationship between veterans' utilization of the VHA travel reimbursement benefit and travel distance. Both urban and rural veterans responded in roughly equal manner to changes to this benefit. © 2013 National Rural Health Association.
Arout, Caroline A; Sofuoglu, Mehmet; Bastian, Lori A; Rosenheck, Robert A
Fibromyalgia is a poorly understood, chronically disabling pain syndrome. While research has focused on its clinical presentation and treatment, less is known about fibromyalgia's clinical epidemiology in real-world healthcare systems. Gender differences have been difficult to study because relatively few males are diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Veterans Health Administration (VHA) patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia nationwide in FY 2012 were compared to Veterans with other pain diagnoses on sociodemographic characteristics, medical and psychiatric diagnoses, health service use, and opioid and psychotropic prescription fills. Additional analyses compared characteristics of men and women diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Risk ratios and Cohen's d were used for bivariate comparisons, followed by logistic regression analyses to identify independent factors associated with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia in the VHA. Altogether, 77,087 of 2,216,621 Veterans with pain diagnoses (3.48%) were diagnosed with fibromyalgia. They were more likely to be female, younger than patients with other pain conditions, more likely to have multiple psychiatric comorbidities and other types of pain, and used more medical outpatient services. Women diagnosed with fibromyalgia were younger and more likely to have headaches, connective tissue diseases (CTD), and psychiatric comorbidities, while men had more comorbid medical conditions. In this large, predominantly older male sample of Veterans with pain diagnoses, those with fibromyalgia were far more likely to be women. Gender comparisons showed women with fibromyalgia were more likely to be diagnosed with psychiatric disorders and CTD, while males were more likely to be diagnosed with medical conditions. Fibromyalgia shows a striking, gender-dependent picture of multimorbidity, which should be considered in treatment.
Kondo, Karli; Low, Allison; Everson, Teresa; Gordon, Christine D; Veazie, Stephanie; Lozier, Crystal C; Freeman, Michele; Motu'apuaka, Makalapua; Mendelson, Aaron; Friesen, Mark; Paynter, Robin; Friesen, Caroline; Anderson, Johanna; Boundy, Erin; Saha, Somnath; Quiñones, Ana; Kansagara, Devan
Goals for improving the quality of care for all Veterans and eliminating health disparities are outlined in the Veterans Health Administration Blueprint for Excellence, but the degree to which disparities in utilization, health outcomes, and quality of care affect Veterans is not well understood. To characterize the research on health care disparities in the Veterans Health Administration by means of a map of the evidence. We conducted a systematic search for research studies published from 2006 to February 2016 in MEDLINE and other data sources. We included studies of Veteran populations that examined disparities in 3 outcome categories: utilization, quality of health care, and patient health. We abstracted data on study design, setting, population, clinical area, outcomes, mediators, and presence of disparity for each outcome category. We grouped the data by population characteristics including race, disability status, mental illness, demographics (age, era of service, rural location, and distance from care), sex identity, socioeconomic status, and homelessness, and created maps illustrating the evidence. We reviewed 4249 citations and abstracted data from 351 studies which met inclusion criteria. Studies examining disparities by race/ethnicity comprised by far the vast majority of the literature, followed by studies examining disparities by sex, and mental health condition. Very few studies examined disparities related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender identity or homelessness. Disparities findings vary widely by population and outcome. Our evidence maps provide a "lay of the land" and identify important gaps in knowledge about health disparities experienced by different Veteran populations.
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
Simmons, Molly M; Fincke, Benjamin G; Drainoni, Mari-Lynn; Kim, Bo; Byrne, Tom; Smelson, David; Casey, Kevin; Ellison, Marsha L; Visher, Christy; Blue-Howells, Jessica; McInnes, D Keith
Approximately 600,000 persons are released from prison annually in the United States. Relatively few receive sufficient re-entry services and are at risk for unemployment, homelessness, poverty, substance abuse relapse and recidivism. Persons leaving prison who have a mental illness and/or a substance use disorder are particularly challenged. This project aims to create a peer mentor program to extend the reach and effectiveness of reentry services provided by the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA). We will implement a peer support for reentry veterans sequentially in two states. Our outcome measures are 1) fidelity of the intervention, 2) linkage to VA health care and, 3) continued engagement in health care. The aims for this project are as follows: (1) Conduct contextual analysis to identify VA and community reentry resources, and describe how reentry veterans use them. (2) Implement peer-support, in one state, to link reentry veterans to Veterans' Health Administration (VHA) primary care, mental health, and SUD services. (3) Port the peer-support intervention to another, geographically, and contextually different state. This intervention involves a 2-state sequential implementation study (Massachusetts, followed by Pennsylvania) using a Facilitation Implementation strategy. We will conduct formative and summative analyses, including assessment of fidelity, and a matched comparison group to evaluate the intervention's outcomes of veteran linkage and engagement in VHA health care (using health care utilization measures). The study proceeds in 3 phases. We anticipate that a peer support program will be effective at improving the reentry process for veterans, particularly in linking them to health, mental health, and SUD services and helping them to stay engaged in those services. It will fill a gap by providing veterans with access to a trusted individual, who understands their experience as a veteran and who has experienced justice involvement. The outputs from
Niv, Noosha; Bennett, Lauren
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.
Lehavot, Keren; Katon, Jodie G; Simpson, Tracy L; Shipherd, Jillian C
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.
Military service and other socioecological factors influencing weight and health behavior change in overweight and obese Veterans: a qualitative study to inform intervention development within primary care at the United States Veterans Health Administration.
Jay, Melanie; Mateo, Katrina F; Squires, Allison P; Kalet, Adina L; Sherman, Scott E
Obesity affects 37 % of patients at Veterans Health Administration (VHA) medical centers. The VHA offers an intensive weight management program (MOVE!) but less than 10 % of eligible patients ever attend. However, VHA patients see their primary care provider about 3.6 times per year, supporting the development of primary care-based weight management interventions. To address gaps in the literature regarding Veterans' experiences with weight management and determine whether and how to develop a primary care-based weight management intervention to both improve obesity counseling and increase attendance to MOVE!, we conducted a qualitative study to assess: 1) Veterans' personal experiences with healthy weight-related behavior change (including barriers and facilitators to behavior change and experiences with primary care providers, staff, and the MOVE! program), and 2) potential new approaches to improve weight management within primary care at the VHA including goal setting and technology. Overweight/obese VHA patients (aged 18-75, BMI greater than 30 or greater than 25 with at least 1 co-morbidity) were recruited for focus group sessions stratified by gender, MOVE! referral, and attendance. Each session was facilitated by a trained moderator, audio-recorded, and professionally transcribed. Using an iterative coding approach, two coders separately reviewed and coded transcripts, and met frequently to negotiate codes and synthesize emerging themes. Of 161 eligible patients, 54 attended one of 6 focus groups (2 female, 4 male, 9-11 participants per session): 63 % were male, 46 % identified as African-American, 32 % White/Caucasian, 74 % were college-educated or higher, and 61 % reported having attended MOVE!. We identified two major themes: Impact of Military Service and Promotion and Sustainability of Healthy Behaviors. After service in a highly structured military environment, Veterans had difficulty maintaining weight on their own. They perceived physical
Newins, Amie R; Wilson, Sarah M; Hopkins, Tiffany A; Straits-Troster, Kristy; Kudler, Harold; Calhoun, Patrick S
The study investigated barriers to the utilization of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care services among female veterans who served in served in Iraq and Afghanistan, including reasons for not choosing VA health care, reasons for not seeking mental health treatment, and types of desired VA services. Female respondents to a survey assessing Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans' needs and health (N = 186) completed measures of military history, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, barriers to VA health care, and preferences for services. Barriers to use of VA health care endorsed by female veterans included receiving care elsewhere and logistical issues. Barriers to utilization of mental health services among female veterans who screened positive for depression or posttraumatic stress disorder included negative treatment biases and concerns about stigma, privacy, and cost. Female veterans endorsed preferences for services related to eligibility education, nonprimary care physical health services, vocational assistance, and a few behavioral/mental health services. Findings highlight the need for ongoing outreach and education regarding eligibility and types of resources for physical and mental health problems experienced by female veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as inform types of VA programming and services desired by female veterans. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).
Weiner, Bryan J; Haynes-Maslow, Lindsey; Kahwati, Leila C; Kinsinger, Linda S; Campbell, Marci K
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.
Ingelse, Kathy; Messecar, Deborah
While the total number of veterans in the U.S. is decreasing overall, the number of women veterans is significantly increasing. There are numerous barriers which keep women veterans from accessing mental health care. One barrier which can impact receiving care is living in a rural area. Veterans in rural areas have access to fewer mental health services than do urban residing veterans, and women veterans in general have less access to mental health care than do their male colleagues. Little is known about rural women veterans and their mental health service needs. Women, who have served in the military, have unique problems related to their service compared to their male colleagues including higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and military sexual trauma (MST). This qualitative study investigated use of and barriers to receiving mental health care for rural women veterans. In-depth interviews were conducted with ten women veterans who have reported experiencing problems with either MST, PTSD, or combat trauma. All ten women had utilized mental health services during active-duty military service, and post service, in Veterans Administration (VA) community based-outpatient clinics. Several recurring themes in the women's experience were identified. For all of the women interviewed, a sentinel precipitating event led to seeking mental health services. These precipitating events included episodes of chronic sexual harassment and ridicule, traumatic sexual assaults, and difficult combat experiences. Efforts to report mistreatment were unsuccessful or met with punishment. All the women interviewed reported that they would not have sought services without the help of a supportive peer who encouraged seeking care. Barriers to seeking care included feeling like they were not really a combat veteran (in spite of serving in a combat unit in Iraq); feeling stigmatized by providers and other military personnel, being treated as crazy; and a lack of interest
Caddick, Nick; Smith, Brett; Phoenix, Cassandra
This article uniquely examines the ways a group of male combat veterans talk about masculinity and how, following post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), they performed masculinities in the context of a surfing group, and what effects this had upon their health and wellbeing. Participant observations and life history interviews were conducted with a group of combat veterans who belonged to a surfing charity for veterans experiencing PTSD. Data were rigorously explored via narrative analysis. Our findings revealed the ways in which veterans enacted masculinities in accordance with the values that were cultivated during military service. These masculine performances in the surfing group had important effects both on and for the veterans' wellbeing. Significantly, the study highlights how masculine performances can be seen alternately as a danger and as a resource for health and wellbeing in relation to PTSD. The article advances knowledge on combat veterans and mental health with critical implications for the promotion of male veterans' mental health. These include the original suggestion that health-promoting masculine performances might be recognised and supported in PTSD treatment settings. Rather than automatically viewing masculinity as problematic, this article moves the field forward by highlighting how hegemonic masculinities can be reconstructed in positive ways which might improve veterans' health and wellbeing. A video abstract of this article can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaYzaOP1kAY. © 2015 The Authors. Sociology of Health & Illness © 2015 Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness/John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Military service and other socioecological factors influencing weight and health behavior change in overweight and obese Veterans: a qualitative study to inform intervention development within primary care at the United States Veterans Health Administration
Jay, Melanie; Mateo, Katrina F.; Squires, Allison P.; Kalet, Adina L.; Sherman, Scott E.
Background Obesity affects 37?% of patients at Veterans Health Administration (VHA) medical centers. The VHA offers an intensive weight management program (MOVE!) but less than 10?% of eligible patients ever attend. However, VHA patients see their primary care provider about 3.6 times per year, supporting the development of primary care-based weight management interventions. To address gaps in the literature regarding Veterans? experiences with weight management and determine whether and how ...
Ishøy, T; Andersson, A M; Suadicani, Poul Vilhelm
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...
Crowley, Susan T; Chertow, Glenn M; Vitale, Joseph; O'Connor, Theresa; Zhang, Jane; Schein, Roland M H; Choudhury, Devasmita; Finkel, Kevin; Vijayan, Anitha; Paganini, Emil; Palevsky, Paul M
Design elements of clinical trials can introduce recruitment bias and reduce study efficiency. Trials involving the critically ill may be particularly prone to design-related inefficiencies. Enrollment into the Veterans Affairs/National Institutes of Health Acute Renal Failure Trial Network Study was systematically monitored. Reasons for nonenrollment into this study comparing strategies of renal replacement therapy in critically ill patients with acute kidney injury were categorized as modifiable or nonmodifiable. 4339 patients were screened; 2744 fulfilled inclusion criteria. Of these, 1034 were ineligible by exclusion criteria. Of the remaining 1710 patients, 1124 (65.7%) enrolled. Impediments to informed consent excluded 21.4% of potentially eligible patients. Delayed identification of potential patients, physician refusal, and involvement in competing trials accounted for 4.4, 2.7, and 2.3% of exclusions. Comfort measures only status, chronic illness, chronic kidney disease, and obesity excluded 11.8, 7.8, 7.6, and 5.9% of potential patients. Modification of an enrollment window reduced the loss of patients from 6.6 to 2.3%. The Acute Renal Failure Trial Network Study's enrollment efficiency compared favorably with previous intensive care unit intervention trials and supports the representativeness of its enrolled population. Impediments to informed consent highlight the need for nontraditional acquisition methods. Restrictive enrollment windows may hamper recruitment but can be effectively modified. The low rate of physician refusal acknowledges clinical equipoise in the study design. Underlying comorbidities are important design considerations for future trials that involve the critically ill with acute kidney injury.
Leskinen, R. (Riitta)
Abstract Becoming involved in war is an experience that has the potential to shape later-life health. The aim of the present study was to explore Finnish Second World War veterans’ health status and the determinants of self-rated health (SRH) and functional capacity, especially the ability to walk, and to identify risk factors and their combinations that predict late-life mortality among veterans. The study population comprised Finnish Second World War veterans who participated in the ...
The association of PTSD with physical and mental health functioning and disability (VA Cooperative Study #569: the course and consequences of posttraumatic stress disorder in Vietnam-era Veteran twins)
Magruder, Kathryn M.; Forsberg, Christopher W.; Kazis, Lewis E.; Üstün, T. Bedirhan; Friedman, Matthew J.; Litz, Brett T.; Vaccarino, Viola; Heagerty, Patrick J.; Gleason, Theresa C.; Huang, Grant D.; Smith, Nicholas L.
Purpose To assess the relationship of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with health functioning and disability in Vietnamera Veterans. Methods A cross-sectional study of functioning and disability in male Vietnam-era Veteran twins. PTSD was measured by the Composite International Diagnostic Interview; health functioning and disability were assessed using the Veterans RAND 36-Item Health Survey (VR-36) and the World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule 2.0 (WHODAS 2.0). All data collection took place between 2010 and 2012. Results Average age of the 5,574 participating Veterans (2,102 Vietnam theater and 3,472 non-theater) was 61.0 years. Veterans with PTSD had poorer health functioning across all domains of VR-36 and increased disability for all subscales of WHODAS 2.0 (all p < .001) compared with Veterans without PTSD. Veterans with PTSD were in poorer overall health on the VR-36 physical composite summary (PCS) (effect size = 0.31 in theater and 0.47 in non-theater Veterans; p < .001 for both) and mental composite summary (MCS) (effect size = 0.99 in theater and 0.78 in non-theater Veterans; p < .001 for both) and had increased disability on the WHODAS 2.0 summary score (effect size = 1.02 in theater and 0.96 in non-theater Veterans; p < .001 for both). Combat exposure, independent of PTSD status, was associated with lower PCS and MCS scores and increased disability (all p < .05, for trend). Within-pair analyses in twins discordant for PTSD produced consistent findings. Conclusions Vietnam-era Veterans with PTSD have diminished functioning and increased disability. The poor functional status of aging combat-exposed Veterans is of particular concern. PMID:24318083
Pope, Charlene A.; Davis, Boyd H.; Wine, Leticia; Nemeth, Lynne S.; Axon, Robert N.
Among Veterans, heart failure (HF) contributes to frequent emergency department visits and hospitalization. Dual health care system use (dual use) occurs when Veterans Health Administration (VA) enrollees also receive care from non-VA sources. Mounting evidence suggests that dual use decreases efficiency and patient safety. This qualitative study used constructivist grounded theory and content analysis to examine decision making among 25 Veterans with HF, for similarities and differences between all-VA users and dual users. In general, all-VA users praised specific VA providers, called services helpful, and expressed positive capacity for managing HF. In addition, several Veterans who described inadvertent one-time non-VA health care utilization in emergent situations more closely mirrored all-VA users. By contrast, committed dual users more often reported unmet needs, nonresponse to VA requests, and faster services in non-VA facilities. However, a primary trigger for dual use was VA telephone referral for escalating symptoms, instead of care coordination or primary/specialty care problem-solving. PMID:29482411
Porter, Ben; Long, Kyna; Rull, Rudolph P; Dursa, Erin K
This research describes Gulf War and era veterans enrolled in the Millennium Cohort Study, who were sampled from US military personnel serving in 2000, and compares health characteristics of this sample to a Department of Veterans Affairs study sampled from the complete population. Demographics characteristics of this sample were described. Self-reported health characteristics were compared between the two studies. Gulf War and era veterans in the Millennium Cohort were generally healthier than in the VA study; they had fewer medical conditions and mental health disorders and better self-reported health. In both studies, Gulf War veterans had poorer health outcomes than era veterans. The Millennium Cohort Study is a unique resource for examining the long-term health effects of Gulf War deployment, particularly comparing deployed and nondeployed personnel and examining illnesses with long latencies.
Greenbaum, Mark A.; Rosen, Craig S.
Objective: Guidelines addressing the treatment of veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) strongly recommend a therapeutic trial of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). This study examined veteran characteristics associated with receiving such first-line pharmacotherapy, as well as how being a veteran of the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq impact receipt of pharmacotherapy for PTSD. Method: This was a national study of 482 Veterans Affairs (VA) outpatients between the ages of 18 and 69 years who had been newly diagnosed with PTSD (DSM-IV criteria: 309.81) during a VA outpatient visit between May 31, 2006, and December 7, 2007. Participants completed a mailed survey between August 11, 2006, and April 6, 2008. Veterans from the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts and female veterans were intentionally oversampled. Logistic regression models were developed to predict 2 dependent variables: odds of initiating an SSRI/SNRI and, among veterans who initiated an SSRI/SNRI, odds of receiving an adequate therapeutic trial. Each dependent variable was regressed on a variety of sociodemographic and survey characteristics. Results: Of the 377 veterans prescribed a psychotropic medication, 73% (n = 276) received an SSRI/SNRI, of whom 61% (n = 168) received a therapeutic trial. Afghanistan and Iraq veterans were less likely to receive a therapeutic trial (odds ratio [OR] = 0.45; 95% CI, 0.27–0.75; P < .01), with presence of a comorbid depression diagnosis in the year after the index episode moderating this relationship, which further decreased the odds of completing a therapeutic trial (OR = 0.29; 95% CI, 0.09–0.95; P < .05). Conclusions: Reduced levels of receipt of first-line pharmacotherapy among recent veteran returnees parallel previous findings of less mental health treatment utilization in this population and warrant investigation. PMID:22943028
Hauger Richard L
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.
Heppner, Pia S; Crawford, Eric F; Haji, Uzair A; Afari, Niloofar; Hauger, Richard L; Dashevsky, Boris A; Horn, Paul S; Nunnink, Sarah E; Baker, Dewleen G
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. 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. 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). These findings provide preliminary evidence linking higher severity of PTSD with risk factors for diminished health and increased morbidity, as represented by metabolic syndrome.
... to describe sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment that happens while the victim is in the ... D., Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine; National Center for PTSD, Women’s Health ...
Oster, Candice; Morello, Andrea; Venning, Anthony; Redpath, Paula; Lawn, Sharon
For the majority of serving members, life in the military has a positive effect on wellbeing. However, the type, intensity and duration of service, along with the transition from fulltime military to civilian life, may have a negative effect on veterans' wellbeing. Such negative consequences, alongside the growing veteran population, indicate the need for greater exploration of veterans' physical, mental and social wellbeing. The current paper reports on the findings of a rapid review of the literature on the health and wellbeing needs of veterans, commissioned by the Australian Department of Veterans' Affairs to inform future programs and services. The databases Embase, Medline, Cinahl, PubMed, Web of Science and Cochrane Database were searched for systematic reviews reporting on veterans' physical, mental and social wellbeing published in English in peer-reviewed journals. A total of 21 systematic reviews were included. The reviews reported on a range of mental, physical and social health problems affecting veterans. While there was limited information on prevalence rates of physical, mental and social health problems in veterans compared to civilian populations, the reviews demonstrated the interconnection between these domains and the effect of demographic and military service factors. A key finding of the review is the interconnection of the mental, physical, and social health of veterans, highlighting the importance that an integrated approach to veterans' wellbeing is adopted. It is suggested that understanding key factors, such as demographic factors and factors relating to military service, can support improved service provision for veterans.
Gerber, Megan R; King, Matthew W; Iverson, Katherine M; Pineles, Suzanne L; Haskell, Sally G
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.
Damron-Rodriguez, JoAnn; White-Kazemipour, Whitney; Washington, Donna; Villa, Valentine M; Dhanani, Shawkat; Harada, Nancy D
Diverse veteran's perspectives on the accessibility and acceptability of the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) health services are presented. The qualitative methodology uses 16 focus groups (N = 178) stratified by war cohort (World War II and Korean Conflict versus Vietnam War and Persian Gulf War) and four ethnic/racial categories (African American, Asian American, European American, Hispanic American). Five themes emerged regarding veterans' health care expectations: (1) better information regarding available services, (2) sense of deserved benefits, (3) concern about welfare stigma, (4) importance of physician attentiveness, and (5) staff respect for patients as veterans. Although veterans' ethnic/racial backgrounds differentiated their military experiences, it was the informants' veteran identity that framed what they expected of VA health services. Accessibility and acceptability of VA health care is related to veterans' perspectives of the nature of their entitlement to service. Provider education and customer service strategies should consider the identified factors to increase access to VA as well as improve veterans' acceptance of the care.
Turvey, Carolyn L; Zulman, Donna M; Nazi, Kim M; Wakefield, Bonnie J; Woods, Susan S; Hogan, Timothy P; Weaver, Frances M; McInnes, Keith
Personal health records provide patients with ownership of their health information and allow them to share information with multiple healthcare providers. However, the usefulness of these records relies on patients understanding and using their records appropriately. My HealtheVet is a Web-based patient portal containing a personal health record administered by the Veterans Health Administration. The goal of this study was to explore veterans' interest and use of My HealtheVet to transfer and share information as well as to identify opportunities to increase veteran use of the My HealtheVet functions. Two waves of data were collected in 2010 through an American Customer Satisfaction Index Web-based survey. A random sample of veterans using My HealtheVet was invited to participate in the survey conducted on the My HealtheVet portal through a Web-based pop-up browser window. Wave One results (n=25,898) found that 41% of veterans reported printing information, 21% reported saving information electronically, and only 4% ever sent information from My HealtheVet to another person. In Wave Two (n=18,471), 30% reported self-entering medication information, with 18% sharing this information with their Veterans Affairs (VA) provider and 9.6% sharing with their non-VA provider. Although veterans are transferring important medical information from their personal health records, increased education and awareness are needed to increase use. Personal health records have the potential to improve continuity of care. However, more research is needed on both the barriers to adoption as well as the actual impact on patient health outcomes and well-being.
Seng, Elizabeth K; Driscoll, Mary A; Brandt, Cynthia A; Bathulapalli, Harini; Goulet, Joseph; Silliker, Norman; Kerns, Robert D; Haskell, Sally G
To examine differences in male and female veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom/Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) period of service in taking prescription headache medication, and associations between taking prescription headache medication and mental health status, psychiatric symptoms, and rates of traumatic events. Headaches are common among active service members and are associated with impairment in quality of life. Little is known about headaches in OEF/OIF veterans. Veterans participating in the Women Veterans Cohort Study responded to a cross-sectional survey to assess taking prescription headache medication, mental health status (Post Deployment Health Assessment), psychiatric symptoms (portions of the Brief Patient Health Questionnaire and the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist), and traumatic events (the Traumatic Life Events Questionnaire and queries regarding military trauma). Gender differences among taking prescription headache medication, health status, psychiatric symptoms, and traumatic events were examined. Regression analyses were used to examine the influence of gender on the associations between taking prescription headache medication and health status, psychiatric symptoms, and traumatic events. 139/551 (25.2%) participants reported taking prescription headache medication in the past year. A higher proportion of women veterans (29.1%) reported taking prescription medication for headache in the last year compared with men (19.7%). Taking prescription headache medication was associated with poorer perceived mental health status, higher anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, and higher rates of traumatic events. The association between prescription headache medication use and perceived mental health status, and with the association between prescription headache medication use and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, was stronger for men than for women. Among OEF/OIF veterans, the prevalence of clinically relevant headache is high
Park, Linda G; Collins, Eileen G; Shim, Janet K; Whooley, Mary A
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. ©Linda G Park, Eileen G Collins, Janet K
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
Pedersen, Eric R; Helmuth, Eric D; Marshall, Grant N; Schell, Terry L; PunKay, Marc; Kurz, Jeremy
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
Lusk, Jaimie; Dobscha, Steven K; Kopacz, Marek; Ritchie, Mary Frances; Ono, Sarah
This qualitative study explores the relationship between veterans' spirituality/religion and suicide ideation and attempts. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 veterans who either endorsed chronic suicidal ideation or had made suicide attempt(s). Interviews explored the bi-directional relationship between spirituality/religion (e.g., beliefs, practices, and experiences), and suicide ideation and behaviors. Interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis. Veterans' responses indicate that spirituality/religion can discourage or permit suicidal ideation, help in coping with ideation, and facilitate meaning making and coping in the presence of self-perceived suffering. Veterans who survived a suicide attempt explored the impact of their spirituality/religion on their recovery. Findings highlight a complex and diverse relationship between spirituality/religion and suicidality. These findings may inform further research on treatment strategies that assess the function of spirituality/religion, and incorporate protective aspects of spirituality/religion into mental health treatment.
Bergman, B P; Mackay, D F; Smith, D J; Pell, J P
Although reassuring data on suicide risk in UK veterans of the 1982 Falklands conflict and 1991 Gulf conflict have been published, there have been few studies on long-term overall suicide risk in UK veterans. To examine the risk of suicide in a broad population-based cohort of veterans in Scotland, irrespect ive of length of service or exposure to conflict, in comparison with people having no record of military service. A retrospective 30-year cohort study of 56205 veterans born 1945-85 and 172741 matched non-veterans, using Cox proportional hazard models to compare the risk of suicide and fatal self-harm overall, by sex, birth cohort, length of service and year of recruitment. There were 267 (0.48%) suicides in the veterans compared with 918 (0.53%) in non-veterans. The difference was not statistically significant overall [adjusted hazard ratio (HR) 0.99; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.86-1.13]. The incidence was lower in younger veterans and higher in veterans aged over 40. Early service leavers were at non-significantly increased risk (adjusted HR 1.13; 95% CI 0.91-1.40) but only in the older age groups. Women veterans had a significantly higher risk of suicide than non-veteran women (adjusted HR 2.44; 95% CI 1.32-4.51, P suicide did not differ significantly between veterans and non-veterans, for either sex. The Scottish Veterans Health Study adds to the emerging body of evidence that there is no overall difference in long-term risk of suicide between veterans and non-veterans in the UK. However, female veterans merit further study. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society of Occupational Medicine. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: email@example.com
Valenstein, Paul N; Wang, Edward; O'Donohue, Tom
The Veterans Health Administration (VA) operates the largest integrated laboratory network in the United States. To assess whether the unique characteristics of VA laboratories impact efficiency of operations, we compared the productivity of VA and non-VA facilities. Financial and activity data were prospectively collected from 124 VA and 131 non-VA laboratories enrolled in the College of American Pathologists Laboratory Management Index Program (LMIP) during 2002. In addition, secular trends in 5 productivity ratios were calculated for VA and non-VA laboratories enrolled in LMIP from 1997 through 2002. Veterans Health Administration and non-VA facilities did not differ significantly in size. Inpatients accounted for a lower percentage of testing at VA facilities than non-VA facilities (21.7% vs 37.3%; P benefits; P depreciation, and maintenance than their non-VA counterparts (all P <.001), resulting in lower overall cost per on-site test result (2.64 dollars vs 3.40 dollars; P <.001). Cost per referred (sent-out) test did not differ significantly between the 2 groups. Analysis of 6-year trends showed significant increases in both VA (P <.001) and non-VA (P =.02) labor productivity (on-site tests/total FTE). Expenses at VA laboratories for labor per test, consumables per test, overall expense per test, and overall laboratory expense per discharge decreased significantly during the 6-year period (P <.001), while in non-VA facilities the corresponding ratios showed no significant change. Overall productivity of VA laboratories is superior to that of non-VA facilities enrolled in LMIP. The principal advantages enjoyed by the VA are higher-than-average labor productivity (tests/FTE) and lower-than-average consumable expenses.
Monteith, Lindsey L; Bahraini, Nazanin H; Matarazzo, Bridget B; Gerber, Holly R; Soberay, Kelly A; Forster, Jeri E
No studies have examined whether military sexual trauma, as measured and defined within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), is associated with suicidal ideation among Veterans in VHA care, when taking prior suicide attempts into account. Research regarding the role of gender in this association is also limited. The present study examined: (1) whether military sexual trauma was associated with the presence of past-week suicidal ideation among 354 Veterans in VHA (310 men, 44 women); (2) whether gender moderated the association between military sexual trauma and suicidal ideation. Information regarding military sexual trauma, suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, and psychiatric diagnoses was obtained from self-report instruments and medical records. Adjusting for age, gender, combat, posttraumatic stress disorder, depressive disorders, negative affect, and lifetime suicide attempt, Veterans with military sexual trauma were significantly more likely to report suicidal ideation, compared to Veterans without military sexual trauma. Furthermore, the association between military sexual trauma and suicidal ideation was stronger for men compared to women. These results contribute to a growing literature identifying military sexual trauma as a risk factor for suicidal thoughts and behaviors among Veterans in VHA care and emphasize the importance of screening for suicidal ideation among survivors of military sexual trauma. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
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....
Transformation of the Veterans Healthcare System." Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, D.C., March, 1996. 88 Kotler , Philip. "Managing...Avenue Biloxi MS 39531 Baltimore VAMC ION Green Street Baltimore MD 21201 Battle Creek VAMC 5500 Armstrong Road Battle Creek MI 49016 Bedford
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...
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
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.
Kopacz, Marek S.
Introduction: In recent years, considerable empirical attention has been devoted to examining the increased risk of suicide observed in some Veteran populations. This has led to a renewed focus on developing novel support options which can be used to respond to Veterans in distress, reducing their risk of suicide. Spirituality and religion, however, have been largely absent from any public discourse related to suicide prevention, not least of all in Veteran populations. Aim: The aim of this cross-sectional study is to compare the self-rated spiritual health of Veterans with and without suicide ideation. Identifying differences which may exist between these two groups could highlight the relevance of spiritual well-being to Veteran suicide prevention efforts. Materials and Methods: Data were collected using pencil-and-paper surveys, called Spiritual Assessments, distributed within the general population of in- and outpatients at a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Using Likert-type scales, this study examines the self-rated spiritual health, spiritual devotion, and significance ascribed to spirituality in a sample of 5378 Veterans. Statistical analysis took place using chi-squared to examine differences in the distribution of responses between ideators and non-ideators. Results: Ideators significantly more often rated their spiritual health as worse than that of non-ideators. Even with similar levels of spiritual devotion or significance ascribed to spiritual life, ideators continued to significantly more often rate their spiritual health as worse than that of non-ideators. Conclusion: The results show that Veterans with suicide ideation more often rate their spiritual health as worse than that of Veterans without suicide ideation. This suggests that spiritual well-being may indeed be relevant to suicide prevention efforts in Veteran populations. PMID:25750787
Pietrzak, Robert H; Tsai, Jack; Armour, Cherie; Mota, Natalie; Harpaz-Rotem, Ilan; Southwick, Steven M
While posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in the recently published Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) are clustered into four factors, emerging confirmatory factor analytic studies suggest that this disorder is best characterized by seven symptom clusters, including re-experiencing, avoidance, negative affect, anhedonia, externalizing behaviors, and anxious and dysphoric arousal symptoms. To date, however, data are lacking regarding the relation between this novel model of DSM-5 PTSD symptoms and measures of clinical significance in this population (e.g., functioning). Using data from the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study (NHRVS), a contemporary, nationally representative sample of 1484 U.S. veterans, we evaluated clinical and functional correlates of a novel 7-factor model of DSM-5 PTSD symptoms. Differential patterns of associations were observed between DSM-5 PTSD symptom clusters, and psychiatric comorbidities, suicidal ideation, hostility, and functioning and quality of life. Anhedonia symptoms, in particular, were strongly related to current depression, as well as reduced mental functioning and quality of life. Externalizing behaviors were most strongly related to hostility, supporting the convergent validity of this construct. Cross-sectional design and employment of self-report measures. These results suggest that a more refined 7-factor model of DSM-5 PTSD symptoms may provide greater specificity in understanding associations with comorbid psychopathology, suicidal ideation, and functioning and quality of life in U.S. veterans. They further suggest that prevention and treatment efforts that target distinct aspects of the PTSD phenotype may be more effective in mitigating key clinical and functional outcomes in this population. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Wong, Edwin S; Liu, Chuan-Fen
In the U.S., economic conditions are intertwined with labor market decisions, access to health care, health care utilization and health outcomes. The Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system has served as a safety net provider by supplying free or reduced cost care to qualifying veterans. This study examines whether local area labor market conditions, measured using county-level unemployment rates, influence whether veterans obtain health care from the VA. We used survey data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System in years 2000, 2003 and 2004 to construct a random sample of 73,964 respondents self-identified as veterans. VA health service utilization was defined as whether veterans received all, some or no care from the VA. Hierarchical ordered logistic regression was used to address unobserved state and county random effects while adjusting for individual characteristics. Local area labor market conditions were defined as the average 12-month unemployment rate in veterans' county of residence. The mean unemployment rate for veterans receiving all, some and no care was 5.56%, 5.37% and 5.24%, respectively. After covariate adjustment, a one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate in a veteran's county of residence was associated with an increase in the probability of receiving all care (0.34%, p-value = 0.056) or some care (0.29%, p-value = 0.023) from the VA. Our findings suggest that the important role of the VA in providing health care services to veterans is magnified in locations with high unemployment.
Slatore, Christopher G; Falvo, Michael J; Nugent, Shannon; Carlson, Kathleen
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.
Grossbard, Joel R; Lehavot, Keren; Hoerster, Katherine D; Jakupcak, Matthew; Seal, Karen H; Simpson, Tracy L
Although many risk behaviors peak during young adulthood, little is known about health risk factors and access to care. This study assessed health indicators and health care access in a national sample of young adult veterans and civilians. Data were from the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a national telephone survey. Of 27,471 participants, ages 19-30 years, 2.2% were veterans (74.6% were male) and 97.7% were civilians (37.6% were male). Gender-stratified comparisons assessed health indicators and health care access by veteran status. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine health indicators and health care access as a function of gender and veteran status. In the overall sample, women were more likely than men to have insurance, to have a regular physician, and to have had a routine checkup and yet were more likely to report financial barriers to care. Women also were more likely than men to report general medical and mental distress and higher lifetime anxiety and depressive disorders, whereas men were more likely to be overweight or obese and to report tobacco use and high-risk drinking. Adjusted analyses revealed a higher likelihood of general medical distress and higher rates of lifetime anxiety disorders among veterans compared with civilians, although there were no differences between veterans and civilians regarding health care utilization and hazardous drinking. Findings extend the literature on health care status and modifiable risk factors for young adults by identifying differences between men and women and between veterans and civilians. Interventions may need to be tailored on the bases of gender and veteran status because of several differences in mental health and general health needs.
There has been increasing concern in recent years about the availability of mental health services for people with serious mental illness in rural areas. To meet these needs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) implemented the Rural Access Networks for Growth Enhancement (RANGE) program, in 2007, modeled on the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) model. This study uses VA administrative data from the RANGE program (N = 343) to compare client characteristics at program entry, patterns of service delivery, and outcomes with those of Veterans who received services from the general VA ACT-like program (Mental Health Intensive Case Management (MHICM) (N = 3,077). Veterans in the rural program entered treatment with similar symptom severity, less likelihood of being diagnosed with schizophrenia and having had long-term hospitalization, but significantly higher suicidality index scores and greater likelihood of being dually diagnosed compared with those in the general program. RANGE Veterans live further away from their treatment teams but did not differ significantly in measures of face-to-face treatment intensity. Similar proportions of RANGE and MHICM Veterans were reported to have received rehabilitation services, crisis intervention and substance abuse treatment. The rural programs had higher scores on overall satisfaction with VA mental health care than general programs, slightly poorer outcomes on quality of life and on the suicidality index but no significant difference on other outcomes. These data demonstrate the clinical need, practical feasibility and potential effectiveness of providing intensive case management through small specialized case management teams in rural areas.
Coons, Stephen Joel; Chongpison, Yuda; Wendel, Christopher S; Grant, Marcia; Krouse, Robert S
To explore whether there was a significant relationship between difficulty paying for ostomy supplies and overall quality of life among a sample of ostomates receiving care from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). The data were collected as part of the Veterans Affairs (VA) Ostomy Health-Related Quality of Life Study, in which 511 respondents (239 cases, 272 controls) completed a survey instrument that included the modified City of Hope Quality of Life (mCOH-QOL) Ostomy questionnaire, SF-36V, and sociodemographic items. Responses from the 239 cases (ie, patients with intestinal stomas) were used in this analysis. The modified City of Hope Quality of Life Ostomy questionnaire item, "How good is your overall quality of life?," was the dependent variable for this analysis. The primary independent variable was the response (yes/no) to the item, "If you pay for any of the (ostomy) costs, is it difficult for you?" A hierarchical regression model was used to examine whether difficulty paying was significantly related to overall quality of life after adjusting for age, income, race/ethnicity, and physical health. After accounting for the proportion of variance explained by age, income, race/ethnicity, and physical health, the additional proportion of variance explained by difficulty paying was statistically significant. Individuals reporting difficulty paying had a roughly 1 point lower (ie, beta-coefficient = -1.052; SE = 0.481) overall quality of life score on the 11-point scale. We found a significant association between difficulty paying for ostomy supplies and overall quality of life. Although the cross-sectional study design does not allow causal inference, the results suggest a relationship that merits further examination.
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Iverson, Katherine M; Huang, Kristin; Wells, Stephanie Y; Wright, Jason D; Gerber, Megan R; Wiltsey-Stirman, Shannon
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant health issue faced by women veterans, but little is known about their preferences for IPV-related care. Five focus groups were conducted with 24 women Veterans Health Administration (VHA) patients with and without a lifetime history of IPV to understand their attitudes and preferences regarding IPV screening and responses within VHA. Women veterans wanted disclosure options, follow-up support, transparency in documentation, and VHA and community resources. They supported routine screening for IPV and articulated preferences for procedural aspects of screening. Women suggested that these procedures could be provided most effectively when delivered with sensitivity and connectedness. Findings can inform the development of IPV screening and response programs within VHA and other healthcare settings. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Bukowski, Leigh A; Blosnich, John; Shipherd, Jillian C; Kauth, Michael R; Brown, George R; Gordon, Adam J
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.
Pierre-Cédric B. Crouch
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
Teich, Judith; Ali, Mir M; Lynch, Sean; Mutter, Ryan
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.
Whealin, Julia M; Seibert-Hatalsky, L Alana; Howell, Jennifer Willett; Tsai, Jack
Mental health care practices supported by electronic communication, referred to as e-mental health, offer ways to increase access to mental health resources. In recent years, e-mental health interventions using clinical video teleconferencing, Internet-based interventions, social networking sites, and telephones have emerged as viable, cost-effective methods to augment traditional service delivery. Whereas some research evaluates attitudes about e-mental health, few studies have assessed interest in using these approaches in a contemporary sample of U.S. Veterans. This study sought to understand willingness to use e-mental health in a diverse group of Veterans residing in Hawaii. Mailed surveys were completed by 600 Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom Veterans and National Guard members. Results suggest that overall willingness to use e-mental health ranged from 32.2% to 56.7% depending on modality type. Importantly, Veterans who screened positive for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were significantly less likely to report willingness to use each e-mental health modality than their peers without PTSD, despite their greater desire for mental health services. These results suggest that despite solutions to logistical barriers afforded via e-mental health services, certain barriers to mental health care may persist, especially among Veterans who screen positive for PTSD.
... DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 38 CFR Part 9 RIN 2900-AO24 Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) No-Health Period Extension AGENCY: Department of Veterans Affairs. ACTION: Proposed rule. SUMMARY... Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) to extend to 240 days the current 120-day ``no-health'' period during...
Luz M. Semeah
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.
Miller, Laura J; Ghadiali, Nafisa Y
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.
Brown, Lisa M; Barnett, Scott; Hickling, Edward; Frahm, Kathryn; Campbell, Robert R; Olney, Ronald; Schinka, John A; Casey, Roger
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 < .002), but less likely to participate in individual 30-40-min sessions with medical evaluations (3.5% vs. 17.3%, p < .001). The study findings have implications for homeless programs and the provision of VHA mental health services to homeless veterans postdisaster. PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved.
Full Text Available Risk-taking amongst veterans has severe consequences, yet few studies have examined factors that may predict risk-taking in help-seeking veteran populations. This paper presents a cross-sectional study involving a random sample of 667 UK help-seeking veterans, investigating the role of demographics, mental health and physical health presentations on the propensity for risk-taking. Out of 403 (73.4% veterans, 350 (86.8% reported risk-taking in the past month. We found that younger age, being in a relationship, probable PTSD, common mental health difficulties and traumatic brain injury were significantly associated with risk-taking. Additionally, a direct association was found between increased risk-taking and PTSD symptom clusters, including higher hyperarousal, elevated negative alterations in mood and cognition. Our findings provide initial evidence for demographic and mental health presentations as predictors of risk-taking in help-seeking veterans. Further research and longitudinal studies are needed to facilitate valid risk assessments, and early intervention for veteran services.
Wheeler, Holly A.
Veterans on college campuses are not new; however, the recent influx of veterans returning home from war-time service present challenges to the colleges they attend. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine the transition process experienced by veterans leaving military service and attending community college for the first time.…
Shipherd, Jillian C; Ruben, Mollie A; Livingston, Nicholas A; Curreri, Andrew; Skolnik, Avy A
Past research suggests that rates of trauma exposure and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are elevated among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) veterans compared to heterosexual and cisgender veterans. Given higher rates of trauma exposure and PTSD, and the culture associated with the Department of Defense's history of policies excluding LGBT people, it is important to understand if LGBT veterans are seeking PTSD treatment following discrimination-based traumatic events, where they seek care, and if they are satisfied with treatment. This study aimed to describe the experiences of discrimination-based trauma-exposed LGBT veterans' (n = 47) experiences with PTSD treatment, including location of treatment (Veterans Health Administration [VHA] versus non-VHA) and satisfaction with care. The majority of veterans had received a PTSD diagnosis from a health-care provider in their lifetimes (78.72%, n = 37), and over half reported currently experiencing PTSD symptoms. Approximately 47% of LGBT veterans with discrimination-based trauma histories preferred to seek PTSD treatment exclusively at VHA (46.81%) or with a combination of VHA and non-VHA services (38.30%). Veterans who received PTSD treatment exclusively from VHA reported higher satisfaction ratings (7.44 on 0-9 scale) than veterans who received PTSD treatment exclusively from outside VHA (5.25 on 0-9 scale). For veterans who sought PTSD treatment at both VHA and non-VHA facilities, there were no significant differences regarding satisfaction ratings for their PTSD treatment in the two settings. Results are discussed in terms of VHA's continued efforts to establish equitable, patient-centered health care for all veterans and the importance of non-VHA facilities to recognize veteran identities.
coverage, there is no rigid mathematical relationship among those proportions because veterans enrolled in Part A may choose to enroll in either Part B or...assumption is consistent with the statistical analysis by an actuarial firm with which VA contracted when developing its model for projecting
Beehler, Gregory P; Rodrigues, Amy E; Kay, Morgan A; Kiviniemi, Marc T; Steinbrenner, Lynn
This study aimed to identify barriers and facilitators to health behavior change related to body size in a sample of veteran cancer survivors. A qualitative study was conducted with a sample of 35 male and female cancer survivors receiving care at a Veterans Administration comprehensive cancer center. Participants completed individual interviews regarding barriers and facilitators to lifestyle change and responded to a brief questionnaire regarding current health behaviors. Participants reported suboptimal adherence to recommended health behavior goals and the majority were overweight or obese (80%). Qualitative analysis revealed numerous barriers and facilitators to health behavior change across six broad categories: environmental factors, health services delivery factors, health-related factors, factors related to attitudes toward change, factors related to enacting change, and motivational factors. Veteran cancer survivors were impacted by common barriers to change affecting the general population, cancer-specific factors related to personal diagnosis and treatment history, and health service delivery factors related to the Veterans Administration health care system. There are many barriers and facilitators that exist in diverse domains for veteran cancer survivors, each of which offers unique challenges and opportunities for improving engagement in behavior change following cancer diagnosis and treatment. Reprint & Copyright © 2014 Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S.
Moran, Eileen A; Basa, Edesha; Gao, Jian; Woodmansee, Denni; Almenoff, Peter L; Hooker, Roderick S
This study assessed the 2014 clinical productivity of 5,959 physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) in the US Department of Veterans Affairs' Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Total work relative value units divided by the direct clinical full-time equivalent measured annual productivity, and correlated factors were examined using weighted analysis of variance. PAs and NPs in adult primary care roles were more productive than those in other specialties. Both providers were more productive in rural than in nonrural settings and less productive in teaching than nonteaching hospitals. Men were slightly more productive than women but age and years of VHA employment were not correlates of productivity. PAs were more productive when their scope of practice allowed significant autonomy; NP productivity was unaffected by supervisory requirements. PAs and NPs are an important component of the VHA provider workforce, and their productivity correlates with a number of factors. More organizational research is necessary to better understand the contributing roles PAs and NPs provide in a rapidly evolving, vertically integrated, national health delivery system.
... or symptoms, and factors that may mediate these relationships. The proposed study has five key aims intended to address these gaps and enhance understanding of illnesses reported by GW veterans: (1...
... or symptoms, and factors that may mediate these relationships. The proposed study has five key aims intended to address these gaps and enhance understanding of illnesses reported by 6W veterans: (1...
... or symptoms, and factors that may mediate these relationships. The proposed study has five key aims intended to address these gaps and enhance understanding of illnesses reported by GW veterans: (1...
... or symptoms, and factors that may mediate these relationships. The proposed study has five key aims intended to address these gaps and enhance understanding of illnesses reported by OW veterans: (1...
Cleveland, Sandi D.; Branscum, Adam J.; Bovbjerg, Viktor E.; Thorburn, Sheryl
Objective: 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. Participants: The Fall 2011 implementation of the American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment included 27,774…
Hogan, Timothy P; Hill, Jennifer N; Locatelli, Sara M; Weaver, Frances M; Thomas, Florian P; Nazi, Kim M; Goldstein, Barry; Smith, Bridget M
Access to health information is crucial to persons living with a spinal cord injury or disorder (SCI/D). Although previous research has provided insights on computer and Internet use among persons with SCI/D, as well as how and where persons with SCI/D gather health information, few studies have focused on U.S. veterans with SCI/D. To characterize health information seeking among veterans with SCI/D and to examine the association between technology use and the characteristics of veterans with SCI/D. Cross-sectional. Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Sample of 290 veterans with SCI/D who utilize services at 2 VHA SCI/D Centers. Postal mail survey. Extent of computer, Internet, and text messaging use, information source use, and e-Health literacy rates. The survey response rate was 38%. The majority of respondents were male (97.2%), younger than 65 years (71.0%), and white (71.7%). Of the respondents, 64.8% indicated that they use a computer, 62.9% reported use of the Internet, and 26.2% reported use of text messaging. The mean overall e-Health Literacy Scale score was 27.3 (standard deviation = 7.2). Similar to findings reported in studies focused outside the veteran population, the most frequent source that veterans turned to for information about SCI/D was a health professional (85.1%); this was also the most frequent source that veterans indicated they would turn to first to get information about SCI/D (75.9%). Other frequently reported sources of information included other persons with SCI/D (41.0%), Internet resources (31.0%), and family and friends (27.9%). Fairly high levels of computer and Internet use exist among veterans with SCI/D. Veterans with SCI/D also have a strong preference for people-particularly health professionals, and to a lesser extent peers and family and friends-as sources of information about SCI/D. These findings highlight the importance of combining technology and human interaction to meet the information needs of this population
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.
Murphy, Dominic; Hodgman, Georgina; Carson, Carron; Spencer-Harper, Lucy; Hinton, Mark; Wessely, Simon; Busuttil, Walter
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
Booth, Brenda M; Davis, Teri D; Cheney, Ann M; Mengeling, Michelle A; Torner, James C; Sadler, Anne G
The aim of this study was to determine whether current physical health status in female veterans is associated with rape during military service and same-sex partnership. Retrospective computer-assisted telephone interviews of 1004 Midwestern US female veterans identified from Veterans Affairs electronic records were conducted. Data included rape history including rape in military, sex partnership history, demographics, and medical history including chronic pain, mental health (depression and posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD]), and the physical health component of the Short-Form 12-item interview (PCS-12). Physical health in this sample was lower than norm values [PCS-12: mean (standard deviation) = 43 ; norm: mean (standard deviation) = 50 ). Fifty-one percent of the participants reported rape in their lifetime, 25% reported rape in military, 11% reported history of women as sex partners, and 71% reported history of chronic pain. Multiple regression analysis indicated that physical health (PCS-12) was associated with chronic pain history (β = -.40, p rape in military (β = -.09, p = .002), and current PTSD (β = .07, p = .03), adjusting for demographic data. Mediational analysis indicated that chronic pain history significantly mediated relationships of women who have sex with women, childhood rape, PTSD, depression, and current substance use disorder with PCS-12. Both rape and sex partnership are adversely associated with lower physical functioning in female veterans. Clinicians evaluating the physical health of this population should therefore consider obtaining detailed sexual histories, and a multidisciplinary team is needed to address mental health issues in female veterans.
Ellis, Niki; Mackenzie, Alison; Mobbs, Robyn
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.
Cuellar, Norma G
Mindfulness meditation (MfM) is a mind-body therapy identified by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Initially taught in a formal classroom setting, MfM is a sustainable intervention with minimal costs that can be used over time. For veterans, after mastery, this technique shows promise in improving health outcomes and quality of life. This article describes MfM, discusses the conceptual framework and evidence-based research for MfM, and identifies the implications of MfM use by health care providers who are caring for war veterans.
Britton, Peter C; Bohnert, Kipling M; Ilgen, Mark A; Kane, Cathleen; Stephens, Brady; Pigeon, Wilfred R
The purpose of this study was to calculate suicide rates and identify correlates of risk in the year following discharge from acute Veterans Health Administration psychiatric inpatient units among male veterans discharged from 2005 to 2010 (fiscal years). Suicide rates and standardized mortality ratios were calculated. Descriptive analyses were used to describe suicides and non-suicides and provide base rates for interpretation, and unadjusted and adjusted proportional hazard models were used to identify correlates of suicide. From 2005 to 2010, 929 male veterans died by suicide in the year after discharge and the suicide rate was 297/100,000 person-years (py). The suicide rate significantly increased from 234/100,000 py (95% CI = 193-282) in 2005 to 340/100,000 py (95% CI = 292-393) in 2008, after which it plateaued. Living in a rural setting, HR (95% CI) = 1.20 (1.05, 1.36), and being diagnosed with a mood disorder such as major depression, HR (95% CI) = 1.60 (1.36, 1.87), or other anxiety disorder, HR (95% CI) = 1.52 (1.24, 1.87), were associated with increased risk for suicide. Among male veterans, the suicide rate in the year after discharge from acute psychiatric hospitalization increased from 2005 to 2008, after which it plateaued. Prevention efforts should target psychiatrically hospitalized veterans who live in rural settings and/or are diagnosed with mood or other anxiety disorders.
Currier, Joseph M; McDermott, Ryon C; McCormick, Wesley H
Record numbers of military veterans are enrolling at colleges/universities across the United States. Although a substantive subset might suffer from mental health problems, the majority of these students might not be amenable to utilizing services. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of treatment-related stigma in intentions to seek professional help among undergraduate student veterans at a university on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Focusing on 251 veterans and a gender-matched comparison group of 251 nonveterans, student veterans endorsed higher probabilities of seeking care from physicians (d = .77) and psychologists or other professionals (d = .67). In addition, nonveteran students had greater self-stigma about seeking help (d = -.27) but veterans had more negative beliefs about treatment efficacy (d = 1.07). When compared with veterans who did not exceed clinical thresholds, those with a probable need for treatment had more stigma (ds = .63). Multivariate analyses also revealed an inverse main effect of self-stigma on intentions to seek help from both professional categories. However, military experience differentially moderated associations between treatment-related beliefs and intentions to seek mental health services. Finally, exploratory analyses identified that student veterans were most likely to engage in therapy/counseling at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center or Clinic, Vet Center, or other noninstitutionally sponsored settings in the community (e.g., private practices, faith-based organizations). Looking ahead, these findings will inform research and the provision of services for addressing the mental health needs of this substantive subpopulation of college students in the United States. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved).
Pracht, Etienne E; Bass, Elizabeth
This paper explores the link between utilization of ambulatory care and the likelihood of rehospitalization for an avoidable reason in veterans served by the Veteran Health Administration (VA). The analysis used administrative data containing healthcare utilization and patient characteristics stored at the national VA data warehouse, the Corporate Franchise Data Center. The study sample consisted of 284 veterans residing in Florida who had been hospitalized at least once for an avoidable reason. A bivariate probit model with instrumental variables was used to estimate the probability of rehospitalization. Veterans who had at least 1 ambulatory care visit per month experienced a significant reduction in the probability of rehospitalization for the same avoidable hospitalization condition. The findings suggest that ambulatory care can serve as an important substitute for more expensive hospitalization for the conditions characterized as avoidable. © 2011 National Association for Healthcare Quality.
Lagonia, Paolo; Aloi, Matteo; Magliocco, Fabio; Cerminara, Gregorio; Segura-Garcia, Cristina; Del Vecchio, Valeria; Luciano, Mario; Fiorillo, Andrea; De Fazio, Pasquale
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.
Farmer, Carrie M; Hosek, Susan D; Adamson, David M
In response to concerns that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has faced about veterans' access to care and the quality of care delivered, Congress enacted the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 ("Veterans Choice Act") in August 2014. The law was passed to help address access issues by expanding the criteria through which veterans can seek care from civilian providers. In addition, the law called for a series of independent assessments of the VA health care system across a broad array of topics related to the delivery of health care services to veterans in VA-owned and -operated facilities, as well as those under contract to VA. RAND conducted three of these assessments: Veteran demographics and health care needs (A), VA health care capabilities (B), and VA authorities and mechanisms for purchasing care (C). This article summarizes the findings of our assessments and includes recommendations from the reports for improving the match between veterans' needs and VA's capabilities, including VA's ability to purchase necessary care from the private sector.
... on health care issues affecting enrolled Veterans residing in rural areas. The Committee examines... Rural Health Strategic Plan discussion and work session and the other is the Committee's annual report... DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS Veterans' Rural Health Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting The...
Sayers, Steven L; Farrow, Victoria A; Ross, Jennifer; Oslin, David W
Existing evidence suggests that military veterans with mental health disorders have poorer family functioning, although little research has focused on this topic. To test whether psychiatric symptoms are associated with family reintegration problems in recently returned military veterans. Cross-sectional survey of a clinical population. Respondents who were referred to behavioral health evaluation from April 2006 through August 2007 were considered for the survey. Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Pa. 199 military veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan after 2001 and were referred for behavioral health evaluation from primary care (mean age = 32.7 years, SD = 9.1). Measures included the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview for psychiatric diagnoses, the 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire for depression diagnosis and severity, and screening measures of alcohol abuse and illicit substance use. A measure of military family readjustment problems and a screening measure of domestic abuse were developed for this study. Three fourths of the married/cohabiting veterans reported some type of family problem in the past week, such as feeling like a guest in their household (40.7%), reporting their children acting afraid or not being warm toward them (25.0%), or being unsure about their family role (37.2%). Among veterans with current or recently separated partners, 53.7% reported conflicts involving "shouting, pushing, or shoving," and 27.6% reported that this partner was "afraid of them." Depression and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms were both associated with higher rates of family reintegration problems. Mental health problems may complicate veterans' readjustment and reintegration into family life. The findings suggest an opportunity to improve the treatment of psychiatric disorders by addressing family problems. Copyright 2009 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
Pan, Eric; Botts, Nathan; Jordan, Harmon; Olinger, Lois; Donahue, Margaret; Hsing, Nelson
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veteran Health Information Exchange (VHIE, formerly Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record, or VLER) had been deployed at all VA sites and used to exchange clinical information with private sector healthcare partners nationally. This paper examined VHIE's effect on allergy documentation. Review of all inbound VHIE transactions in FY14 showed that VHIE use was associated with a nearly eight-fold increase in allergy documentation rate. Preliminary manual document review further showed that VA and partners had shared knowledge of only 38% ofpatient allergies, while VA had exclusive knowledge of another 58% ofpatient allergies, and partners had exclusive knowledge of the last 5% of patient allergies. To our knowledge, this is the first study that examined the effect of HIE on allergy documentation.
Misra-Hebert, Anita D; Santurri, Laura; DeChant, Richard; Watts, Brook; Sehgal, Ashwini R; Aron, David C
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 statistic 0.72) and of post-traumatic stress disorder with pain interfering with work (OR 3.9, CI 1.1-13.6, p statistic 0.75). A health assessment survey identified priority areas to inform targeted health promotion for 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.
Yoon, Gihyun; Petrakis, Ismene L; Rosenheck, Robert A
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.
Nelson, Karin; Schwartz, Greg; Hernandez, Susan; Simonetti, Joseph; Curtis, Idamay; Fihn, Stephan D
As the largest integrated US health system, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) provides unique national data to expand knowledge about the association between neighborhood socioeconomic status (NSES) and health. Although living in areas of lower NSES has been associated with higher mortality, previous studies have been limited to higher-income, less diverse populations than those who receive VHA care. To describe the association between NSES and all-cause mortality in a national sample of veterans enrolled in VHA primary care. One-year observational cohort of veterans who were alive on December 31, 2011. Data on individual veterans (vital status, and clinical and demographic characteristics) were abstracted from the VHA Corporate Data Warehouse. Census tract information was obtained from the US Census Bureau American Community Survey. Logistic regression was used to model the association between NSES deciles and all-cause mortality during 2012, adjusting for individual-level income and demographics, and accounting for spatial autocorrelation. Veterans who had vital status, demographic, and NSES data, and who were both assigned a primary care physician and alive on December 31, 2011 (n = 4,814,631). Census tracts were used as proxies for neighborhoods. A summary score based on census tract data characterized NSES. Veteran addresses were geocoded and linked to census tract NSES scores. Census tracts were divided into NSES deciles. In adjusted analysis, veterans living in the lowest-decile NSES tract were 10 % (OR 1.10, 95 % CI 1.07, 1.14) more likely to die than those living in the highest-decile NSES tract. Lower neighborhood SES is associated with all-cause mortality among veterans after adjusting for individual-level socioeconomic characteristics. NSES should be considered in risk adjustment models for veteran mortality, and may need to be incorporated into strategies aimed at improving veteran health.
Schult, Tamara M; Schmunk, Sandra K; Awosika, Ebi R
The aim of this study was to describe a comprehensive approach to decrease physical inactivity in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) employee population. The approach included (1) initiatives to decrease physical inactivity in the workplace; (2) two operational surveys to assess system-wide service provision; and (3) two national employee surveys. From 2010 to 2012, 86 employee fitness centers were completed in VA medical centers. A grants program (2010 to 2015) funded smaller projects designed to decrease physical inactivity in the workplace. Projects involved the provision of equipment to decrease sedentary behaviors, including stability balls, treadmill and sit-to-stand desks, stairwell projects, and funding for on-site fitness classes, bicycle racks, and outdoor par courses and walking paths among others. A comprehensive approach to decrease physical inactivity in VHA employees was successful. Overall, self-reported, age-adjusted physical inactivity in VHA employees decreased from 25.3% in 2010 to 16.1% in 2015.
Kukla, Marina; McGuire, Alan B; Strasburger, Amy M; Belanger, Elizabeth; Bakken, Shana K
Veterans Health Administration vocational services assist veterans with mental illness to acquire jobs; one major component of these services is job development. The purpose of this study was to characterize the nature of effective job development practices and to examine perceptions and intensity of job development services. A national mixed-methods online survey of 233 Veterans Health Administration vocational providers collected data regarding frequency of employer contacts, perceptions of job development ease/difficulty, and effective job development practices when dealing with employers. Qualitative responses elucidating effective practices were analyzed using content analysis. Vocational providers had a modest number of job development employer contacts across 2 weeks (M = 11.0, SD = 10.6) and fewer were face-to-face (M = 7.6, SD = 8.4). Over 70% of participants perceived job development to be difficult. Six major themes emerged regarding effective job development practices with employers: using an employer-focused approach; utilizing a targeted marketing strategy; engaging in preparation and follow-up; going about the employer interaction with genuineness, resilience, and a strong interpersonal orientation; serving as an advocate for veterans and educator of employers; utilizing specific employer-tailored strategies, such as arranging a one-on-one meeting with a decision maker and touring the business, individualizing a prescripted sales pitch, connecting on a personal level, and engaging in ongoing communication to solidify the working relationship. Respondents highlight several potentially effective job development strategies; tools and resources may be developed around these strategies to bolster job development implementation and allow opportunities for fruitful employer interactions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).
Brooks, Matthew S; Laditka, Sarah B; Laditka, James N
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.
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
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.
Martinez, Michelle E; Kearney, David J; Simpson, Tracy; Felleman, Benjamin I; Bernardi, Nicole; Sayre, George
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
Jitnarin, Nattinee; Poston, Walker S C; Haddock, Christopher K; Jahnke, Sara
The purpose of this study was to conduct a content analysis of Veterans and Military Service Organizations (VMSOs) magazines to determine what health-related topics VMSOs target and how they inform their constituencies about health issues. Health-related topics in 288 VMSOs' magazines from 21 VMSOs published in 2011 and 2012 were coded by trained raters using a standardized manual. The top three most addressed health topics were Health Services (Health care, Insurance), Disability and Disability benefits, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Topics least frequently covered were Tobacco and Smoking cessation, Illegal drugs, Alcohol, Gulf War Syndrome, and Weight and Body composition. VMSOs are concerned about the health and well-being of their members given the considerable amount of content devoted to certain health topics such as health insurance concerns, disability, and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, other health concerns that affect a considerable number of both current military personnel and veterans and cost both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense millions annually, such as drug and alcohol problems, and tobacco use and smoking cessation, are infrequently covered. The results of this study improve our understanding of the health-related information that reaches the military and veteran populations through this important media outlet. Reprint & Copyright © 2015 Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S.
Young, Alvin L; Cecil, Paul F
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.
Fihn, Stephan D; Francis, Joseph; Clancy, Carolyn; Nielson, Christopher; Nelson, Karin; Rumsfeld, John; Cullen, Theresa; Bates, Jack; Graham, Gail L
Health care has lagged behind other industries in its use of advanced analytics. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has three decades of experience collecting data about the veterans it serves nationwide through locally developed information systems that use a common electronic health record. In 2006 the VHA began to build its Corporate Data Warehouse, a repository for patient-level data aggregated from across the VHA's national health system. This article provides a high-level overview of the VHA's evolution toward "big data," defined as the rapid evolution of applying advanced tools and approaches to large, complex, and rapidly changing data sets. It illustrates how advanced analysis is already supporting the VHA's activities, which range from routine clinical care of individual patients--for example, monitoring medication administration and predicting risk of adverse outcomes--to evaluating a systemwide initiative to bring the principles of the patient-centered medical home to all veterans. The article also shares some of the challenges, concerns, insights, and responses that have emerged along the way, such as the need to smoothly integrate new functions into clinical workflow. While the VHA is unique in many ways, its experience may offer important insights for other health care systems nationwide as they venture into the realm of big data. Project HOPE—The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc.
Hull, Amanda; Brooks Holliday, Stephanie; Eickhoff, Christine; Sullivan, Patrick; Courtney, Rena; Sossin, Kayla; Adams, Alyssa; Reinhard, Matthew
Complementary and integrative health (CIH) services are being used more widely across the nation, including in both military and veteran hospital settings. Literature suggests that a variety of CIH services show promise in treating a wide range of physical and mental health disorders. Notably, the Department of Veterans Affairs is implementing CIH services within the context of a health care transformation, changing from disease based health care to a personalized, proactive, patient-centered approach where the veteran, not the disease, is at the center of care. This study examines self-reported physical and mental health outcomes associated with participation in the Integrative Health and Wellness Program, a comprehensive CIH program at the Washington DC VA Medical Center and one of the first wellbeing programs of its kind within the VA system. Using a prospective cohort design, veterans enrolled in the Integrative Health and Wellness Program filled out self-report measures of physical and mental health throughout program participation, including at enrollment, 12 weeks, and 6 months. Analyses revealed that veterans reported significant improvements in their most salient symptoms of concern (primarily pain or mental health symptoms), physical quality of life, wellbeing, and ability to participate in valued activities at follow-up assessments. These results illustrate the potential of CIH services, provided within a comprehensive clinic focused on wellbeing not disease, to improve self-reported health, wellbeing, and quality of life in a veteran population. Additionally, data support recent VA initiatives to increase the range of CIH services available and the continued growth of wellbeing programs within VA settings. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).
... 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 ...
Eisen, Seth A; Kang, Han K; Murphy, Frances M; Blanchard, Melvin S; Reda, Domenic J; Henderson, William G; Toomey, Rosemary; Jackson, Leila W; Alpern, Renee; Parks, Becky J; Klimas, Nancy; Hall, Coleen; Pak, Hon S; Hunter, Joyce; Karlinsky, Joel; Battistone, Michael J; Lyons, Michael J
United States military personnel reported various symptoms after deployment to the Persian Gulf during the 1991 Gulf War. However, the symptoms' long-term prevalence and association with deployment remain controversial. To assess and compare the prevalence of selected medical conditions in a national cohort of deployed and nondeployed Gulf War veterans who were evaluated by direct medical and teledermatologic examinations. A cross-sectional prevalence study performed 10 years after the 1991 Gulf War. Veterans were examined at 1 of 16 Veterans Affairs medical centers. Deployed (n = 1061) and nondeployed (n = 1128) veterans of the 1991 Gulf War. Primary outcome measures included fibromyalgia, the chronic fatigue syndrome, dermatologic conditions, dyspepsia, physical health-related quality of life (Short Form-36 [SF-36]), hypertension, obstructive lung disease, arthralgias, and peripheral neuropathy. Of 12 conditions, only 4 conditions were more prevalent among deployed than nondeployed veterans: fibromyalgia (deployed, 2.0%; nondeployed, 1.2%; odds ratio, 2.32 [95% CI, 1.02 to 5.27]); the chronic fatigue syndrome (deployed, 1.6%; nondeployed 0.1%; odds ratio, 40.6 [CI, 10.2 to 161]); dermatologic conditions (deployed, 34.6%; nondeployed, 26.8%; odds ratio, 1.38 [CI, 1.06 to 1.80]), and dyspepsia (deployed, 9.1%; nondeployed, 6.0%; odds ratio, 1.87 [CI, 1.16 to 2.99]). The mean physical component summary score of the SF-36 for deployed and nondeployed veterans was 49.3 and 50.8, respectively. Relatively low participation rates introduce potential participation bias, and deployment-related illnesses that resolved before the research examination could not, by design, be detected. Ten years after the Gulf War, the physical health of deployed and nondeployed veterans is similar. However, Gulf War deployment is associated with an increased risk for fibromyalgia, the chronic fatigue syndrome, skin conditions, dyspepsia, and a clinically insignificant decrease in the SF-36
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
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
Niu, Chen-Chun; Huang, Hui-Man; Hung, Yun-Ying; Lee, Hsiu-Li
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.
Lindley, Steven; Cacciapaglia, Holly; Noronha, Delilah; Carlson, Eve; Schatzberg, Alan
Identifying factors that influence mental health outcomes in veterans can aid in the redesign of programs to maximize the likelihood of early resolution of problems. To that end, we examined demographic and clinical process data from 2,684 veterans who scored positive on a mental health screen. We investigated this data set for patterns and possible predictors of mental health referral acceptance and attendance. The majority of patients had not received mental health treatment within the last two years (76%). Veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) were more likely to accept a mental health referral for depression but were equally likely to attend a mental health visit as other era veterans. Decreased acceptance was associated with provider type and contact method, clinic location, depression only, and specific age ranges (65-74). Among those who accepted a referral, decreased attendance was associated with clinic location, depression only, and retirement. No variables predicted OEF/OIF acceptance/attendance. In conclusion, our findings illustrate the importance of close, continual monitoring of clinical process data to help reveal targets for improving mental health care for veterans. © 2010 Association for Research in Nervous and Mental Disease.
Nurutdinova, Diana; Chrusciel, Timothy; Zeringue, Angelique; Scherrer, Jeffrey F; Al-Aly, Ziyad; McDonald, Jay R; Overton, Edgar T
Mental health comorbidities are common in HIV-infected veterans and can impact clinical outcomes for HIV. We examined the impact of mental health diagnoses on progression to AIDS-defining illness (ADI) and death in a large cohort of HIV-infected veterans who accessed care between 2001 and 2006. Retrospective cohort study using the national Veterans Health Administration (VHA) HIV Clinical Case Registry. We identified HIV-infected veterans initiating combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) within the VHA between 2000 and 2006. The prevalences of the following mental health diagnoses were examined: schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and substance use disorder. Cox proportional hazards models were constructed to examine the relationship between mental health conditions and two outcomes, all-cause mortality and ADI. Models were computed before and after adjusting for confounding factors including age, race, baseline CD4 cell count, comorbidities and cART adherence. Among 9003 veterans receiving cART, 31% had no mental health diagnosis. Age, race, baseline comorbidity score, CD4, and cART adherence were associated with shorter time to ADI or death. All-cause mortality was more likely among veterans with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and substance use, and ADI was more likely to occur among veterans with substance use disorder. Our results demonstrate the high prevalence of mental health diagnoses among HIV-infected veterans. In the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy, presence of psychiatric diagnoses impacted survival and development of ADI. More aggressive measures addressing substance abuse and severe mental illness in HIV-infected veterans are necessary.
Sharif Nia, Hamid; Ebadi, Abbas; Lehto, Rebecca H; Peyrovi, Hamid
Recognition of death anxiety experienced by patients who have survived violence and threats to life during war is of strong importance in delivery of best care for veterans experiencing health stressors. The aim of the study was to explore the death anxiety experience of veterans from the Iran-Iraq war. Using a phenomenological approach, 11 war veterans were interviewed related to death anxiety experiences. Four major themes included afterlife fears; alienated farewell; ambiguous separation; and physical dissolution. Patients who have been exposed to death trauma in the battlefield may carry added burden from unique cognitions and fears related to personal death.
Mishuris, Rebecca G; Stewart, Max; Fix, Gemmae M; Marcello, Thomas; McInnes, D Keith; Hogan, Timothy P; Boardman, Judith B; Simon, Steven R
Electronic, or web-based, patient portals can improve patient satisfaction, engagement and health outcomes and are becoming more prevalent with the advent of meaningful use incentives. However, adoption rates are low, particularly among vulnerable patient populations, such as those patients who are home-bound with multiple comorbidities. Little is known about how these patients view patient portals or their barriers to using them. To identify barriers to and facilitators of using My HealtheVet (MHV), the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) patient portal, among Veterans using home-based primary care services. Qualitative study using in-depth semi-structured interviews. We conducted a content analysis informed by grounded theory. Fourteen Veterans receiving home-based primary care, surrogates of two of these Veterans, and three home-based primary care (HBPC) staff members. We identified five themes related to the use of MHV: limited knowledge; satisfaction with current HBPC care; limited computer and Internet access; desire to learn more about MHV and its potential use; and value of surrogates acting as intermediaries between Veterans and MHV. Despite their limited knowledge of MHV and computer access, home-bound Veterans are interested in accessing MHV and using it as an additional point of care. Surrogates are also potential users of MHV on behalf of these Veterans and may have different barriers to and benefits from use. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Jenkins; David Luxton, PhD; Danielle Mitchell; Kristin Motylinski; Anna Nagel, MPH; Chiping Nieh, PhD; Chris O’Malley, MPH; Ser- guey Parkhomovsky...1996;143:228-239. 36. Barlas FM, Higgins WB, Pflieger JC, Diecker K. 2011 Department of Defense Health Related Behaviors Survey of Active Duty
Rumery, Zachary R; Patel, Nilam; Richard, Patrick
There is limited knowledge on the impact of education on veterans' health in the United States. This study specifically examines the relationship between the education benefits from the G.I. Bill and veterans' health. This study used data from the 2010 National Survey of Veterans. The subjects for this study were 5,052 veterans who were eligible to receive G.I. Bill benefits, representing a total of about 12.7 million non-institutionalized veterans in the United States in 2010. The dependent variables included self-reported health status and smoking behavior. The key independent variable was whether veterans used the education benefits from the G.I. Bill compared with those who were eligible but did not use them. Results from multivariate regression analyses showed that those who used the education benefits from the G.I. Bill were 4% less likely to report fair/poor health (p education benefits. Additional analyses showed that using the education benefits to attend college decreased the probability of being in fair/poor health by 4% (p benefits for non-college attainment such as business, technical, or vocational schools. More importantly, a larger association was found between the use of the education benefits from the G.I. Bill to obtain a college degree and fair/poor health (7%, p education also has important health benefits.
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.
Kimerling, Rachel; Pavao, Joanne; Wong, Ava
We utilized a nationally representative survey of women veteran primary care users to examine associations between patient activation and mental health care experiences. A dose-response relationship was observed, with odds of high quality ratings significantly greater at each successive level of patient activation. Higher activation levels were also significantly associated with preference concordant care for gender-related preferences (use of female providers, women-only settings, and women-only groups as often as desired). Results add to the growing literature documenting better health care experiences among more activated patients, and suggest that patient activation may play an important role in promoting engagement with mental health care.
LePage, J P; Bradshaw, L D; Cipher, D J; Crawford, A M; Hoosyhar, D
This study evaluates the prevalence of Multiple Comorbid Chronic Disease (MCCD) within homeless and non-homeless Veterans and the association between MCCD and inpatient medical care. All individuals seen in the VA North Texas Health Care System between October 1, 2009 and September 30, 2010 (n = 102,034) were evaluated. Homelessness during the year and the number of common chronic diseases were evaluated for an association with likelihood of medical and psychiatric hospitalizations, bed days of care, inpatient substance treatment, rehabilitation admissions, and emergency department visits. Homeless Veterans had higher all-cause mortality rates and rates of use of almost all resources after controlling for chronic disease burden using the Charlson Comorbidity Index, psychiatric illnesses, substance use disorders, and demographic variables. Homelessness Veterans are vulnerable to a high use of resources and mortality, independent of medical and psychiatric conditions. This finding should focus additional attention on reducing homelessness. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Kimerling, Rachel; Pavao, Joanne; Greene, Liberty; Karpenko, Julie; Rodriguez, Allison; Saweikis, Meghan; Washington, Donna L
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.
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...
... Surveillance for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans); Comment Request AGENCY: Veterans Health Administration.... Title: Health Surveillance for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans Survey. OMB Control Number: 2900-0722... New Generation of U.S. Veterans survey will be used to collect data from Operation Iraqi Freedom and...
Weber, Jillian; Lee, Rebecca C; Martsolf, Donna
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.
Eibner, Christine; Krull, Heather; Brown, Kristine M.; Cefalu, Matthew; Mulcahy, Andrew W.; Pollard, Michael; Shetty, Kanaka; Adamson, David M.; Amaral, Ernesto F. L.; Armour, Philip; Beleche, Trinidad; Bogdan, Olena; Hastings, Jaime; Kapinos, Kandice; Kress, Amii
The Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 addressed the need for access to timely, high-quality health care for veterans. Section 201 of the legislation called for an independent assessment of various aspects of veterans' health care. The RAND Corporation was tasked with an assessment of the current and projected demographics and health care needs of patients served by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The number of U.S. veterans will continue to decline over the next...
McGuinness, Teena M; Waldrop, Jessica R
Many U.S. Veterans have experienced the burdens of mental illness and suicide. The current article focuses on Veterans who served from 2001-2015. Although combat exposure and suicidal ideation are linked, approximately one half of all suicides among Active Duty service members (who have served since 2001) occurred among those who never deployed. Researchers who sought additional risks for suicide found that Veterans have greater odds of adversities in childhood than the general population. Adverse childhood experiences are stressful and traumatic experiences, including abuse and neglect, as well as witnessing household dysfunction, or growing up with individuals with mental illness or substance abuse. Further, childhood physical abuse has been shown to be a significant predictor for posttraumatic stress disorder and suicide. Adverse childhood experiences confer additional risk for the mental health of service members. Psychiatric nursing implications include the importance of assessing early childhood adversity during psychosocial assessments. Providing trauma-informed strategies for treatment is an essential element of psychiatric nursing care. Copyright 2015, SLACK Incorporated.
Harris, J I; Strom, Thad Q; Ferrier-Auerbach, Amanda G; Kaler, Matthew E; Hansen, Lucas P; Erbes, Christopher R
For Veterans managing PTSD symptoms, returning to vocational functioning is often challenging; identifying modifiable variables that can contribute to positive vocational adjustment is critical to improved vocational rehabilitation services. Workplace social support has proven to be important in vocational adjustment in both general population and vocational rehabilitation samples, but this area of inquiry has received little attention among Veterans with PTSD symptoms. In this small correlational study, employed Veterans (N = 63) presenting for outpatient PTSD treatment at a VA Health Care System completed surveys assessing demographic variables, PTSD symptoms, workplace social support, and job satisfaction. Workplace social support contributed to the prediction of job satisfaction. It is of note that workplace social support predicted a larger proportion of the variance in employment satisfaction than PTSD symptoms. Further research on workplace social support as a vocational rehabilitation resource for Veterans with PTSD is indicated.
J I Harris
Full Text Available For Veterans managing PTSD symptoms, returning to vocational functioning is often challenging; identifying modifiable variables that can contribute to positive vocational adjustment is critical to improved vocational rehabilitation services. Workplace social support has proven to be important in vocational adjustment in both general population and vocational rehabilitation samples, but this area of inquiry has received little attention among Veterans with PTSD symptoms. In this small correlational study, employed Veterans (N = 63 presenting for outpatient PTSD treatment at a VA Health Care System completed surveys assessing demographic variables, PTSD symptoms, workplace social support, and job satisfaction. Workplace social support contributed to the prediction of job satisfaction. It is of note that workplace social support predicted a larger proportion of the variance in employment satisfaction than PTSD symptoms. Further research on workplace social support as a vocational rehabilitation resource for Veterans with PTSD is indicated.
Tsan, Jack Y; Stock, Eileen M; Greenawalt, David S; Zeber, John E; Copeland, Laurel A
The purpose of this study was to examine mental health treatment use among Vietnam Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder and determine whether undergoing major surgery interrupted mental health treatment or increased the risk of psychiatric hospitalization. Using retrospective data from Veterans Health Administration's electronic medical record system, a total of 3320 Vietnam-era surgery patients with preoperative posttraumatic stress disorder were identified and matched 1:4 with non-surgical patients with posttraumatic stress disorder. The receipt of surgery was associated with a decline in overall mental health treatment and posttraumatic stress disorder-specific treatment 1 month following surgery but not during any subsequent month thereafter. Additionally, surgery was not associated with psychiatric admission. © The Author(s) 2014.
Dhanda Patil, Reena; Patil, Yash J
(1) To determine the presence of Veterans Affairs (VA) institutional guidelines for the perioperative management of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA); (2) to examine current use of preoperative screening tools for OSA in the VA; and (3) to understand current VA practice patterns regarding postoperative disposition of patients with OSA. Survey study. Veterans Affairs hospitals with surgical services; sample size 102 facilities. Veterans Affairs health care providers. The authors surveyed health care providers at VA hospitals using a survey tool developed by the authors. The response rate was 80%. A variety of preoperative screening tools for OSA were used by respondents, most commonly American Society of Anesthesiologists guidelines (53%). A policy for postoperative disposition of known and presumed OSA was present in 26% and 19% of responses, respectively. Of those respondents reporting a formal postoperative care policy, 48% and 30% admitted patients to a monitored ward bed and surgical intensive care unit, respectively. Of the 74% of respondents unaware of an institutional policy, Anesthesia and Surgery worked together to dictate postoperative disposition of patients with known OSA 73% of the time. The degree of OSA was ranked as the most important factor (58%) influencing postoperative disposition. Ten percent of respondents reported a major perioperative complication attributable to OSA in the past year. This survey study elucidates the heterogeneity of preoperative screening for and postoperative care of veterans with OSA. Future investigators may use these data to formalize institutional policies with regard to patients with OSA, with potentially significant impacts on patient care and usage of financial resources.
Full Text Available "n Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the role of social support on the mental health of disabled war veterans alongside the role of physical disability and deployment type. The second aim of the study was to examine the relationship between coping strategies and mental health. "n Method: 85 disabled Iranian war veterans participated in this study. All of the participants were asked to complete the Medical Outcomes Study (MOS ,Social Support Survey, Impact of Event-Revised Scale (IES-R, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS, The Short Form (SF-36 Health Survey Questionnaire, and Brief COPE Scale. Results: The results showed that social support had a significant contribution on the mental health of the participants above and beyond the physical disability and deployment type. The physical disability also predicted the mental health of veterans, but deployment type did not have any significant contribution on mental health of the participants. The findings also showed that those veterans who used constructive coping strategies had better mental health status . "nConclusion: The findings suggest that after more than twenty years of war, social support still plays an important role in the life of Iranian disabled war veterans.
Eibner, Christine; Krull, Heather; Brown, Kristine M; Cefalu, Matthew; Mulcahy, Andrew W; Pollard, Michael; Shetty, Kanaka; Adamson, David M; Amaral, Ernesto F L; Armour, Philip; Beleche, Trinidad; Bogdan, Olena; Hastings, Jaime; Kapinos, Kandice; Kress, Amii; Mendelsohn, Joshua; Ross, Rachel; Rutter, Carolyn M; Weinick, Robin M; Woods, Dulani; Hosek, Susan D; Farmer, Carrie M
The Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 addressed the need for access to timely, high-quality health care for veterans. Section 201 of the legislation called for an independent assessment of various aspects of veterans' health care. The RAND Corporation was tasked with an assessment of the current and projected demographics and health care needs of patients served by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The number of U.S. veterans will continue to decline over the next decade, and the demographic mix and geographic locations of these veterans will change. While the number of veterans using VA health care has increased over time, demand will level off in the coming years. Veterans have more favorable economic circumstances than non-veterans, but they are also older and more likely to be diagnosed with many health conditions. Not all veterans are eligible for or use VA health care. Whether and to what extent an eligible veteran uses VA health care depends on a number of factors, including access to other sources of health care. Veterans who rely on VA health care are older and less healthy than veterans who do not, and the prevalence of costly conditions in this population is projected to increase. Potential changes to VA policy and the context for VA health care, including effects of the Affordable Care Act, could affect demand. Analysis of a range of data sources provided insight into how the veteran population is likely to change in the next decade.
Eibner, Christine; Krull, Heather; Brown, Kristine M.; Cefalu, Matthew; Mulcahy, Andrew W.; Pollard, Michael; Shetty, Kanaka; Adamson, David M.; Amaral, Ernesto F. L.; Armour, Philip; Beleche, Trinidad; Bogdan, Olena; Hastings, Jaime; Kapinos, Kandice; Kress, Amii; Mendelsohn, Joshua; Ross, Rachel; Rutter, Carolyn M.; Weinick, Robin M.; Woods, Dulani; Hosek, Susan D.; Farmer, Carrie M.
Abstract The Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 addressed the need for access to timely, high-quality health care for veterans. Section 201 of the legislation called for an independent assessment of various aspects of veterans' health care. The RAND Corporation was tasked with an assessment of the current and projected demographics and health care needs of patients served by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The number of U.S. veterans will continue to decline over the next decade, and the demographic mix and geographic locations of these veterans will change. While the number of veterans using VA health care has increased over time, demand will level off in the coming years. Veterans have more favorable economic circumstances than non-veterans, but they are also older and more likely to be diagnosed with many health conditions. Not all veterans are eligible for or use VA health care. Whether and to what extent an eligible veteran uses VA health care depends on a number of factors, including access to other sources of health care. Veterans who rely on VA health care are older and less healthy than veterans who do not, and the prevalence of costly conditions in this population is projected to increase. Potential changes to VA policy and the context for VA health care, including effects of the Affordable Care Act, could affect demand. Analysis of a range of data sources provided insight into how the veteran population is likely to change in the next decade. PMID:28083423
Munro, Shannon; Dinatale, Emily; Hartley, Sarah; St Jacques, Monica; Oursler, Kris Ann
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
Boyle, Melissa A; Lahey, Joanna N
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.
Li, Xiaoxue; Ye, Jinqi
This study examines how regulations in private health insurance markets affect coverage of public insurance. We focus on mental health parity laws, which mandate private health insurance to provide equal coverage for mental and physical health services. The implementation of mental health parity laws may improve a quality dimension of private health insurance but at increased costs. We graphically develop a conceptual framework and then empirically examine whether the regulations shift individuals from private to public insurance. We exploit state-by-year variation in policy implementation in 1999-2008 and focus on a sample of veterans, who have better access to public insurance than non-veterans. Using data from the Current Population Survey, we find that the parity laws reduce employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) coverage by 2.1% points. The drop in ESI is largely offset by enrollment gains in public insurance, namely through the Veterans Affairs (VA) benefit and Medicaid/Medicare programs. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Schwarz, Eleanor Bimla; Sileanu, Florentina E; Zhao, Xinhua; Mor, Maria K; Callegari, Lisa S; Borrero, Sonya
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.
Havnaer, Annika G; Greenberg, Paul B; Cockerham, Glenn C; Clark, Melissa A; Chomsky, Amy
To describe current cataract surgery practices within the United States Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Veterans Health Administration hospitals in the U.S. Retrospective data analysis. An initial e-mail containing a link to an anonymous 32-question survey of cataract surgery practices was sent to participants in May 2016. Two reminder e-mails were sent to nonresponders 1 week and 2 weeks after the initial survey was sent; the remaining nonresponders were called twice over a 2-week period. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The response rate was 75% (67/89). Cataract surgeons routinely ordered preoperative testing in 29 (45%) of 65 sections and preoperative consultations in 26 (39%) of 66 sections. In 22 (33%) of 66 sections, cataract surgeons administered intracameral antibiotics. In 61 (92%) of 66 sections, cataract surgeons used toric intraocular lenses (IOLs). In 20 (30%) of 66 sections, cataract surgeons used multifocal IOLs. Cataract surgeons in 6 (9%) of 66 sections performed femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery. In 6 (9%) of 66 sections, cataract surgeons performed immediate sequential bilateral cataract surgery. Forty-nine (74%) ophthalmology chiefs reported a high level of satisfaction with Veterans Affairs ophthalmology. The survey results indicate that in cataract surgery in the VHA, routine preoperative testing is commonly performed and emerging practices, such as femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery and immediate sequential bilateral cataract surgery, have limited roles. The results of this survey could benchmark future trends in U.S. cataract surgery practices, especially in teaching hospital settings. Copyright © 2017 ASCRS and ESCRS. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Whealin, Julia M; Jenchura, Emily C; Wong, Ava C; Zulman, Donna M
Mental health conditions are prevalent among US veterans and pose a number of self-management and health care navigation challenges. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with comorbid chronic medical conditions (CMCs) is especially common, in both returning Iraq or Afghanistan and earlier war-era veterans. Patient-facing electronic health (eHealth) technology may offer innovative strategies to support these individuals' needs. This study was designed to identify the types of eHealth tools that veterans with PTSD and comorbid CMCs use, understand how they currently use eHealth technology to self-manage their unique health care needs, and identify new eHealth resources that veterans feel would empower them to better manage their health care. A total of 119 veterans with PTSD and at least one CMC who have used the electronic personal health record system of the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) responded to a mailed survey about their chronic conditions and preferences related to the use of technology. After the survey, 2 focus groups, stratified by sex, were conducted with a subgroup of patients to explore how veterans with PTSD and comorbid CMCs use eHealth technology to support their complex health care needs. Focus groups were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using standard content analysis methods for coding textual data, guided by the "Fit between Individual, Task, and Technology" framework. Survey respondents had a mean age of 64.0 (SD 12.0) years, 85.1% (97/114) were male, 72.4% (84/116) were white, and 63.1% (70/111) had an annual household income of eHealth literacy was 27.7 (SD 9.8). Of the respondents, 44.6% (50/112) used health-related technology 1 to 3 times per month and 21.4% (24/112) used technology less than once per month. Veterans reported using technology most often to search for health information (78.9%, 90/114), communicate with providers (71.1%, 81/114), and track medications (64.9%, 74/114). Five major themes emerged that describe how
Bergman, Beverly P; Mackay, D F; Pell, J P
Tuberculosis was a major cause of morbidity and manpower loss in the Armed Forces during World War II. Military control programmes commenced in the 1950s but were initially limited in scope by the many recruits who were already tuberculin positive on enlistment. The aim of our study was to examine whether veterans have an increased risk of tuberculosis compared with non-veterans. Retrospective cohort study of 57 000 veterans born 1945-1985, and 173 000 people with no record of military service, resident in Scotland, matched for age, sex and area of residence, using Cox proportional hazard analysis to compare the risk of tuberculosis overall, by birth cohort, length of service and year of diagnosis and to examine comorbidities. Over mean 29 years follow-up, 69 (0.12%) veterans were recorded as having tuberculosis, compared with 267 (0.15%) non-veterans (unadjusted HR 0.90, 95% CIs 0.69 to 1.19, p=0.463). Only the 1945-1949 veterans' birth cohort was at higher risk, unadjusted HR 1.54, 95% CIs 0.98 to 2.45, p=0.061, although the difference in risk did not achieve significance. Veterans born from 1950 were at significantly reduced risk of tuberculosis compared with non-veterans after adjusting for deprivation, HR 0.67, 95% CI 0.47 to 0.95, p=0.026. The most common comorbidities were smoking-related and alcohol-related disease. The risk of comorbid hepatitis B or C was very low, in both veterans and non-veterans. No length of service was associated with an increased risk of tuberculosis in comparison with non-veterans. Scottish veterans born before 1950 are at moderately increased risk of tuberculosis compared with age, sex and geographically matched civilians with no record of service, although the difference is not statistically significant. Scottish veterans born from 1950 show a reduction in risk compared with civilians. Tuberculosis should be considered in the differential diagnosis of respiratory disease in the older veteran. Published by the BMJ Publishing
...,'' authorizing VA to exercise discretion to provide certain mental health services, counseling, and training for... Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs, which provides health benefits for... the Veterans' Mental Health Care Act of 2008 and Other Laws AGENCY: Department of Veterans Affairs...
VAMC VA Medical Center VBA Veterans Benefits Administration VFW Veterans of Foreign War of the United States VHA Veterans Health...System, August 26, 2014, accessed August 27, 2014, http://www.va.gov/oig/pubs/VAOIG-14-02603-267.pdf. 2 Sloan D. Gibson, “Remarks of Acting Secretary...Sloan D. Gibson During VFW Annual Convention” (address at the 115th VFW Annual Meeting, St. Louis, MO, July 22, 2014), accessed July 27, 2014, http
Our conference theme for 2014 is Humanizing the Discourse, a title that speaks to a two-fold aim. We hope to foster increasingly sophisticated dialogue regarding veterans. This requires recognizing the individual humanity of people who can sometimes be turned into one-dimensional caricatures behind headlines, statistics, and stereotypes. In particular, this year we invited contributors to draw on the tools of the arts, humanities, and social sciences in addressing veterans’ issues and shaping...
Van Houtven, Courtney Harold; Jeffreys, Amy S.; Coffman, Cynthia J.
Purpose: The Veterans Affairs or VA health care system is in the process of significantly expanding home health care (HOC) nationwide. We describe VA HHC use in 2003 for all VA HHC users from 2002; we examine whether VA utilization across a broad spectrum of services differed for a sample of VA HHC users and their propensity-score-matched…
Chalder, T; Hotopf, M; Unwin, C; Hull, L; Ismail, K; David, A; Wessely, S
Objectives To determine how many veterans in a random sample of British veterans who served in the Gulf war believe they have “Gulf war syndrome,” to examine factors associated with the presence of this belief, and to compare the health status of those who believe they have Gulf war syndrome with those who do not. Design Questionnaire study asking British Gulf war veterans whether they believe they have Gulf war syndrome and about symptoms, fatigue, psychological distress, post-traumatic stress, physical functioning, and their perception of health. Participants 2961 respondents to questionnaires sent out to a random sample of 4250 Gulf war veterans (69.7%). Main outcome measure The proportion of veterans who believe they have Gulf war syndrome. Results Overall, 17.3% (95% confidence interval 15.9 to 18.7) of the respondents believed they had Gulf war syndrome. The belief was associated with the veteran having poor health, not serving in the army when responding to the questionnaire, and having received a high number of vaccinations before deployment to the Gulf. The strongest association was knowing another person who also thought they had Gulf war syndrome. Conclusions Substantial numbers of British Gulf war veterans believe they have Gulf war syndrome, which is associated with psychological distress, a high number of symptoms, and some reduction in activity levels. A combination of biological, psychological, and sociological factors are associated with the belief, and these factors should be addressed in clinical practice. What is already known on this topicThe term Gulf war syndrome has been used to describe illnesses and symptoms experienced by veterans of the 1991 Gulf warConcerns exist over the validity of Gulf war syndrome as a unique entityWhat this study adds17% of Gulf war veterans believe they have Gulf war syndromeHolding the belief is associated with worse health outcomesKnowing someone else who believes they have Gulf war syndrome and receiving
Chang, Bei-Hung; Mueller, Lisa; Resnick, Sandra G; Osatuke, Katerine; Eisen, Susan V
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) peer specialists and vocational rehabilitation specialists are Veterans employed in mental health services to help other Veterans with similar histories and experiences. Study objectives were to (a) examine job satisfaction among these employees, (b) compare them to other VA mental health workers, and (c) identify factors associated with job satisfaction across the 3 cohorts. The study sample included 152 VA-employed peer specialists and 222 vocational rehabilitation specialists. A comparison group included 460 VA employees from the same job categories. All participants completed the Job Satisfaction Index (11 aspects and overall satisfaction ratings). Linear regression was used to compare job satisfaction and identify its predictors among the 3 cohorts. Job satisfaction was fairly high, averaging "somewhat satisfied" to "very satisfied" in 6 (peer specialists) and 9 (vocational rehabilitation specialists) of the 11 aspects and overall job ratings. Adjusting for length of employment, age and gender resulted in no significant group differences with 2 exceptions: White peer specialists were less satisfied with pay and promotion opportunities than vocational rehabilitation specialists and comparison-group employees. Across all cohorts, shorter length of time employed in the job was associated with higher job satisfaction. The high job satisfaction levels among the 2 peer cohorts suggest support for the policy of hiring peer specialists in the VA. Furthermore, the results are consistent with those of the nonveteran samples, indicating that integrating peer providers into mental health care is possible in VA and non-VA settings. (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved).
Maule, Alexis L; Janulewicz, Patricia A; Sullivan, Kimberly A; Krengel, Maxine H; Yee, Megan K; McClean, Michael; White, Roberta F
Objectives 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. Design Meta-analysis. Methods 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. Results 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. Conclusions 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. PMID:29440208
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.
Farrell-Carnahan, Leah; Barnett, Scott; Lamberty, Gregory; Hammond, Flora M; Kretzmer, Tracy S; Franke, Laura M; Geiss, Meghan; Howe, Laura; Nakase-Richardson, Risa
Insomnia and behavioural health symptoms 1 year after traumatic brain injury (TBI) were examined in a clinical sample representative of veterans who received inpatient treatment for TBI-related issues within the Veterans Health Administration. This was a cross-sectional sub-study (n = 112) of the Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centres' traumatic brain injury model system programme. Prevalence estimates of insomnia, depression, general anxiety, nightmares, headache and substance use, stratified by injury severity, were derived. Univariate logistic regression was used to examine unadjusted effects for each behavioural health problem and insomnia by injury severity. Participants were primarily male, insomnia; those with mild TBI were significantly more likely to meet criteria (43%) than those with moderate/severe TBI (22%), χ(2)(1, n = 112) = 5.088, p ≤ 0.05. Univariable logistic regression analyses revealed depressive symptoms and general anxiety were significantly associated with insomnia symptoms after TBI of any severity. Headache and binge drinking were significantly inversely related to insomnia symptoms after moderate/severe TBI, but not MTBI. Veterans with history of TBI, of any severity, and current insomnia symptoms may be at increased risk for depression and anxiety 1 year after TBI.
Kirchner, JoAnn E.; Farmer, Mary Sue; Shue, Valorie M.; Blevins, Dean; Sullivan, Greer
Purpose: Many veterans who face mental illness and live in rural areas never obtain the mental health care they need. To address these needs, it is important to reach out to community stakeholders who are likely to have frequent interactions with veterans, particularly those returning from Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF). Methods:…
Johnson, Brenda Webb
Emotional intelligence (EI) has not been studied extensively within the Veterans' Health Administration (VHA). The VHA is the largest healthcare organization in America with over 360,000 employees and the organization invests heavily in competency development. The Tampa VA is a level 1 facility with over 5,000 employees in the Tampa Bay area. The…
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
"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.
O'Toole, Brian I; Catts, Stanley V; Outram, Sue; Pierse, Katherine R; Cockburn, Jill
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.
... Surveillance for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans); Comment Request AGENCY: Veterans Health Administration... Surveillance for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans Survey. OMB Control Number: 2900-0722 Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection. Abstract: The Health Surveillance for a New Generation of U.S...
Furlan, Julio C; Gulasingam, Sivakumar; Craven, B Catharine
Information on health-care utilization and the economic burden of disease are essential to understanding service demands, service accessibility, and practice patterns. This information may also be used to enhance the quality of care through altered resource allocation. Thus, a systematic review of literature on the economic impact of caring for SCI/D veterans would be of great value. To systematically review and critically appraise the literature on the economics of the management of veterans with SCI/D. Medline, EMBASE and PsycINFO databases were searched for articles on economic impact of management of SCI/D veterans, published from 1946 to September/2016. The STROBE statement was used to determine publication quality. The search identified 1,573 publications of which 13 articles fulfilled the inclusion/exclusion criteria with 12 articles focused on costs of management of SCI/D veterans; and, one cost-effectiveness analysis. Overall, the health care costs for the management of SCI/D veterans are substantial ($30,770 to $62,563 in 2016 USD per year) and, generally, greater than the costs of caring for patients with other chronic diseases. The most significant determinants of the higher total health-care costs are cervical level injury, complete injury, time period (i.e. first year post-injury and end-of-life year), and presence of pressure ulcers. There is growing evidence for the economic burden of SCI/D and its determinants among veterans, whereas there is a paucity of comparative studies on interventions including cost-effectiveness analyses. Further investigations are needed to fulfill significant knowledge gaps on the economics of caring for veterans with SCI/D.
Hamilton, Alison B; Williams, Lindsay; Washington, Donna L
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.
Nillni, Yael I; Gradus, Jaimie L; Gutner, Cassidy A; Luciano, Matthew T; Shipherd, Jillian C; Street, Amy E
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.
Hall, Katherine S; Morey, Miriam C; Beckham, Jean C; Bosworth, Hayden B; Pebole, Michelle M; Pieper, Carl F; Sloane, Richard
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects up to 30% of military veterans. Older veterans, many of whom have lived with PTSD symptoms for several decades, report a number of negative health outcomes. Despite the demonstrated benefits of regular exercise on physical and psychological health, no studies have explored the impact of exercise in older veterans with PTSD. This paper describes the development, design, and implementation of the Warrior Wellness exercise pilot study for older veterans with PTSD. Veterans aged ≥60 with a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) diagnosis of PTSD will be recruited and randomized to (a) Warrior Wellness, a 12-week supervised, facility-based exercise intervention, or (b) usual care for 12 weeks. Warrior Wellness is a theory- and evidence-based behavioral intervention that involves 3 sessions per week of multi-component exercise training that targets strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility. Warrior Wellness focuses on satisfaction with outcomes, self-efficacy, self-monitoring, and autonomy. Factors associated with program adherence, defined as the number of sessions attended during the 12 weeks, will be explored. Primary outcomes include PTSD symptoms and cardiovascular endurance, assessed at baseline and 12 weeks. Compared to those in usual care, it is hypothesized that those in the Warrior Wellness condition will improve on these efficacy outcomes. The Warrior Wellness study will provide evidence on whether a short-term exercise intervention is feasible, acceptable, and effective among older veterans with PTSD, and explore factors associated with program adherence. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier : NCT02295995.
Lilienthal, Kaitlin R; Buchholz, Laura J; King, Paul R; Vair, Christina L; Funderburk, Jennifer S; Beehler, Gregory P
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.
Seal, Karen H; Bertenthal, Daniel; Miner, Christian R; Sen, Saunak; Marmar, Charles
Veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) have endured high combat stress and are eligible for 2 years of free military service-related health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system, yet little is known about the burden and clinical circumstances of mental health diagnoses among OEF/OIF veterans seen at VA facilities. US veterans separated from OEF/OIF military service and first seen at VA health care facilities between September 30, 2001 (US invasion of Afghanistan), and September 30, 2005, were included. Mental health diagnoses and psychosocial problems were assessed using International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification codes. The prevalence and clinical circumstances of and subgroups at greatest risk for mental health disorders are described herein. Of 103 788 OEF/OIF veterans seen at VA health care facilities, 25 658 (25%) received mental health diagnosis(es); 56% of whom had 2 or more distinct mental health diagnoses. Overall, 32 010 (31%) received mental health and/or psychosocial diagnoses. Mental health diagnoses were detected soon after the first VA clinic visit (median of 13 days), and most initial mental health diagnoses (60%) were made in nonmental health clinics, mostly primary care settings. The youngest group of OEF/OIF veterans (age, 18-24 years) were at greatest risk for receiving mental health or posttraumatic stress disorder diagnoses compared with veterans 40 years or older. Co-occurring mental health diagnoses and psychosocial problems were detected early and in primary care medical settings in a substantial proportion of OEF/OIF veterans seen at VA facilities. Targeted early detection and intervention beginning in primary care settings are needed to prevent chronic mental illness and disability.
Symms, Michelle R; Rawl, Susan M; Grant, Marcia; Wendel, Christopher S; Coons, Stephen Joel; Hickey, Sara; Baldwin, Carol M; Krouse, Robert S
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 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 of sexual activity and higher erectile dysfunction. The lower
Perceptions of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and hand hygiene provider training and patient education: results of a mixed method study of health care providers in Department of Veterans Affairs spinal cord injury and disorder units.
Hill, Jennifer N; Hogan, Timothy P; Cameron, Kenzie A; Guihan, Marylou; Goldstein, Barry; Evans, Martin E; Evans, Charlesnika T
The goal of this study was to assess current practices for training of spinal cord injury and disorder (SCI/D) health care workers and education of veterans with SCI/D in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) spinal cord injury (SCI) centers on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) prevention. Mixed methods. A Web-based survey was distributed to 673 VA SCI/D providers across 24 SCI centers; 21 acute care and 1 long-term care facility participated. There were 295 that responded, 228 had complete data and were included in this analysis. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 30 SCI/D providers across 9 SCI centers. Nurses, physicians, and therapists represent most respondents (92.1%, n = 210); over half (56.6%, n = 129) were nurses. Of providers, 75.9% (n = 173) reported receiving excellent or good training on how to educate patients about MRSA. However, nurses were more likely to report having excellent or good training for how to educate patients about MRSA (P = .005). Despite this, only 63.6% (n = 82) of nurses perceived the education they provide patients on how MRSA is transmitted as excellent or good. Despite health care workers reporting receiving excellent or good training on MRSA-related topics, this did not translate to excellent or good education for patients, suggesting that health care workers need additional training for educating patients. Population-specific MRSA prevention educational materials may also assist providers in educating patients about MRSA prevention for individuals with SCI/D. Published by Mosby, Inc.
Burgess, Diana J; van Ryn, Michelle; Noorbaloochi, Siamak; Clothier, Barbara; Taylor, Brent C; Sherman, Scott; Joseph, Anne M; Fu, Steven S
We examined whether a proactive care smoking cessation intervention designed to overcome barriers to treatment would be especially effective at increasing cessation among African Americans receiving care in the Veterans Health Administration. We analyzed data from a randomized controlled trial, the Veterans Victory over Tobacco study, involving a population-based electronic registry of current smokers (702 African Americans, 1569 whites) and assessed 6-month prolonged smoking abstinence at 1 year via a follow-up survey of all current smokers. We also examined candidate risk adjustors for the race effect on smoking abstinence. The interaction between patient race and intervention condition (proactive care vs. usual care) was not significant. Overall, African Americans had higher quit rates than Whites (13% vs. 9%; P Whites. These findings may be a result of the large number of veterans receiving smoking cessation services and the lack of racial differences in receipt of these services as well as racial differences in smoking history, self-efficacy, and motivation to quit that favor African Americans.
Drew A. Helmer, MD, MS
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.
Women Veterans. GAO-17-52. Washington , D.C.: December 2, 2016. Veterans Health Care: Improvements Needed in Operationalizing Strategic Goals and...Access to Primary Care. GAO-16-328. Washington , D.C.: March 18, 2016. DOD and VA Health Care: Actions Needed to Help Ensure Appropriate Medication...ET Wednesday, March 15, 2017 GAO-17-473T United States Government Accountability Office United States Government Accountability Office
Erbes, Christopher R; Stinson, Rebecca; Kuhn, Eric; Polusny, Melissa; Urban, Jessica; Hoffman, Julia; Ruzek, Josef I; Stepnowsky, Carl; Thorp, Steven R
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.
Zullig, Leah L; Williams, Christina D; Fortune-Britt, Alice G
Lung cancer (LC) and colorectal cancer (CRC) are the second- and third-most commonly diagnosed cancers in the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system. While many studies have evaluated the treatment quality and outcomes of various aspects of VA LC and CRC care, there are no known reviews synthesizing this information across studies. The purpose of this literature review was to describe LC and CRC treatment (ie, surgical and nonsurgical) and outcomes (eg, mortality, psychosocial, and other) in the VA health care system as reported in the existing peer-reviewed scientific literature. We identified potential articles through a search of published literature using the PubMed electronic database. Our search strategy identified articles containing Medical Subject Headings terms and keywords addressing veterans or veterans’ health and LC and/or CRC. We limited articles to those published in the previous 11 years (January 1, 2003 through December 31, 2013). A total of 230 articles were retrieved through the search. After applying the selection criteria, we included 74 studies (34 LC, 47 CRC, and seven both LC and CRC). VA provides a full array of treatments, often with better outcomes than other health care systems. More work is needed to assess patient-reported outcomes
Koo, Kelly H; Madden, Erin; Maguen, Shira
The purpose of this study was to compare health care utilization patterns by race-ethnicity and gender among veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. A retrospective analysis was conducted with records from U.S. service members and veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who enrolled in health care through the Veterans Health Administration, who received a psychiatric diagnosis, and who had used primary or mental health outpatient care between October 7, 2001, and December 31, 2012 (N=309,050). Racial-ethnic minority groups were first collapsed together and compared with whites and then separated by racial-ethnic group. Gender was also tested as a moderator of utilization. Although rates of mental health outpatient care, primary care, and emergency service utilization were relatively similar for racial-ethnic minority groups and whites, minority groups were admitted to psychiatric inpatient care at lower rates than whites. When veterans were separately categorized by specific racial-ethnic groups, some differences in utilization rates emerged; most notably, only black and Hispanic men were admitted less frequently to psychiatric inpatient care, and male and female Asian/Pacific Islander veterans used emergency services less, than their white counterparts. Gender moderated the association between race-ethnicity and mental health outpatient use, such that American Indian and Hispanic women used mental health outpatient services less than white women, but American Indian and Hispanic men showed the opposite pattern. Furthermore, black men were more likely than white men to use mental health outpatient services, but there was no difference between these women. Although service utilization rates between minority groups and whites were similar when minority groups were combined, examination of utilization by racial-ethnic groups and by men and women separately yielded more robust findings.
Wright, Breanna; Forbes, Andrew; Kelsall, Helen; Clarke, David; Ikin, Jill; Sim, Malcolm
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.
Brooks, Matthew S; Laditka, Sarah B; Laditka, James N
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.
Research on Gulf War (6W) illnesses leaves many questions unanswered about diagnostic syndromes of 6W illnesses, dimensions of stressor exposures encountered by 6W veterans, relations among stressor exposures and GW syndromes...
Research on Gulf War (GW) illnesses leaves many questions unanswered about diagnostic syndromes of GW illnesses, dimensions of stressor exposures encountered by GW veterans, relations among stressor exposures and GW syndromes...
Research on Gulf War (GW) illnesses leaves many questions unanswered about diagnostic syndromes of GW illnesses, dimensions of stressor exposures encountered by GW veterans, relations among stressor exposures and GW syndromes...
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Derickson, Ryan; Fishman, Jonathan; Osatuke, Katerine; Teclaw, Robert; Ramsel, Dee
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 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.
Abraham, Traci H; Koenig, Christopher J; Zamora, Kara; Hill, Coleen; Uddo, Madeline; Kelly, Adam P; Hamilton, Michelle F; Curran, Geoffrey M; Pyne, Jeffrey M; Seal, Karen H
Most chronic illness management occurs outside clinics and hospitals, in the everyday lives of individuals. We use data from semi-structured interviews with 37 veterans from Southeastern Louisiana and Northern California to illustrate how "health work" for mental health concerns are shaped by place. Using health work as an orienting concept for analysis, we discerned variation between the two study sites in how Veterans used interacting with the natural environment, cultivating time alone, and religious practice to manage their mental health and well-being. Through these findings, we advocate for a situated notion of health work that is mindful of how health-related behaviors are shaped by place and the attributes that constitute place. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Sherman, Michelle D; Larsen, Jessica; Straits-Troster, Kristy; Erbes, Christopher; Tassey, John
The majority of adults with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are parents. Parents with PTSD report lower levels of parenting satisfaction, poorer parent-child relationships, and elevated incidence of child distress and behavioral problems in comparison with parents without PTSD. Although literature exists regarding parent-child communication about serious mental illness and physical health problems, research has yet to examine this communication regarding parental PTSD. This 3-site, mixed methods study involved 19 veteran parents who had a diagnosis of PTSD; participants were recruited from VA medical centers. Veterans participated in focus groups or individual interviews and completed questionnaires, responding to questions about motivations and barriers for disclosure of their PTSD to their children, the content of such disclosure, experiences at the VA as a parent, and desired VA family resources. Although many veterans described a desire to talk with their children about PTSD, they experience many barriers to doing so, including both personal reservations and feelings (e.g., avoidance of discussing PTSD, shame) and concerns about the consequences of disclosure on their children (e.g., child distress, loss of child's respect for veteran). Regarding veterans' experience at the VA, 21% reported that none of their providers had assessed if they have children, and 21% experienced the VA system as not welcoming to them as parents, citing both logistical issues (e.g., lack of childcare) and provider neglect of parenting concerns. Veterans indicated they would like the VA to offer parenting classes, workshops for families, child care, and family therapy. (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
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.
Beder, Joan; Postiglione, Paul
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.
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
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.
Hoerster, Katherine D; Wilson, Sarah; Nelson, Karin M; Reiber, Gayle E; Masheb, Robin M
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 (pfoods in neighborhood stores where the Veteran shops (Diff=-0.37; CI=-0.6, -0.2; pfoods are needed to improve Veteran diet quality. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Bradley, Catherine S; Nygaard, Ingrid E; Hillis, Stephen L; Torner, James C; Sadler, Anne G
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
Isaacs, Kayla; Mota, Natalie P; Tsai, Jack; Harpaz-Rotem, Ilan; Cook, Joan M; Kirwin, Paul D; Krystal, John H; Southwick, Steven M; Pietrzak, Robert H
Although many cross-sectional studies have examined the correlates of psychological resilience in U.S. military veterans, few longitudinal studies have identified long-term predictors of resilience in this population. The current prospective cohort study utilized data from a nationally representative sample of 2157 U.S. military veterans who completed web-based surveys in two waves (2011 and 2013) as part of the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study (NHRVS). Cluster analysis of cumulative lifetime exposure to potentially traumatic events and Wave 2 measures of current symptoms of posttraumatic stress, major depressive, and generalized anxiety disorders was performed to characterize different profiles of current trauma-related psychological symptoms. Different profiles were compared with respect to sociodemographic, clinical, and psychosocial characteristics. A three-group cluster analysis revealed a Control group with low lifetime trauma exposure and low current psychological distress (59.5%), a Resilient group with high lifetime trauma and low current distress (27.4%), and a Distressed group with both high trauma exposure and current distress symptoms (13.1%). These results suggest that the majority of trauma-exposed veterans (67.7%) are psychologically resilient. Compared with the Distressed group, the Resilient group was younger, more likely to be Caucasian, and scored lower on measures of physical health difficulties, past psychiatric history, and substance abuse. Higher levels of emotional stability, extraversion, dispositional gratitude, purpose in life, and altruism, and lower levels of openness to experiences predicted resilient status. Prevention and treatment efforts designed to enhance modifiable factors such as gratitude, sense of purpose, and altruism may help promote resilience in highly trauma-exposed veterans. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Garcia, Hector A.; McGeary, Cindy A.; McGeary, Donald D.; Finley, Erin P.; Peterson, Alan L.
The purpose of this study was to conduct the first assessment of burnout among Veterans Health Administration (VHA) mental health clinicians providing evidence-based posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) care. This study consisted of 138 participants and the sample was mostly female (67%), Caucasian (non-Hispanic; 81%), and married (70%) with a mean age of 44.3 years (SD = 11.2). Recruitment was directed through VHA PTSD Clinical Teams (PCT) throughout the United States based on a nationwide mailing list of PCT Clinic Directors. Participants completed an electronic survey that assessed demographics, organizational work factors, absenteeism, and burnout (assessed through the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey, MBI-GS). Twelve percent of the sample reported low Professional Efficacy, 50% reported high levels of Exhaustion, and 47% reported high levels of Cynicism as determined by the MBI-GS cut-off scores. Only workplace characteristics were significantly associated with provider scores on all 3 scales. Exhaustion and Cynicism were most impacted by perceptions of organizational politics/bureaucracy, increased clinical workload and control over how work is done. Organizational factors were also significantly associated with provider absenteeism and intent to leave his/her job. Findings suggest that providers in VHA specialty PTSD care settings may benefit from programs or supports aimed at preventing and/or ameliorating burnout. PMID:24564443
Spetz, Joanne; Burgess, James F; Phibbs, Ciaran S
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.
Alexander, Melannie; Ray, Meredith A; Hébert, James R; Youngstedt, Shawn D; Zhang, Hongmei; Steck, Susan E; Bogan, Richard K; Burch, James B
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.
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
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.
Mitchell, Karen S; Rasmusson, Ann; Bartlett, Brooke; Gerber, Megan R
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.
Pavao, Joanne; Turchik, Jessica A; Hyun, Jenny K; Karpenko, Julie; Saweikis, Meghan; McCutcheon, Susan; Kane, Vincent; Kimerling, Rachel
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
Moreau, Jessica L; Cordasco, Kristina M; Young, Alexander S; Oishi, Sabine M; Rose, Danielle E; Canelo, Ismelda; Yano, Elizabeth M; Haskell, Sally G; Hamilton, Alison B
Women veterans are a growing segment of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) users with distinct mental health needs and well-documented barriers to care. Telemental health holds much promise for reducing barriers to mental health care. We assessed VA stakeholders' perceptions of telemental health's appropriateness and potential to address the mental health needs of women veteran VA users. We conducted semistructured qualitative interviews with 40 key leadership and clinical stakeholders at VA medical centers and associated outpatient clinics. Transcripts were summarized in a template of key domains developed based on the interview guide, and coded for topics relevant to women's mental health needs and telehealth services. Telemental health was perceived to increase access to mental health care, including same-gender care and access to providers with specialized training, especially for rural women and those with other limiting circumstances. Respondents saw women veterans as being particularly poised to benefit from telemental health, owing to responsibilities associated with childcare, spousal care, and elder caregiving. Interviewees expressed enthusiasm for telemental health's potential and were eager to expand services, including women-only mental health groups. Implementation challenges were also noted. Overall, our stakeholders saw telemental health as a good fit for helping to address the perceived needs of women veterans, especially in addressing the geographical barriers experienced by rural women and those with a limited ability to travel. These findings can help to inform gender-tailored expansion of telemental health within and outside of the VA. Published by Elsevier Inc.
... develops formal arrangements with community-based providers, such as community mental health clinics... effectiveness of community partnerships in helping to meet the mental health needs of veterans in a timely way... networks that supports the use of community mental health services, including telehealth services and...
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...
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
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.
Byrne, Colene M; Mercincavage, Lauren M; Pan, Eric C; Vincent, Adam G; Johnston, Douglas S; Middleton, Blackford
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.
Garrido, Melissa M; Allman, Richard M; Pizer, Steven D; Rudolph, James L; Thomas, Kali S; Sperber, Nina R; Van Houtven, Courtney H; Frakt, Austin B
A path-breaking example of the interplay between geriatrics and learning healthcare systems is the Veterans Health Administration's (VHA's) planned roll-out of a program for providing participant-directed home- and community-based services to veterans with cognitive and functional limitations. We describe the design of a large-scale, stepped-wedge, cluster-randomized trial of the Veteran-Directed Home- and Community-Based Services (VD-HCBS) program. From March 2017 through December 2019, up to 77 Veterans Affairs Medical Centers will be randomized to times to begin offering VD-HCBS to veterans at risk of nursing home placement. Services will be provided to community-dwelling participants with support from Aging and Disability Network Agencies. The VHA Partnered Evidence-based Policy Resource Center (PEPReC) is coordinating the evaluation, which includes collaboration from operational stakeholders from the VHA and Administration for Community Living and interdisciplinary researchers from the Center of Innovation in Long-Term Services and Supports and the Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care. For older veterans with functional limitations who are eligible for VD-HCBS, we will evaluate health outcomes (hospitalizations, emergency department visits, nursing home admissions, days at home) and healthcare costs associated with VD-HCBS availability. Learning healthcare systems facilitate diffusion of innovation while enabling rigorous evaluation of effects on patient outcomes. The VHA's randomized rollout of VD-HCBS to veterans at risk of nursing home placement is an example of how to achieve these goals simultaneously. PEPReC's experience designing an evaluation with researchers and operations stakeholders may serve as a framework for others seeking to develop rapid, rigorous, large-scale evaluations of delivery system innovations targeted to older adults. © 2017, Copyright the Authors Journal compilation © 2017, The American Geriatrics Society.
Tsai, Jack; Hoff, Rani A; Harpaz-Rotem, Ilan
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is committed to preventing and ending homelessness among U.S. veterans, but there have been few estimates of the incidence of veteran homelessness and prospective studies to identify predictors of homelessness. This study examines the 1-year incidence of homelessness among veterans seen in VA specialty mental health clinics and identified sociodemographic and clinical predictors of homelessness. Using a retrospective cohort study design, data were extracted from the VA medical records of 306,351 veterans referred to anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder clinics across 130 VA facilities from 2008-2012 and followed for 1 year after referral. Homeless incidence was defined as new use of any VA homeless services or a documented International Classification of Diseases (9th rev.) V60.0 (lack of housing) code during the year. Of the total sample, 5.6% (7.8% for women and 5.4% for men) experienced homelessness within 1 year after referral to VA specialty mental health care. Veterans who were unmarried or diagnosed with a drug use disorder were more than twice as likely to become homeless; those who were Black or had annual incomes less than $25,000 were more than one and a half times as likely to become homeless. Together, these findings suggest a notable and important percentage of veterans seen in VA specialty mental health clinics newly experience homelessness annually. Monitoring early signs of housing vulnerability and preventing homelessness in this vulnerable but treatment-engaged population may be important in the VA's efforts to end veteran homelessness. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved).
Health service utilisation and investigations before diagnosis of cancer of unknown primary (CUP): A population-based nested case-control study in Australian Government Department of Veterans' Affairs clients.
Vajdic, Claire M; Schaffer, Andrea L; Dobbins, Timothy A; Ward, Robyn L; Er, Chuang C; Pearson, Sallie-Anne
Population-based data on the use of health services and diagnostic investigations for patients with cancer of unknown primary (CUP) is scarce. It is uncertain whether the pathways to diagnosis are different for CUP compared to other cancers. We performed a population-based nested matched case-control study using linked routinely collected records for Australian Government Department of Veterans' Affairs clients, 2004-2007. We compared health care consultations, hospitalisations, emergency department visits, and diagnostic procedures in the three months prior and the month of diagnosis for 281 clients registered with a diagnosis of CUP (C809) and 1102 controls randomly selected from clients registered with a first diagnosis of metastatic cancer of known primary. Overall, the median age at cancer diagnosis was 83 years. CUP patients were slightly older and had significantly more comorbidities prior to diagnosis than those with known primary. Compared to known primary, a diagnosis of CUP was significantly more likely after an emergency department visit, less specialist input, fewer invasive diagnostic procedures such as resection or endoscopy, and more non-invasive procedures such as magnetic resonance imaging. There were no differences in primary care or allied health consultations and hospitalisations. This health care pathway suggests delayed recognition of cancer and scope for improvement in the medical management of high-risk individuals presenting to primary care. The pattern of diagnostic investigations reveals under-investigation in some CUP patients but this is likely to reflect recognition of limited treatment options and poor prognosis and is consistent with clinical guidelines. Copyright © 2015 Commonwealth of Australia. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.
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
Ashrafioun, Lisham; Pigeon, Wilfred R; Conner, Kenneth R; Leong, Shirley H; Oslin, David W
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.
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.
Piette, John D; Krein, Sarah L; Striplin, Dana; Marinec, Nicolle; Kerns, Robert D; Farris, Karen B; Singh, Satinder; An, Lawrence; Heapy, Alicia A
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
Wagner, Todd H; Sinnott, Patricia; Siroka, Andrew M
This study analyzed spending for treatment of mental health and substance use disorders in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in fiscal years (FYs) 2000 through 2007. VA spending as reported in the VA Decision Support System was linked to patient utilization data as reported in the Patient Treatment Files, the National Patient Care Database, and the VA Fee Basis files. All care and costs from FY 2000 to FY 2007 were analyzed. Over the study period the number of veterans treated at the VA increased from 3.7 million to over 5.1 million (an average increase of 4.9% per year), and costs increased .7% per person per year. For mental health and substance use disorder treatment, the volume of inpatient care decreased markedly, residential care increased, and spending decreased on average 2% per year (from $668 in FY 2000 to $578 per person in FY 2007). FY 2007 saw large increases in mental health spending, bucking the trend from FY 2000 through FY 2006. VA's continued emphasis on outpatient and residential care was evident through 2007. This trend in spending might be unimpressive if VA were enrolling healthier Veterans, but the opposite seems to be true: over this time period the prevalence of most chronic conditions, including depression and posttraumatic stress disorder, increased. VA spending on mental health care grew rapidly in 2007, and given current military activities, this trend is likely to increase.
Wright, Brad; O'Shea, Amy M.J.; Glasgow, Justin M.; Ayyagari, Padmaja; Vaughan-Sarrazin, Mary
Abstract Recent studies have documented that a significant increase in the use of observation stays along with extensive variation in patterns of use across hospitals. The objective of this longitudinal observational study was to examine the extent to which patient, hospital, and local health system characteristics explain variation in observation stay rates across Veterans Health Administration (VHA) hospitals. Our data came from years 2005 to 2012 of the nationwide VHA Medical SAS inpatient...
Jodie G. Katon, PhD; Gayle E. Reiber, PhD
The number of women veterans is rapidly growing, and little is known regarding the health and healthcare needs of women veterans with traumatic limb loss. The objective of this study was to summarize physical and mental health conditions and rates of prosthetic prescriptions among women servicemembers and veterans with major traumatic limb loss. Researchers and clinicians who administered the Survey for Prosthetic Use contacted and enrolled 283 servicemembers and veterans of Operation Iraqi F...
MacDonald, Serena; Hausmann, Leslie R M; Sileanu, Florentina E; Zhao, Xinhua; Mor, Maria K; Borrero, Sonya
To describe perceived race-based discrimination in Veterans Affairs (VA) health care settings and assess its associations with contraceptive use among a sample of women Veterans. This study used data from a national telephone survey of women Veterans aged 18-44 receiving health care in VA who were at risk of unintended pregnancy. Participants were asked about their perceptions of race-based discrimination while seeking VA health care and about their contraceptive use at last heterosexual intercourse. Logistic and multinomial regression analyses were used to examine associations between perceived race-based discrimination with use of prescription contraception. In our sample of 1341 women Veterans, 7.9% report perceived race-based discrimination when receiving VA care, with blacks and Hispanics reporting higher levels of perceived discrimination than white women (11.3% and 11.2% vs. 4.4%; Pwomen who perceived race-based discrimination were less likely to use any prescription birth control than women who did not (odds ratio, 0.65; 95% confidence interval, 0.42-1.00), with the largest difference seen in rates of intrauterine device or implant use (odds ratio, 0.40; 95% confidence interval, 0.20-0.79). In this national sample of women Veterans, over 10% of racial/ethnic minority women perceived race-based discrimination when receiving care in VA settings, and perceived racial/ethnic discrimination was associated with lower likelihood of prescription contraception use, especially intrauterine devices and implants. VA efforts to enhance respectful interactions may not only improve patient health care experiences, but also represent an opportunity to improve reproductive health outcomes for women Veterans.
Evans, Elizabeth A; Glover, Dawn L; Washington, Donna L; Hamilton, Alison B
Women Veterans who use the Veterans Health Administration (VA) have high rates of substance abuse and poorer health than non-Veteran women. Less is known about the psychosocial needs of women Veterans who seek care in non-VA settings. We provide a grounded description of factors that impact substance abuse, mental health, and related quality of life of women Veterans who use non-VA community-based health and social services. Utilizing a mixed methods design, we conducted semi-structured in-person interviews with 22 women Veterans in Los Angeles in 2013-2015. The current health of these women Veterans was shaped by substance abuse and several other factors, including: histories of trauma (in childhood, during military service) and discrimination, and associated mental health conditions; post-military socio-economic stressors; shifting social roles and adverse social support; and lost personal identity after military service. Psychosocial factors collectively underscore areas in which delivery of health and social services to women Veterans being treated in non-VA settings could be improved: (1) diffuse, implement, and sustain evidence-based gender-sensitive substance abuse treatment; (2) address traumas contributing to poor health; (3) recognize stress proliferation processes erode women's capacity to access healthcare or cope with stressors in healthy ways; (4) champion women Veterans who embody resilience and thereby can help others to form empowered personal identities of health and wellness. Findings can inform interventions and services that ameliorate vulnerability to substance abuse and other health risks among women Veterans.
Kelly, Megan M; Reilly, Erin; Quiñones, Timothy; Desai, Nitigna; Rosenheck, Robert
Long acting intramuscular (IM) naltrexone is an effective treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD), but rates and correlates of its use have not been studied. National administrative from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) from Fiscal Year 2012 identified only 16 VHA facilities that prescribed IM naltrexone to 5 or more veterans diagnosed with OUD. Data from these facilities were used to identify sociodemographic, diagnostic, and service use characteristics, including use of psychotropic medication, that were characteristic of veterans who filled prescriptions for IM naltrexone. This was in comparison to users of opiate agonist treatments (methadone or buprenorphine) or veterans with no pharmacologic treatment for OUD. Comparisons were made using both bi-variate analyses and multivariable logistic regression. Only 179 of 16,402 veterans with OUD (1%) at these 16 facilities filled a prescription for IM naltrexone and only 256 of 99,394 (0.26%) nationally. These veterans were characterized by past homelessness, co-morbid alcohol use disorder, multiple psychiatric disorders, and a greater likelihood of psychiatric hospitalization, as well as mental health outpatient and antidepressant medication use. IM naltrexone is rarely used for OUD and is primarily used for patients with multiple co-morbidities, especially alcohol use disorder and serious mental illness. The use of this treatment illustrates many of the principles identified by the emerging focus on multi-morbidity as a critical feature of clinical practice. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Krouse, Robert S; Grant, Marcia; Wendel, Christopher S; Mohler, M Jane; Rawl, Susan M; Baldwin, Carol M; Coons, Stephen Joel; McCorkle, Ruth; Ko, Clifford Y; Schmidt, C Max
Intestinal stomas have a major impact on Cases' lives. It is essential to better understand the areas in which interventions may help to minimize the negative consequences. This was a case-control survey study using validated instruments (City of Hope Quality of Life-Ostomy and Short Form 36 for Veterans). Cases were accrued from Veterans Affairs Medical Centers in Tucson, Indianapolis, and Los Angeles. Eligibility included a major intra-abdominal surgical procedure that led to an ostomy (cases), or a similar procedure that did not mandate a stoma (controls). Analysis included quantitative and qualitative responses. The response rate was 48 percent (511/1,063). Cases and controls had relatively similar demographic characteristics. Because of low numbers of female respondents (13 cases and 11 controls), only results for males are reported. Based on both the City of Hope Quality of Life-Ostomy and Short Form 36 for Veterans, cases reported significantly poorer scores on scales/domains reflecting psychologic and social functioning and well being. Additionally, cases reported poorer scores on Short Form 36 for Veterans scales reflecting physical functioning and significantly lower scores on multiple items in the social domain of the City of Hope Quality of Life-Ostomy compared with controls. Two-thirds of cases replied to an open-ended question on their "greatest challenge" related to their ostomy, which led to further clarification of major issues. Multiple health-related quality of life problems were reported by male veterans with intestinal stomas. The greatest differences between cases and controls were observed in the social and psychologic domains/scales. Findings from this study provide a greater understanding of the challenges faced by ostomates and will inform the development and evaluation of urgently needed intervention strategies.
Comnmunity Health Nursing (1) Nurse Anesthetists (2) Inhalation Therapy IPPB Treatments Humidity Aerosol Chest Physiotherapy Arterial Blood Samples OB...Continuing Health (12) Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (13) Post-Traumatic Stress Unit (14) Geriatric C. Outpatient Program - Mental Hygiene Clinic 3...Service consists.of a large professional staff of Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, Nurse Instructors, Geriatric Consultant Nurse and a
Fang, Shona C; Schnurr, Paula P; Kulish, Andrea L; Holowka, Darren W; Marx, Brian P; Keane, Terence M; Rosen, Raymond
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
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
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
post - traumatic stress disorder ( PTSD ), depression, or traumatic brain...a 4-item screener for post - traumatic stress ( PTSD ). Forty-Four percent of the student Veterans screened positive on at least one mental health...administered screeners for depression (PHQ-9), generalized anxiety (GAD-7), posttraumatic stress disorder (PC- PTSD ), non-lethal self-injury,
Hobson, Alexandra; Curtis, Alexa
Improving healthcare delivery for U.S. veterans is a national priority. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) employs a variety of team-based, population health strategies to address critical issues in veterans' health including the effective management of chronic disease. Nurse practitioners (NPs) are integral members of the VHA patient care team with a substantial role to play in the organization and delivery of healthcare services for veterans. This report explores the contributions of NPs in team-based, population health strategies within the VHA. This review of the literature examines peer-reviewed articles published between 2006 and 2017 to explore the contributions of NPs in team-based, population health strategies within the VHA. Search words include veterans, VHA, NPs, population health, panel management, and chronic disease. NPs are vital members of the VHA primary care team; however, there is a dearth of available evidence reflecting the unique contribution of NPs within VHA team-based, population health management strategies. The VHA adoption of full practice authority for NP practice provides NPs with an expanded capacity to lead improvements in veterans' health. Future research is needed to fully understand the unique role of the NP in the delivery of population health management strategies for veterans. ©2017 American Association of Nurse Practitioners.
Duckworth William C
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.
Hartmann, Christine W; Meterko, Mark; Rosen, Amy K; Shibei Zhao; Shokeen, Priti; Singer, Sara; Gaba, David M
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.
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
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.
Bourgault, Claire; Johnson, Erin E.; Redihan, Stephen G.; Borgia, Matthew; Aiello, Riccardo; Kane, Vincent
Objectives. 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. Methods. 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. Results. 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. Conclusions. Homeless adults had substantial health needs when presenting for care. High-intensity primary care and access to specialty care services could reduce ED use. PMID:24148042
Reyes, A T; Kearney, C A; Isla, K; Bryant, R
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
Harrold, S Akeya; Libet, Julian; Pope, Charlene; Lauerer, Joy A; Johnson, Emily; Edlund, Barbara J
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
Kilbourne, Amy M; Greenwald, Devra E; Hermann, Richard C; Charns, Martin P; McCarthy, John F; Yano, Elizabeth M
This study assessed the extent to which mental health leaders perceive their programs as being primarily accountable for monitoring general medical conditions among patients with serious mental illness, and it assessed associations with modifiable health system factors. As part of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) 2007 national Mental Health Program Survey, 108 mental health program directors were queried regarding program characteristics. Perceived accountability was defined as whether their providers, as opposed to external general medical providers, were primarily responsible for specific clinical tasks related to serious mental illness treatment or high-risk behaviors. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine whether financial incentives or other system factors were associated with accountability. Thirty-six percent of programs reported primary accountability for monitoring diabetes and cardiovascular risk after prescription of second-generation antipsychotics, 10% for hepatitis C screening, and 17% for obesity screening and weight management. In addition, 18% and 27% of program leaders, respectively, received financial bonuses for high performance for screening for risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease and for alcohol misuse. Financial bonuses for diabetes and cardiovascular screening were associated with primary accountability for such screening (odds ratio=5.01, pFinancial incentives to improve quality performance may promote accountability in monitoring diabetes and cardiovascular risk assessment within mental health programs. Integrated care strategies (co-location) might be needed to promote management of high-risk behaviors among patients with serious mental illness.
An operations-partnered evaluation of care redesign for high-risk patients in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA): Study protocol for the PACT Intensive Management (PIM) randomized quality improvement evaluation.
Chang, Evelyn T; Zulman, Donna M; Asch, Steven M; Stockdale, Susan E; Yoon, Jean; Ong, Michael K; Lee, Martin; Simon, Alissa; Atkins, David; Schectman, Gordon; Kirsh, Susan R; Rubenstein, Lisa V
Patient-centered medical homes have made great strides providing comprehensive care for patients with chronic conditions, but may not provide sufficient support for patients at highest risk for acute care use. To address this, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) initiated a five-site demonstration project to evaluate the effectiveness of augmenting the VA's Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) medical home with PACT Intensive Management (PIM) teams for Veterans at highest risk for hospitalization. Researchers partnered with VHA leadership to design a mixed-methods prospective multi-site evaluation that met leadership's desire for a rigorous evaluation conducted as quality improvement rather than research. We conducted a randomized QI evaluation and assigned high-risk patients to participate in PIM and compared them with high-risk Veterans receiving usual care through PACT. The summative evaluation examines whether PIM: 1) decreases VHA emergency department and hospital use; 2) increases satisfaction with VHA care; 3) decreases provider burnout; and 4) generates positive returns on investment. The formative evaluation aims to support improved care for high-risk patients at demonstration sites and to inform future initiatives for high-risk patients. The evaluation was reviewed by representatives from the VHA Office of Research and Development and the Office of Research Oversight and met criteria for quality improvement. VHA aims to function as a learning organization by rapidly implementing and rigorously testing QI innovations prior to final program or policy development. We observed challenges and opportunities in designing an evaluation consistent with QI standards and operations priorities, while also maintaining scientific rigor. This trial was retrospectively registered at ClinicalTrials.gov on April 3, 2017: NCT03100526. Protocol v1, FY14-17. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
... on mental health, prosthetic services for women Veterans, readjustment counseling, women Veterans' legislative issues, special health initiatives, women Veterans' research, rural health, and homeless... Veterans Affairs regarding the needs of women Veterans with respect to health care, rehabilitation...
Brooks, Elizabeth; Dailey, Nancy K; Bair, Byron D; Shore, Jay H
Many work to ensure that women veterans receive appropriate and timely health care, yet the needs of those living in rural areas are often ignored. This is a critical oversight given the multitude of reports documenting rural access problems and health disparities. Lacking this, we are unable to plan for and evaluate appropriate care for this specific group. In this project, we spoke with rural women veterans to document service needs and quality of care from their perspective. Rural women veterans' views about health care access and quality were ascertained in a series of five, semistructured focus groups (n = 35) and completion of a demographic questionnaire. Content analysis documented focus-group themes. Participants said that local dental, mental health, and gender-specific care options were needed, as well as alternative healing options. Community-based support for women veterans and interaction with female peers were absent. Participants' support for telehealth was mixed, as were requests for gender-specific care. Personal experiences in the military impacted participants' current service utilization. Action by both Veterans Affairs and the local community is vital to improving the health of women veterans. Service planning should consider additional Veterans Affairs contracts, mobile health vans, peer support, and enhanced outreach. Reprint & Copyright © 2016 Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S.
REPORT: Annual PREPARED FOR: U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command Fort Detrick, Maryland 21702-5012 DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT...ACRONYM(S) U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command Fort Detrick, Maryland 21702-5012 11. SPONSOR/MONITOR’S REPORT NUMBER(S) 12...the intervention and obtaining quantitative health outcome data. 15. SUBJECT TERMS Veterans, suicide, psychological well-being, health coaching
Harrod, Molly; Manojlovich, Milisa; Kowalski, Christine P; Saint, Sanjay; Krein, Sarah L
Health care-associated infection (HAI) is costly to hospitals and potentially life-threatening to patients. Numerous infection prevention programs have been implemented in hospitals across the United States. Yet, little is known about infection prevention practices and implementation in rural hospitals. The purpose of this study was to understand the infection prevention practices used by rural Veterans' Affairs (VA) hospitals and the unique factors they face in implementing these practices. This study used a sequential, mixed methods approach. Survey data to identify the HAI prevention practices used by rural VA hospitals were collected, analyzed, and used to inform the development of a semistructured interview guide. Phone interviews were conducted followed by site visits to rural VA hospitals. We found that most rural VA hospitals were using key recommended infection prevention practices. Nonetheless, a number of challenges with practice implementation were identified. The 3 most prominent themes were: (1) lack of human capital including staff with HAI expertise; (2) having to cultivate needed resources; and (3) operating as a system within a system. Rural VA hospitals are providing key infection prevention services to ensure a safe environment for the veterans they serve. However, certain factors, such as staff expertise, limited resources, and local context impacted how and when these practices were used. The creative use of more accessible alternative resources as well as greater flexibility in implementing HAI-related initiatives may be important strategies to further improve delivery of these important services by rural VA hospitals. Published 2013. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.
This article examines the disability compensation programs and health care system of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from the perspective of therapeutic jurisprudence scholarship. VA psychiatric patients have unambiguous financial incentives to endlessly litigate disability claims, to seek lengthy hospitalization rather than outpatient treatment, and to be ill, disabled, and unemployed. These countertherapeutic incentives reward incapacitation, encourage perceiving one-self as sick, diminish personal responsibility, taint treatment relationships, and lead to disparaging perceptions of VA patients. In addition, such perceptions produce moral dilemmas that arise from mutual distrust and frustration when patients and caregivers have antagonistic goals for the clinical encounter. Changes in disability determination procedures, compensation levels, and patterns of payment for treatment could give VA patients and caregivers a "healthier" health care system that encourages personal responsibility and promotes respectful attitudes toward patients. In the absence of such changes, an awareness of countertherapeutic financial incentives can help clinicians distinguish between psychopathological behavior and the pursuit of a rational income strategy, and can help practitioners recognize that apparently deceitful or litigious behavior represents a reasonable response to the economic contingencies that VA patients face.
Gilman, Stuart C; Chokshi, Dave A; Bowen, Judith L; Rugen, Kathryn Wirtz; Cox, Malcolm
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.
make it more difficult for veterans with PTSD to seek or maintain treatment. VHA provides treatment for PTSD at VHA hospitals , outpatient clinics ...measured in days of inpatient hospital care and outpatient clinic visits. A veteran may have had several outpatient visits on a sin- gle day, each...reproduce the same results precisely. The DSS system takes clinical and financial information from other VHA databases and uses algorithms that merge
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 ...
Back, Sudie E; Killeen, Therese K; Teer, Andrew P; Hartwell, Emily E; Federline, Amanda; Beylotte, Frank; Cox, Elizabeth
Substance use disorders (SUDs) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) frequently co-occur among Veterans and are associated with poor treatment outcomes. Historically, treatments for SUDs and PTSD have been delivered sequentially and independently. More recently, however, integrated treatments have shown promise. This study investigated Veterans' perceptions of the interrelationship between SUDs and PTSD, as well as treatment preferences. Participants were 35 Veterans of recent military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and prior operations, who completed the Treatment Preferences Questionnaire as well as an in-depth interview. The majority (94.3%) perceived a relationship between their SUD and PTSD symptoms. Veterans reported that PTSD symptom exacerbation was typically (85.3%) associated with an increase in substance use, and PTSD symptom improvement was typically (61.8%) followed by a decrease in substance use (pdevelopment and provision of care for Veterans with SUDs and PTSD. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
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
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
Nazi, Kim M
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.
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
Full Text Available The purpose of this study was to shed light on the identification of themes and sub-themes of the quality of life (QOL in Iranian veterans with spinal cord injury (SCI. Studies have reported decreased QOL in SCI patients which encompass all aspects of their life. Little is known about QOL in SCI veterans from Iran. The aim of this qualitative study was to identify related aspects of such patients through in-depth patient interviews. The present study was a qualitative study of content analysis. Sampling took place in the Veterans Department of Khatam-Al-Anbia Hospital and was objective focused in accordance with qualitative studies. The participants were 11 SCI veterans and 4 veteran spouses. The data was collected by means of in-depth interviews and the use of the constant comparison method. The five themes of QOL included social, economic, cultural, medical, and environmental resulted from 7530 primary codes. We noted 29 QOL sub-themes. This article addresses different dimensions of QOL for SCI veterans. The current study suggests that the main aspects that should be evaluated in SCI veterans are the social, economic, cultural, medical, and environmental issues which affect their QOL. Moreover, participants put the most weight on their financial situation.
..., 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...
Koo, Kelly H; Hebenstreit, Claire L; Madden, Erin; Seal, Karen H; Maguen, Shira
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.
Ruben, Mollie A; Blosnich, John R; Dichter, Melissa E; Luscri, Lorry; Shipherd, Jillian C
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.
Jakupcak, Matthew; Luterek, Jane; Hunt, Stephen; Conybeare, Daniel; McFall, Miles
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.
Megan K. Yee
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.
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...
Yarborough, Bobbi Jo H; Owen-Smith, Ashli A; Stumbo, Scott P; Yarborough, Micah T; Perrin, Nancy A; Green, Carla A
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.
Forrest, Walter; Edwards, Ben; Daraganova, Galina
The long-term effects of military deployment on the mental health of war veterans have been investigated extensively, but few studies have examined the long-term impact of parental deployment on children's mental health. Using a retrospective, multigenerational survey and propensity score analysis to adjust for selection effects and endogeneity bias, we investigated the impact of parental deployment on the mental health of the adult children of Australian veterans of the Vietnam War. We analysed data from 1966 adult men (35%) and women (65%) whose fathers (N = 1418) were selected at random from the population of surviving men who served in the Australian army during the Vietnam War (1962-75). Mean age of respondents was 37. The main outcome measures were self-reported diagnosis or treatment for anxiety and depression (i.e. lifetime and previous 12 months), suicidality based on Psychiatric Symptom Frequency Scale, and current mental health as measured by the Mental Health Inventory of the SF-36. The key independent variable was whether their fathers were deployed to the Vietnam War. Almost 40 years after the war, the adult children of deployed veterans were more likely to have been diagnosed with anxiety [odds ratio (OR) = 1.54, confidence interval (CI) = 1.04, 2.28] and depression (OR = 1.77, CI = 1.03, 3.05), to have had thoughts of suicide and self-harm (OR = 2.39, CI = 1.57, 3.65) and to have made suicidal plans (OR = 3.52, CI = 1.40, 8.85) than the offspring of comparable, non-deployed army veterans. They also reported poorer current mental health (Coefficient = -5.08, CI = -6.60 - -3.56). The results imply that there are significant and enduring adverse effects of parental deployment on the mental health of children in military families, and provide some insight into the potential long-term impacts of recent military engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Dichter, Melissa E; Sorrentino, Anneliese; Bellamy, Scarlett; Medvedeva, Elina; Roberts, Christopher B; Iverson, Katherine M
Experience of intimate partner violence (IPV) can lead to mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, and unhealthy substance use. Women seen in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) face high rates of both IPV and mental health morbidity. This study aimed to identify associations between recent IPV experience and mental health diagnoses among women VHA patients. We examined medical records data for 8,888 female veteran and nonveteran VHA patients across 13 VHA facilities who were screened for past-year IPV between April, 2014 and April, 2016. Compared with women who screened negative for past-year IPV (IPV-), those who screened positive (IPV+; 8.7%) were more than twice as likely to have a mental health diagnosis, adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 2.27, 95% confidence interval (CI) [1.95, 2.64]; or more than two mental health diagnoses, AOR = 2.29, 95% CI [1.93, 2.72]). Screening IPV+ was also associated with significantly higher odds of each type of mental health morbidity (AOR range = 1.85-3.19) except psychoses. Over half (53.5%) of the women who screened IPV+ had a mental health diagnosis, compared with fewer than one-third (32.6%) of those who screened IPV-. Each subtype of IPV (psychological, physical, and sexual violence) was significantly associated with having a mental health diagnosis (AOR range = 2.25-2.37) or comorbidity (AOR range = 2.17-2.78). Associations remained when adjusting for military sexual trauma and combat trauma among the veteran subsample. These findings highlight the mental health burden associated with past-year IPV among female VHA patients and underscore the need to address psychological and sexual IPV, in addition to physical violence. Published 2017. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.
Lehavot, Keren; Rillamas-Sun, Eileen; Weitlauf, Julie; Kimerling, Rachel; Wallace, Robert B.; Sadler, Anne G.; Woods, Nancy Fugate; Shipherd, Jillian C.; Mattocks, Kristin; Cirillo, Dominic J.; Stefanick, Marcia L.; Simpson, Tracy L.
Abstract Purpose of the Study: To examine differences in all-cause and cause-specific mortality by sexual orientation and Veteran status among older women. Design and Methods: Data were from the Women’s Health Initiative, with demographic characteristics, psychosocial factors, and health behaviors assessed at baseline (1993–1998) and mortality status from all available data sources through 2014. Women with baseline information on lifetime sexual behavior and Veteran status were included in the analyses ( N = 137,639; 1.4% sexual minority, 2.5% Veteran). The four comparison groups included sexual minority Veterans, sexual minority non-Veterans, heterosexual Veterans, and heterosexual non-Veterans. Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate mortality risk adjusted for demographic, psychosocial, and health variables. Results: Sexual minority women had greater all-cause mortality risk than heterosexual women regardless of Veteran status (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.20, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.07–1.36) and women Veterans had greater all-cause mortality risk than non-Veterans regardless of sexual orientation (HR = 1.14, 95% CI: 1.06–1.22), but the interaction between sexual orientation and Veteran status was not significant. Sexual minority women were also at greater risk than heterosexual women for cancer-specific mortality, with effects stronger among Veterans compared to non-Veterans (sexual minority × Veteran HR = 1.70, 95% CI: 1.01–2.85). Implications: Postmenopausal sexual minority women in the United States, regardless of Veteran status, may be at higher risk for earlier death compared to heterosexuals. Sexual minority women Veterans may have higher risk of cancer-specific mortality compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Examining social determinants of longevity may be an important step to understanding and reducing these disparities. PMID:26768389
The influence of posttraumatic stress disorder numbing and hyperarousal symptom clusters in the prediction of physical health status in veterans with chronic tobacco dependence and posttraumatic stress disorder.
Harder, Laura H; Chen, Shuo; Baker, Dewleen G; Chow, Bruce; McFall, Miles; Saxon, Andrew; Smith, Mark W
Smoking and PTSD are predictors of poor physical health status. This study examined the unique contribution of PTSD symptoms in the prediction of the SF-36 physical health status subscales accounting for cigarette smoking, chronic medical conditions, alcohol and drug use disorders, and depression. This study examined baseline interview and self-report data from a national tobacco cessation randomized, controlled trial (Veterans Affairs Cooperative Study 519) that enrolled tobacco-dependent veterans with chronic PTSD (N = 943). A series of blockwise multiple regression analyses indicated that PTSD numbing and hyperarousal symptom clusters explained a significant proportion of the variance across all physical health domains except for the Physical Functioning subscale, which measures impairments in specific physical activities. Our findings further explain the impact of PTSD on health status by exploring the way PTSD symptom clusters predict self-perceptions of health, role limitations, pain, and vitality.
Ana R Quiñones
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
Wiener, R Constance; Shen, Chan; Sambamoorthi, Usha; Findley, Patricia A
Rural residents are overrepresented in the military; however, access to Veteran services is limited in rural areas. There is a need to identify rural Veteran healthcare utilization. This study addresses that need and has two purposes: a) to determine if there is an association between rural dwelling and Veteran utilization of dental services; and b) to determine if there is an association between rural dwelling and the oral health outcome of missing teeth. Data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey were used in this study. Chi square and logistic regression analyses were conducted. Rural Veterans were less likely to have a dental visit during the previous year as compared with metropolitan Veterans in unadjusted analysis (Odds ratio = 0.71, 95% Confidence Interval, 0.64, 0.77) and in adjusted analysis [0.87 (95% Confidence Interval, 0.78, 0.96)]. In cases in which all teeth were missing, rural Veterans had an unadjusted odds ratio of 1.79 [95% Confidence Interval, 1.55, 2.08] and an adjusted odds ratio of 1.37 [95% Confidence Interval, 1.17, 1.62] as compared with metropolitan Veterans. The Veterans Health Administration develops policies for establishing centers for care for Veterans. The policy development should take into consideration that rural Veterans have not been as likely as urban Veterans to utilize dental services and have poorer oral health outcomes. © 2017 American Association of Public Health Dentistry.
Miller, Christopher J; McInnes, D Keith; Stolzmann, Kelly; Bauer, Mark S
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.
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...
Atkinson, David M; Rodman, John L; Thuras, Paul D; Shiroma, Paulo R; Lim, Kelvin O
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.
Guerrero, Erick G; Heslin, Kevin C; Chang, Evelyn; Fenwick, Karissa; Yano, Elizabeth
This study explored the role of organizational factors in the ability of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) clinics to implement colocated mental health care in primary care settings (PC-MH). The study used data from the VHA Clinical Practice Organizational Survey collected in 2007 from 225 clinic administrators across the United States. Clinic degree of implementation of PC-MH was the dependent variable, whereas independent variables included policies and procedures, organizational context, and leaders' perceptions of barriers to change. Pearson bivariate correlations and multivariable linear regression were used to test hypotheses. Results show that depression care training for primary care providers and clinics' flexibility and participation were both positively correlated with implementation of PC-MH. However, after accounting for other factors, regressions show that only training primary care providers in depression care was marginally associated with degree of implementation of PC-MH (p = 0.051). Given the importance of this topic for implementing integrated care as part of health care reform, these null findings underscore the need to improve theory and testing of more proximal measures of colocation in future work.
Gade, Daniel M; Wenger, Jeffrey B
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.
Schnurr, Paula P; Chard, Kathleen M; Ruzek, Josef I; Chow, Bruce K; Shih, Mei-Chiung; Resick, Patricia A; Foa, Edna B; Marx, Brian P; Huang, Grant D; Lu, Ying
CERV-PTSD is a randomized controlled trial of two of the most effective treatments for PTSD, Prolonged Exposure (PE) and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT). Despite solid evidence that both treatments are effective, there is limited evidence about their effectiveness relative to one another. The primary objective is to compare the effectiveness of PE and CPT for reducing PTSD symptom severity in a healthcare system that offers both treatments. The secondary objective is to compare the effectiveness of PE and CPT for reducing the severity of comorbid mental health problems and service utilization as well as improving functioning and quality of life. The tertiary objective is to examine whether discrepancy between patient preferences and treatment assignment reduces the effectiveness of each treatment. Exploratory analyses will examine whether demographic and clinical characteristics predict differential response to PE and CPT. The study is designed to randomize 900 male and female veterans with PTSD due to any traumatic military event to receive PE or CPT. The standard dose of treatment is 12 weekly sessions but veterans who improve more rapidly may finish in fewer sessions and veterans who improve more slowly may have additional sessions. The primary outcome is improvement in PTSD symptoms, measured during and after treatment and then 3 and 6 months later. As a large multi-site trial with men and women, CERV-PTSD is designed to advance the delivery of care for PTSD by providing conclusive information about whether one treatment is better than the other, overall, and for different types of patients. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Zheng, Wu Yi; Kanesarajah, Jeeva; Waller, Michael; McGuire, Annabel C; Treloar, Susan A; Dobson, Annette J
To examine whether the relationship between traumatic exposure on deployment and poor mental health varies by the reported level of childhood adversity experienced in Australian military veterans deployed to the Bougainville or East Timor military operations. Cross-sectional self-reported survey data were collected in 2008 from 3,564 Australian military veterans who deployed to East Timor or Bougainville on their deployment experiences, health and recall of childhood events. Multivariable logistic regression was used to investigate the association between childhood adversity, deployment exposures and mental health. The most common childhood adversity reported was 'not having a special teacher, youth worker or family friend who looked out for them while growing up'. On average, responders reported experiencing 3.5 adverse childhood experiences (SD 2.7) and averaged 5.3 (SD 4.9) traumatic exposures on deployment. Both childhood adversity and traumatic exposures on deployment were associated with higher odds of poorer mental health. However, there was no evidence that level of childhood adversity modified the association between traumatic exposure and mental health. These findings suggest that military personnel who recalled a higher level of childhood adversity may need to be monitored for poor mental health and, if required, provided with appropriate support. © 2015 Public Health Association of Australia.
Johnson, Erin E.; Aiello, Riccardo; Kane, Vincent; Pape, Lisa
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
Gray, Kristen E.; Katon, Jodie G.; Rillamas-Sun, Eileen; Bastian, Lori A.; Nelson, Karin M.; LaCroix, Andrea Z.; Reiber, Gayle E.
Abstract Purpose of the Study: To compare the number of chronic conditions among a list of 12 and their association with physical function among postmenopausal non-Veteran and Veteran women with diabetes. Design and Methods: Among women with diabetes from the Women’s Health Initiative, we compared the average number of chronic conditions between non-Veterans and Veterans and the association between total number of chronic conditions on subsequent RAND-36 physical function. To examine associations between each condition and subsequent physical function, we compared women with diabetes plus one chronic condition to women with diabetes alone using linear regression in separate models for each condition and for non-Veterans and Veterans. Results: Both non-Veterans ( N = 23,542) and Veterans ( N = 618) with diabetes had a median of 3 chronic conditions. Decreases in physical function for each additional condition were larger among Veterans than non-Veterans (−6.3 vs. −4.1 points). Decreases in physical function among women with diabetes plus one chronic condition were greater than that reported for diabetes alone for all combinations and were more pronounced among Veterans (non-Veterans: −11.1 to −24.2, Veterans: −16.6 to −40.4 points). Hip fracture, peripheral artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, and coronary disease in combination with diabetes were associated with the greatest decreases in physical function. Implications: Chronic conditions were common among postmenopausal women with diabetes and were associated with large declines in physical function, particularly among Veterans. Interventions to prevent and reduce the impact of these conditions and facilitate coordination of care among women with diabetes may help them maintain physical function. PMID:26768385
Moin, Tannaz; Ertl, Kristyn; Schneider, Jessica; Vasti, Elena; Makki, Fatima; Richardson, Caroline; Havens, Kathryn; Damschroder, Laura
Background Diabetes prevention is a national goal and particularly important in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) where 1 in 4 veterans has diabetes. There is growing evidence to support the use of Web-based diabetes prevention program (DPP) interventions, shown to be as effective and often more feasible than in-person interventions. Objective Our primary objective was to qualitatively explore women veterans? early experiences with a Web-based DPP intervention. Our secondary objective ...
... during performance. Any failure to meet the standards in Sec. 63.15 must be remedied to the satisfaction..., a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety..., Individuals with disabilities, Low and moderate income housing, Public assistance programs, Public housing...
Korom-Djakovic, Danijela; Canamucio, Anne; Lempa, Michele; Yano, Elizabeth M; Long, Judith A
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.
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.
Oliva, Elizabeth M; Trafton, Jodie A; Harris, Alex H S; Gordon, Adam J
Opioid agonist therapy (OAT) through addiction specialty clinic settings (clinic-based OAT) using methadone or buprenorphine or office-based settings using buprenorphine (office-based OAT) is an evidence-based treatment for opioid dependence. The low number of clinic-based OATs available to veterans (N = 53) presents a barrier to OAT access; thus, the expansion in office-based OAT has been encouraged. To examine trends in office-based OAT utilization over time and whether availability of office-based OAT improved the proportion of veterans with opioid use disorders treated with OAT. We examined Veterans Health Administration (VHA) administrative data for evidence of buprenorphine prescribing and clinic-based OAT clinic stops from October 2003 through September 2010 [fiscal years (FY) 2004-2010]. The number of patients receiving buprenorphine increased from 300 at 27 facilities in FY2004 to 6147 at 118 facilities in FY2010. During this time, the number of patients diagnosed with an opioid use disorder increased by 45%; however, the proportion of opioid use disorder patients receiving OAT remained relatively stable, ranging from 25% to 27%. Office-based OAT utilization and the number of opioid use disorder veterans treated with OAT are increasing at the same rate over time, suggesting that office-based OAT is being used to meet the growing need for OAT care. Although office-based OAT is increasingly being used within the VHA and may be one way the VHA is keeping up with the demand for OAT, more research is needed to understand how to engage a greater proportion of opioid use disorder patients in treatment.
Davies Elizabeth A
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.
Rafferty, L A; Cawkill, P E; Stevelink, S A M; Greenberg, K; Greenberg, N
Dementia is currently incurable, irreversible and a major cause of disability for the world's older population. The association between mental health difficulties, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder (MDD), and dementia has a long history within the civilian population. Despite the increased importance of this link within the military veteran population, who suffer a greater propensity of mental health difficulties and consist largely of over 65s, attention is only recently being paid to the salience of such an association for this group. This paper aims to explore the relationship between PTSD and MDD with dementia within the military veteran population. A systematic review was conducted on articles from 1990 to July 2016 on MEDLINE, EMBASE, EBSCO and Web of Science electronic databases with an update conducted in February 2017. Six empirical studies were identified from the review, the majority of which originated from the USA. Five of the studies asserted that veterans with a diagnosis of either PTSD or MDD are at a significantly greater risk of developing dementia than 'healthy' controls. The final study, conducted in Australia, found only a small, but non-significant, correlation between earlier MDD and future dementia, but no concurrent correlation. While causality cannot be determined, it is likely that PTSD and depressive disorders are related to an increased risk of dementia in military veterans. Potential pathological explanations and risk factors are reviewed and the clinical and neuroscience implications of these findings are explored.
Fried, Dennis A; Rajan, Mangala; Tseng, Chin-Lin; Helmer, Drew
During the Vietnam War, the US military sprayed almost 20 million gallons of Agent Orange (AO), an herbicide contaminated with dioxin, over Vietnam. Approximately, 2.7 million US military personnel may have been exposed to AO during their deployment. Ordinarily, veterans who can demonstrate a nexus between a diagnosed condition and military service are eligible for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) service-connected disability compensation. Vietnam Veterans have had difficulty, however, establishing a nexus between AO exposure and certain medical conditions that developed many years after the war. In response, VA has designated certain conditions as "presumed service connected" for Vietnam Veterans who were present and possibly exposed. Veterans with any of these designated conditions do not have to document AO exposure, making it easier for them to access the VA disability system. The extent to which VA healthcare utilization patterns reflect easier access afforded those with diagnosed presumptive conditions remains unknown. In this cross-sectional study, we hypothesized that Vietnam Veterans with diagnosed presumptive conditions would be heavier users of the VA healthcare system than those without these conditions. In our analysis of 85,699 Vietnam Veterans, we used binary and cumulative logit multivariable regression to assess associations between diagnosed presumptive conditions and VA healthcare utilization in 2013. We found that diagnosed presumptive conditions were associated with higher odds of 5+ VHA primary care visits (OR = 2.01, 95% CI: 1.93-2.07), 5+ specialty care visits (OR = 2.11, 95% CI: 2.04-2.18), emergency department use (OR = 1.22, 95% CI: 1.11-1.34), and hospitalization (OR = 1.23, 95% CI: 1.17-1.29). Consistent with legislative intent, presumptive policies appear to facilitate greater VA system utilization for Vietnam Veterans who may have been exposed to AO.
This Study VHA’s ability to attract, hire, and retain top talent is critical to its mission to provide quality and timely care for our nation’s...States’ military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and the growing needs of an aging veteran population. Attracting, hiring, and retaining top talent ...police, and housekeepers.7 These employees are covered by three types of personnel systems:8 • Title 5 of the U.S. Code (Title 5): The majority of
Schmitz, Susan; Radcliff, Tiffany A; Chu, Karen; Smith, Robert E; Dobalian, Aram
The US Veterans Health Administration's Disaster Emergency Medical Personnel System (DEMPS) is a team of employee disaster response volunteers who provide clinical and non-clinical staffing assistance when local systems are overwhelmed. This study evaluated attitudes and recommendations of the DEMPS program to understand the impact of multi-modal training on volunteer perceptions. DEMPS volunteers completed an electronic survey in 2012 (n=2120). Three training modes were evaluated: online, field exercise, and face-to-face. Measures included: "Training Satisfaction," "Attitudes about Training," "Continued Engagement in DEMPS." Data were analyzed using χ2 and logistic regression. Open-ended questions were evaluated in a manner consistent with grounded theory methodology. Most respondents participated in DEMPS training (80%). Volunteers with multi-modal training who completed all 3 modes (14%) were significantly more likely to have positive attitudes about training, plan to continue as volunteers, and would recommend DEMPS to others (P-valuevolunteer engagement. A blended learning environment using multi-modal training methods, could enhance satisfaction and attitudes and possibly encourage continued engagement in DEMPS or similar programs. DEMPS training program modifications in 2015 expanded this blended learning approach through new interactive online learning opportunities. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018; page 1 of 8).
Zerach, Gadi; Solomon, Zahava; Horesh, Danny; Ein-Dor, Tsachi
The bi-directional relationships between combat-induced posttraumatic symptoms and family relations are yet to be understood. The present study assesses the longitudinal interrelationship of posttraumatic intrusion and avoidance and family cohesion among 208 Israeli combat veterans from the 1982 Lebanon War. Two groups of veterans were assessed with self-report questionnaires 1, 3 and 20 years after the war: a combat stress reaction (CSR) group and a matched non-CSR control group. Latent Trajectories Modeling showed that veterans of the CSR group reported higher intrusion and avoidance than non-CSR veterans at all three points of time. With time, there was a decline in these symptoms in both groups, but the decline was more salient among the CSR group. The latter also reported lower levels of family cohesion. Furthermore, an incline in family cohesion levels was found in both groups over the years. Most importantly, Autoregressive Cross-Lagged Modeling among CSR and non-CSR veterans revealed that CSR veterans' posttraumatic symptoms in 1983 predicted lower family cohesion in 1985, and lower family cohesion, in turn, predicted posttraumatic symptoms in 2002. The findings suggest that psychological breakdown on the battlefield is a marker for future family cohesion difficulties. Our results lend further support for the bi-directional mutual effects of posttraumatic symptoms and family cohesion over time.
Clarke, Philip M; Gregory, Robert; Salomon, Joshua A
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
Boice, John D. [National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, Bethesda, MD (United States)
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
Lefebvre, Patrick; Muser, Erik; Joshi, Kruti; DerSarkissian, Maral; Bhak, Rachel H; Duh, Mei Sheng; Shiner, Brian; Young-Xu, Yinong
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.
after his return.432 Seventy- five Gulf War personnel were hospitalized for chicken pox during deployment.1431 Only a few cases of viral hepatitis were...and independent of circulating uranium levels. Of particular interest are findings from an ongoing study at the University of New Mexico indicating that...periods, can produce chronic neurological or behavioral effects. The New Mexico study is an important example of a particularly relevant approach
Maguen, Shira; Lau, Karen M; Madden, Erin; Seal, Karen
This study used factor analytic techniques to differentiate distinct from overlapping screen-based symptoms of traumatic brain injury (TBI), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression in Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. These symptoms were derived from screen results of 1,549 veterans undergoing Department of Veterans Affairs postdeployment screening between April 2007 and January 2010. Veterans with positive TBI screens were approximately twice as likely to also screen positive for depression and PTSD (adjusted relative risks = 1.9 and 2.1, respectively). Irritability was a shared symptom between TBI and PTSD, and emotional numbing was a shared symptom between PTSD and depression. Symptoms unique to TBI included dizziness, headaches, memory problems, and light sensitivity. Four separate constructs emerged: TBI, PTSD, depression, and a fourth construct consisting of hypervigilance and sleep problems. These findings illuminate areas of overlap between TBI and common postdeployment mental health problems. Discriminating symptoms of TBI from mental health problems may facilitate diagnosis, triage to specialty care, and targeted symptom management. The emergence of a fourth factor consisting of sleep problems and hypervigilance highlights the need to attend to specific symptoms in the postdeployment screening process.
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
Yano, Elizabeth M; Goldzweig, Caroline; Canelo, Ismelda; Washington, Donna L
In response to concerns about the availability and quality of women's health services in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers in the early 1990s, Congress approved landmark legislation earmarking funds to enhance women's health services. A portion of the appropriation was used to launch Comprehensive Women's Health Centers as exemplars for the development of VA women's health care throughout the system. We report on the diffusion and characteristics of VA women's health clinics (WHCs) 10 years later. In 2001, we surveyed the senior women's health clinician at each VA medical center serving > or =400 women veterans (83% response rate) regarding their internal organizational characteristics in relation to factors associated with organizational innovation (centralization, complexity, formalization, interconnectedness, organizational slack, size). We evaluated the comparability of WHCs (n = 66) with characteristics of the original comprehensive women's health centers (CWHCs; n = 8). Gender-specific service availability in WHCs was comparable to that of CWHCs with important exceptions in mental health, mammography and osteoporosis management. WHCs were less likely to have same-gender providers (p business case for managers faced with small female patient caseloads.
Department of Veterans Affairs — Strategic Analytics for Improvement and Learning Value Model or SAIL, is a system for summarizing hospital system performance within Veterans Health Administration...
Cox, Robyn M; Alexander, Genevieve C; Gray, Ginger A
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
Ross, Joseph S.; Arling, Greg; Ofner, Susan; Roumie, Christianne L.; Keyhani, Salomeh; Williams, Linda S.; Ordin, Diana L.; Bravata, Dawn M.
Background Quality of care delivered in the inpatient and ambulatory settings may be correlated within an integrated health system such as the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). We examined the correlation between stroke care quality at hospital discharge and within 6 months post-discharge. Methods Cross-sectional hospital-level correlation analyses of chart-abstracted data for 3467 veterans discharged alive after an acute ischemic stroke from 108 VHA medical centers and 2380 veterans with post-discharge follow-up within 6 months, in fiscal year 2007. Four risk-standardized processes of care represented discharge care quality: prescription of anti-thrombotic and anti-lipidemic therapy, anti-coagulation for atrial fibrillation, and tobacco cessation counseling, along with a composite measure of defect-free care. Five risk-standardized intermediate outcomes represented post-discharge care quality: achievement of blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), international normalized ratio (INR), and glycosylated hemoglobin target levels, and delivery of appropriate treatment for post-stroke depression, along with a composite measure of achieved outcomes. Results Median risk-standardized composite rate of defect-free care at discharge was 79%. Median risk-standardized post-discharge rates of achieving goal were 56% for blood pressure, 36% for LDL, 41% for INR, 40% for glycosylated hemoglobin, and 39% for depression management and the median risk-standardized composite six-month outcome rate was 44%. The hospital composite rate of defect-free care at discharge was correlated with meeting the LDL goal (r=0.31; p=0.007) and depression management (r=0.27; p=0.03) goal, but was not correlated with blood pressure, INR, or glycosylated hemoglobin goals, nor with the composite measure of achieved post-discharge outcomes (p-values >0.15). Conclusions Hospital discharge care quality was not consistently correlated with ambulatory care quality. PMID:21719771
Chang, Bei-Hung; Stein, Nathan R; Skarf, Lara M
Although combat experiences can have a profound impact on individuals' spirituality, there is a dearth of research in this area. Our recent study indicates that one unique spiritual need of veterans who are at the end of life is to resolve distress caused by combat-related events that conflict with their personal beliefs. This study sought to gain an understanding of chaplains' perspectives on this type of spiritual need, as well as the spiritual care that chaplains provide to help veterans ease this distress. We individually interviewed five chaplains who have provided spiritual care to veterans at the end of life in a Veterans Administration hospital. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed based on "grounded theory." Chaplains reported that they frequently encounter veterans at the end of life who are still suffering from thoughts or images of events that occurred during their military career. Although some veterans are hesitant to discuss their experiences, chaplains reported that they have had some success with helping the veterans to open up. Additionally, chaplains reported using both religious (e.g., confessing sins) and nonreligious approaches (e.g., recording military experience) to help veterans to heal. Our pilot study provides some insight into the spiritual distress that many military veterans may be experiencing, as well as methods that a chaplain can employ to help these veterans. Further studies are needed to confirm our findings and to examine the value of integrating the chaplain service into mental health care for veterans.
Gradus, Jaimie L; Leatherman, Sarah; Curreri, Andrew; Myers, Lisa G; Ferguson, Ryan; Miller, Matthew
Epidemiologic studies have reported substance abuse and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnoses as risk factors for suicide among Veterans Health Administration (VHA) patients. Research on risk factors for suicide may not generalize to our understanding of non-fatal intentional self-harm (ISH), given the evidence that these outcomes have unique risk factors. The aims of this study were to examine (1) gender-stratified rates of non-fatal ISH in VHA patients with alcohol abuse/dependence, drug abuse/dependence, and PTSD and (2) gender-stratified interaction between alcohol abuse and dependence and drug abuse and dependence and PTSD in predicting non-fatal ISH. Participants include all VHA care users who received a PTSD diagnosis in Massachusetts from 2000 to 2008 (n=16,004) and an age- and gender-matched comparison group (n=52,502). Data were obtained from the VHA administrative registries. We found evidence of stronger interactions between substance abuse diagnoses and PTSD in predicting non-fatal ISH for females than for males. The interaction contrast (IC) for alcohol abuse and dependence and PTSD in predicting non-fatal ISH among female VHA patients was 62.35/100,000 person-years; for male VHA patients the comparable IC was 21.49/100,000 person-years. For female VHA patients the IC for drug abuse and dependence and PTSD predicting ISH was 256.33/100,000 person-years; no interaction was observed for male VHA patients. This study contributes to the scant literature on gender differences in substance abuse and PTSD among VHA patients. The findings highlight comorbid diagnoses as particularly important risk factors for non-fatal ISH among female VHA patients. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Wright, Brad; OʼShea, Amy M J; Glasgow, Justin M; Ayyagari, Padmaja; Vaughan-Sarrazin, Mary
Recent studies have documented that a significant increase in the use of observation stays along with extensive variation in patterns of use across hospitals.The objective of this longitudinal observational study was to examine the extent to which patient, hospital, and local health system characteristics explain variation in observation stay rates across Veterans Health Administration (VHA) hospitals.Our data came from years 2005 to 2012 of the nationwide VHA Medical SAS inpatient and enrollment files, American Hospital Association Survey, and Area Health Resource File. We used these data to estimate linear regression models of hospitals' observation stay rates as a function of hospital, patient, and local health system characteristics, while controlling for time trends and Veterans Integrated Service Network level fixed effects.We found that observation stay rates are inversely related to hospital bed size and that hospitals with a greater proportion of younger or rural patients have higher observation stay rates. Observation stay rates were nearly 15 percentage points higher in 2012 than 2005.Although we identify several characteristics associated with variation in VHA hospital observation stay rates, many factors remain unmeasured.
Widome, Rachel; Kehle, Shannon M.; Carlson, Kathleen F.; Laska, Melissa Nelson; Gulden, Ashley; Lust, Katherine
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…
Katon, Jodie G; Lewis, Lacey; Hercinovic, Selma; McNab, Amanda; Fortney, John; Rose, Susan M
Purpose We describe results from a quality improvement project undertaken to address perinatal mental healthcare for women veterans. Description This quality improvement project was conducted in a single VA healthcare system between 2012 and 2015 and included screening for depressive symptoms with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) three times during the perinatal period, a dedicated maternity care coordinator (MCC), an on-site clinical social worker, and an on-site obstetrician/gynecologist (Ob/gyn). Information on prior mental health diagnosis was collected by the MCC or Ob/gyn. The prevalence of perinatal depressive symptoms and receipt of mental healthcare among those with such symptoms are reported by presence of a pre-pregnancy mental health diagnosis. Assessment Of the 199 women who used VA maternity benefits between 2012 and 2015, 56% (n = 111) had at least one pre-pregnancy mental health diagnosis. Compared to those without a pre-pregnancy mental health diagnosis, those with such a diagnosis were more likely to be screened for perinatal depressive symptoms at least once (61.5% vs. 46.8%, p = 0.04). Prevalence of depressive symptoms was 46.7% among those with a pre-pregnancy mental health diagnosis and 19.2% among those without. Among those with a pre-pregnancy mental health diagnosis and depressive symptoms (n = 35), 88% received outpatient mental healthcare and 77% met with the clinical social worker. Among those without a pre-pregnancy mental health diagnosis and depressive symptoms (n = 8), none received outpatient mental healthcare, but 77.8% met with the clinical social worker. Conclusion Improving perinatal mental healthcare for women veterans requires a multidisciplinary approach, including on-site integrated mental healthcare.
Ramsey, Christine; Dziura, James; Justice, Amy C; Altalib, Hamada Hamid; Bathulapalli, Harini; Burg, Matthew; Decker, Suzanne; Driscoll, Mary; Goulet, Joseph; Haskell, Sally; Kulas, Joseph; Wang, Karen H; Mattocks, Kristen; Brandt, Cynthia
To evaluate gender, age, and race/ethnicity as predictors of incident mental health diagnoses among Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and New Dawn veterans. We used US Veterans Health Administration (VHA) electronic health records from 2001 to 2014 to examine incidence rates and sociodemographic risk factors for mental health diagnoses among 888 142 veterans. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was the most frequently diagnosed mental health condition across gender and age groups. Incidence rates for all mental health diagnoses were highest at ages 18 to 29 years and declined thereafter, with the exceptions of major depressive disorder (MDD) in both genders, and PTSD among women. Risk of incident bipolar disorder and MDD diagnoses were greater among women; risk of incident schizophrenia, and alcohol- and drug-use disorders diagnoses were greater in men. Compared with Whites, risk incident PTSD, MDD, and alcohol-use disorder diagnoses were lower at ages 18 to 29 years and higher at ages 45 to 64 years for both Hispanics and African Americans. Differentiating high-risk demographic and gender groups can lead to improved diagnosis and treatment of mental health diagnoses among veterans and other high-risk groups.
National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES); and the National Health Interview Survey ( NHIS ). As of July 1, 2010, VA has submitted to...NHANES and NHIS staff specific questions that if answered positively, will identify Veteran study subjects beginning in 2011 in both these National...several discussions with investigators on the NHANES and NHIS . Staffs from both surveys are willing to include Veteran-specific questions and to plan
Landrum, Mary Beth; Keating, Nancy L; Lamont, Elizabeth B; Bozeman, Samuel R; McNeil, Barbara J
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.
Müller, Jan; Ganeshamoorthy, Sarmila; Myers, Jonathan
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 history of chest pain (HR: 1.48, CI: 1.25-1.75, p PTSD in a univariate model. 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 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.
Heget, Jeffrey R; Bagian, James P; Lee, Caryl Z; Gosbee, John W
In 1998 the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) created the National Center for Patient Safety (NCPS) to lead the effort to reduce adverse events and close calls systemwide. NCPS's aim is to foster a culture of safety in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by developing and providing patient safety programs and delivering standardized tools, methods, and initiatives to the 163 VA facilities. To create a system-oriented approach to patient safety, NCPS looked for models in fields such as aviation, nuclear power, human factors, and safety engineering. Core concepts included a non-punitive approach to patient safety activities that emphasizes systems-based learning, the active seeking out of close calls, which are viewed as opportunities for learning and investigation, and the use of interdisciplinary teams to investigate close calls and adverse events through a root cause analysis (RCA) process. Participation by VA facilities and networks was voluntary. NCPS has always aimed to develop a program that would be applicable both within the VA and beyond. NCPS's full patient safety program was tested and implemented throughout the VA system from November 1999 to August 2000. Program components included an RCA system for use by caregivers at the front line, a system for the aggregate review of RCA results, information systems software, alerts and advisories, and cognitive acids. Following program implementation, NCPS saw a 900-fold increase in reporting of close calls of high-priority events, reflecting the level of commitment to the program by VHA leaders and staff.
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
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
Tsai, Jack; Rosenheck, Robert A
Concerns that disability benefits may create disincentives for employment may be especially relevant for young American military veterans, particularly veterans of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who are facing a current economic recession and turning in large numbers to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for disability compensation. This study describes the rate of employment and VA disability compensation among a nationally representative sample of veterans under the age of 65 and examines the association between levels of VA disability compensation and employment, adjusting for sociodemographics and health status. Data on a total of 4,787 veterans from the 2010 National Survey of Veterans were analyzed using multinomial logistic regressions to compare employed veterans with two groups that were not employed. Two-thirds of veterans under the age of 65 were employed, although only 36 % of veterans with a VA service-connected disability rating of 50 % or higher were employed. Veterans who received no VA disability compensation or who were service-connected 50 % or more were more likely to be unemployed and not looking for employment than veterans who were not service-connected or were service-connected less than 50 %, suggesting high but not all levels of VA disability compensation create disincentives for employment. Results were similar when analyses were limited to veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Education and vocational rehabilitation interventions, as well as economic work incentives, may be needed to maximize employment among veterans with disabilities.
Brewer, Noel T; Hallman, William K; Kipen, Howard M
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.
Derose, Kathryn Pitkin; Haas, Ann; Werber, Laura
Religious congregations may be well equipped to address veterans' reintegration needs, but little is known about the prevalence and nature of such support. We conducted a mixed methods study using nationally representative congregational survey data and in-depth interviews with congregational leaders. Overall, 28% of congregations nationally reported having programming to support veterans and positive, independent predictors included: community context (county veteran presence, high-poverty census tract, rural compared to urban location); congregational resources (more adult attendees, having a paid employee that spent time on service programs); and external engagement (assessing community needs, collaboration, and social service participation). Qualitative interviews revealed a range of activities, including attending to spiritual issues, supporting mental, physical and social well-being, and addressing vocational, legal, financial, and material needs.
Singh, Jasvinder A.
Introduction Epidemiologic studies usually use database diagnoses or patient self-report to identify disease cohorts, but no previous research has examined the extent to which self-report of chronic disease agrees with database diagnoses in a Veterans Affairs (VA) health care setting. Methods All veterans who had a medical care visit from October 1, 1996, through May 31, 1998, at any of the Veterans Integrated Service Network 13 facilities were surveyed about physician diagnosis of chronic ob...
Democratic Society White House Leadership Development Program (WHLD) Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)–Senior Executive Fellows Program George......Nurse Leaders: An Exploration of Current Nurse Leadership Development in the Veterans Health Administration 5a. CONTRACT NUMBER 5b. GRANT NUMBER
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Wolff, Kristina B; Mills, Peter D
Since 2004, there has been increased effort to reduce military sexual trauma (MST) in the U.S. military. Although MST covers a range of inappropriate behaviors, the majority of research, treatment, and outreach are focused on sexual assault and the experiences of individuals serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. During a study on veterans' involvement in a national peace organization, participants were asked about their military experiences. Veterans served from World War II to current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Emerging out of the responses were descriptions of women's experiences with MST, barriers to reporting incidents of sexual misconduct and sexual assault, and the challenges they faced when seeking care. Data were gathered using anonymous questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. Out of 52 female veterans, the majority (90%) was subjected to at least one form of MST, and 15% (8) attempted to report the incident(s). Over half of the assailants were of a higher rank than the survivors. The majority of veterans remained silent due to lack of options to report, the status of perpetrators, and fear of retaliation. These data provide a glimpse into the challenges many women veterans faced when seeking assistance reporting incidents or obtaining health care for their MST. Reprint & Copyright © 2016 Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S.
Bastian, Lori A; Trentalange, Mark; Murphy, Terrence E; Brandt, Cynthia; Bean-Mayberry, Bevanne; Maisel, Natalya C; Wright, Steven M; Gaetano, Vera S; Allore, Heather; Skanderson, Melissa; Reyes-Harvey, Evelyn; Yano, Elizabeth M; Rose, Danielle; Haskell, Sally
Women veterans comprise a small percentage of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care users. Prior research on women veterans' experiences with primary care has focused on VA site differences and not individual provider characteristics. In 2010, the VA established policy requiring the provision of comprehensive women's health care by designated women's health providers (DWHPs). Little is known about the quality of health care delivered by DWHPs and women veterans' experience with care from these providers. Secondary data were obtained from the VA Survey of Healthcare Experience of Patients (SHEP) using the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) patient-centered medical home (PCMH) survey from March 2012 through February 2013, a survey designed to measure patient experience with care and the DWHPs Assessment of Workforce Capacity that discerns between DWHPs versus non-DWHPs. Of the 28,994 surveys mailed to women veterans, 24,789 were seen by primary care providers and 8,151 women responded to the survey (response rate, 32%). A total of 3,147 providers were evaluated by the SHEP-CAHPS-PCMH survey (40%; n = 1,267 were DWHPs). In a multivariable model, patients seen by DWHPs (relative risk, 1.02; 95% CI, 1.01-1.04) reported higher overall experiences with care compared with patients seen by non-DWHPs. The main finding is that women veterans' overall experiences with outpatient health care are slightly better for those receiving care from DWHPs compared with those receiving care from non-DWHPs. Our findings have important policy implications for how to continue to improve women veterans' experiences. Our work provides support to increase access to DWHPs at VA primary care clinics. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Hausmann, Leslie R M; Brandt, Cynthia A; Carroll, Constance M; Fenton, Brenda T; Ibrahim, Said A; Becker, William C; Burgess, Diana J; Wandner, Laura D; Bair, Matthew J; Goulet, Joseph L
To examine black-white and Hispanic-white differences in total knee arthroplasty from 2001 to 2013 in a large cohort of patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis (OA) in the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system. Data were from the VA Musculoskeletal Disorders cohort, which includes data from electronic health records of more than 5.4 million veterans with musculoskeletal disorders diagnoses. We included white (non-Hispanic), black (non-Hispanic), and Hispanic (any race) veterans, age ≥50 years, with an OA diagnosis from 2001-2011 (n = 539,841). Veterans were followed from their first OA diagnosis until September 30, 2013. As a proxy for increased clinical severity, analyses were also conducted for a subsample restricted to those who saw an orthopedic or rheumatology specialist (n = 148,844). We used Cox proportional hazards regression to examine racial and ethnic differences in total knee arthroplasty by year of OA diagnosis, adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, physical and mental diagnoses, and pain intensity scores. We identified 12,087 total knee arthroplasty procedures in a sample of 473,170 white, 50,172 black, and 16,499 Hispanic veterans. In adjusted models examining black-white and Hispanic-white differences by year of OA diagnosis, total knee arthroplasty rates were lower for black than for white veterans diagnosed in all but 2 years. There were no Hispanic-white differences regardless of when diagnosis occurred. These patterns held in the specialty clinic subsample. Black-white differences in total knee arthroplasty appear to be persistent in the VA, even after controlling for potential clinical confounders. © 2016, American College of Rheumatology.
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.
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...
Patel, Thakor G; Pogach, Leonard M; Barth, Robert H
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.
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…
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.
Klein, Dawn M; Pham, Kassi; Samy, Leila; Bluth, Adam; Nazi, Kim M; Witry, Matthew; Klutts, J Stacey; Grant, Kathleen M; Gundlapalli, Adi V; Kochersberger, Gary; Pfeiffer, Laurie; Romero, Sergio; Vetter, Brian; Turvey, Carolyn L
Information continuity is critical to person-centered care when patients receive care from multiple healthcare systems. Patients can access their electronic health record data through patient portals to facilitate information exchange. This pilot was developed to improve care continuity for rural Veterans by (1) promoting the use of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) patient portal to share health information with non-VA providers, and (2) evaluating the impact of health information sharing at a community appointment. Veterans from nine VA healthcare systems were trained to access and share their VA Continuity of Care Document (CCD) with their non-VA providers. Patients and non-VA providers completed surveys on their experiences. Participants (n = 620) were primarily older, white, and Vietnam era Veterans. After training, 78% reported the CCD would help them be more involved in their healthcare and 86% planned to share it regularly with non-VA providers. Veterans (n = 256) then attended 277 community appointments. Provider responses from these appointments (n = 133) indicated they were confident in the accuracy of the information (97%) and wanted to continue to receive the CCD (96%). Ninety percent of providers reported the CCD improved their ability to have an accurate medication list and helped them make medication treatment decisions. Fifty percent reported they did not order a laboratory test or another procedure because of information available in the CCD. This pilot demonstrates feasibility and value of patient access to a CCD to facilitate information sharing between VA and non-VA providers. Outreach and targeted education are needed to promote consumer-mediated health information exchange.
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
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.
Tsai, Jack; Rosenheck, Robert A.
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
Schwartz, Miriam E; Welsh, Deborah E; Paull, Douglas E; Knowles, Regina S; DeLeeuw, Lori D; Hemphill, Robin R; Essen, Keith E; Sculli, Gary L
Communication failure is a significant source of adverse events in health care and a leading root cause of sentinel events reported to the Joint Commission. The Veterans Health Administration National Center for Patient Safety established Clinical Team Training (CTT) as a comprehensive program to enhance patient safety and to improve communication and teamwork among health care professionals. CTT is based on techniques used in aviation's Crew Resource Management (CRM) training. The aviation industry has reached a significant safety record in large part related to the culture change generated by CRM and sustained by its recurrent implementation. This article focuses on the improvement of communication, teamwork, and patient safety by utilizing a standardized, CRM-based, interprofessional, immersive training in diverse clinical areas. The Teamwork and Safety Climate Questionnaire was used to evaluate safety climate before and after CTT. The scores for all of the 27 questions on the questionnaire showed an increase from baseline to 12 months, and 11 of those increases were statistically significant. A recurrent training is recommended to maintain the positive outcomes. CTT enhances patient safety and reduces risk of patient harm by improving teamwork and facilitating clear, concise, specific and timely communication among health care professionals. © 2017 American Society for Healthcare Risk Management of the American Hospital Association.
Boudreaux, Michel; Barath, Deanna; Blewett, Lynn A
Prior to the Affordable Care Act, as many as 1.3 million veterans lacked health insurance. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, veterans now have new pathways to coverage through Medicaid expansion in those states that chose to expand Medicaid and through private coverage options offered through the Health Insurance Marketplace. We examined the impact of the ACA on health insurance coverage for veterans in expansion and non-expansion states and for urban and rural veterans. We examined changes in veterans' health insurance coverage following the first year of the ACA, focusing on whether they lived in an urban or rural area and whether they live in a Medicaid expansion state. We used data on approximately 200,000 non-elderly community-dwelling veterans, obtained from the 2013-2014 American Community Survey and estimated differences in the adjusted probability of being uninsured between 2013 and 2014 for both urban and rural areas. Adjusted probabilities were computed by fitting logistic regressions controlling for age, gender, race, marital status, poverty status, education, and employment. There were an estimated 10.1 million U.S. non-elderly veterans in 2013; 82% lived in predominantly urban areas (8.3 million), and the remaining 18% (1.8 million) lived in predominately rural areas. Most veterans lived in the South (43.6%), and rural veterans were more likely to be Southerners than their urban counterparts. On every marker of economic well-being, rural veterans fared worse than urban veterans. They had a statistically significant higher chance of having incomes below 138% of FPG (20.0% versus 17.0%), of being out of the labor force (29.1% versus 23.0%), and of having no more than a high school education (39.6% versus 28.8%). Rural veterans were also more likely to experience at least one functional limitation. Overall, veterans in Medicaid expansion states experienced a significantly larger increase in insurance compared to veterans living in non
Mattocks, Kristin M; Sullivan, J Cherry; Bertrand, Christina; Kinney, Rebecca L; Sherman, Michelle D; Gustason, Carolyn
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.
Manheim, Chelsea E; Haverhals, Leah M; Jones, Jacqueline; Levy, Cari R
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.
Full Text Available 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.
Nambudiri, Vinod E; Landrum, Mary Beth; Lamont, Elizabeth B; McNeil, Barbara J; Bozeman, Samuel R; Freedland, Stephen J; Keating, Nancy L
To examine the variation in prostate cancer treatment in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA)--a national, integrated delivery system. We also compared the care for older men in the VHA with that in fee-for-service Medicare. We used data from the Veterans Affairs Central Cancer Registry linked with administrative data and Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare data to identify men with local or regional prostate cancer diagnosed during 2001 to 2004. We used multinomial logistic and hierarchical regression models to examine the patient, tumor, and facility characteristics associated with treatment in the VHA and, among older patients, used propensity score methods to compare primary therapy between the VHA and fee-for-service Medicare. The rates of radical prostatectomy and radiotherapy varied substantially across VHA facilities. Among the VHA patients, older age, black race/ethnicity, and greater comorbidity were associated with receiving neither radical prostatectomy nor radiotherapy. Facilities with more black patients with prostate cancer had lower rates of radical prostatectomy, and those with less availability of external beam radiotherapy had lower radiotherapy rates. The adjusted rates of radiotherapy (39.7% vs 52.0%) and radical prostatectomy (12.1% vs 15.8%) were lower and the rates of receiving neither treatment greater (48.2% vs 32.2%) in the VHA versus fee-for-service Medicare (P < .001). In the VHA, the treatment rates varied substantially across facilities, and black men received less aggressive prostate cancer treatment than white men, suggesting factors other than patient preferences influence the treatment decisions. Also, primary prostate cancer therapy for older men is less aggressive in the VHA than in fee-for-service Medicare. Copyright Â© 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Over the past two decades, 12 large epidemiologic studies and 2 registries have focused on U.S. veterans of the 1990–1991 Gulf War Era. We conducted a review of these studies’ research tools to identify existing gaps and overlaps of efforts to date, and to advance development of the next generation of Gulf War Era survey tools. Overall, we found that many of the studies used similar instruments. Questions regarding exposures were more similar across studies than other domains, while neurocognitive and psychological tools were the most variable. Many studies focused on self-reported survey results, with a range of validation practices. However, physical exams, biomedical assessments, and specimen storage were not common. This review suggests that while research may be able to pool data from past surveys, future surveys need to consider how their design can yield data comparable with previous surveys. Additionally, data that incorporate recent technologies in specimen and genetic analyses would greatly enhance such survey data. When combined with existing data on deployment-related exposures and post-deployment health conditions, longitudinal follow-up of existing studies within this collaborative framework could represent an important step toward improving the health of veterans. PMID:23302181
Vinnard, Christopher; Gopal, Anand; Linkin, Darren R; Maslow, Joel
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.
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.
Chavez, Laura J; Williams, Emily C; Lapham, Gwen T; Rubinsky, Anna D; Kivlahan, Daniel R; Bradley, Katharine A
Brief alcohol interventions are recommended for primary care patients who screen positive for alcohol misuse, but implementation is challenging. The U.S. Veterans Health Administration (Veterans Affairs [VA]) implemented brief interventions for patients with alcohol misuse in 2008, and rates of brief interventions documented in the electronic medical record increased from 24% to 78% (2008-2011). This study examined whether an independent measure of brief interventions-patient-reported alcohol-related advice-also increased among VA outpatients who screened positive for alcohol misuse on a mailed survey. This retrospective cross-sectional study included VA outpatient respondents to the VA's Survey of Healthcare Experiences of Patients (SHEP; 2007-2011) who reported past-year alcohol use and answered a question about alcohol-related advice. Alcohol-related advice was defined as a report of past-year advice from a VA clinician to abstain from or reduce drinking. The adjusted prevalence of alcoholrelated advice among patients who screened positive for alcohol misuse (SHEP AUDIT-C ≥ 5) was estimated for each year. Among patients with alcohol misuse (n = 61,843), the adjusted prevalence of alcohol-related advice increased from 40.4% (95% CI [39.3%, 41.5%]) in 2007 to 55.5% (95% CI [53.3%, 57.8%]) in 2011. Rates of alcoholrelated advice increased significantly each year except the last. The VA's efforts to implement brief interventions were associated with increased patient-reported alcohol-related advice over time, with a majority of patients with alcohol misuse reporting its receipt. Other systems considering similar approaches to implementation may benefit from collecting patient-reported measures of brief interventions for an additional perspective on implementation.
McDermott, Timothy J; Badura-Brack, Amy S; Becker, Katherine M; Ryan, Tara J; Khanna, Maya M; Heinrichs-Graham, Elizabeth; Wilson, Tony W
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.
Brenner, Lisa A.; Betthauser, Lisa M.; Homaifar, Beeta Y.; Villarreal, Edgar; Harwood, Jeri E. F.; Staves, Pamela J.; Huggins, Joseph A.
History of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been found to increase risk of suicidal behavior. The association between suicide attempt history among veterans with PTSD and/or TBI was explored. Cases (N = 81) and 2:1 matched controls (N = 160) were randomly selected from a Veterans Affairs Medical Center…
Ilgen, Mark A.; McCarthy, John F.; Ignacio, Rosalinda V.; Bohnert, Amy S. B.; Valenstein, Marcia; Blow, Frederic C.; Katz, Ira R.
Objective: Despite concerns regarding elevated psychiatric morbidity and suicide among veterans returning from Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF), little is known about the impact of psychiatric conditions on the risk of suicide in these veterans. To inform tailored suicide prevention efforts, it is important to assess…
Avery, Timothy; Blasey, Christine; Rosen, Craig; Bayley, Peter
Trauma-focused psychotherapies do not meet the needs of all veterans. Yoga shows some potential in reducing stress and perhaps even PTSD in veterans, although little is understood about the mechanisms of action. This study identifies preliminary correlates of change in PTSD and perceived stress for veterans participating in yoga. Nine veterans (seven males and two females) were recruited from an existing clinical yoga program and observed over 16 wk. Severity of PTSD symptoms (PCL-5) and perceived stress (PSS-10) were collected at baseline and weeks 4, 6, 8, and 16. Psychological flexibility (AAQ-II) and set-shifting (ratio of trail making test A to B) were collected at baseline and at week 6. Subjects attended yoga sessions freely, ranging from 1 to 23 classes over the 16 weeks. The Stanford University Institutional Review Board approved this research protocol. Self-reported PTSD symptoms significantly reduced while perceived stress did not. Lower baseline set-shifting predicted greater improvements in PTSD between baseline and 4 weeks; early improvements in set-shifting predicted overall reduction in PTSD. Greater psychological flexibility was associated with lower PTSD and perceived stress; more yoga practice, before and during the study, was associated with greater psychological flexibility. Other predictors were not supported. In a small uncontrolled sample, psychological flexibility and set-shifting predicted changes in PTSD symptoms in veterans participating in a clinical yoga program, which supports findings from prior research. Future research should include an active comparison group and record frequency of yoga practiced outside formal sessions.
Dunn, Edward J; Mills, Peter D; Neily, Julia; Crittenden, Michael D; Carmack, Amy L; Bagian, James P
Communication failure, a leading source of adverse events in health care, was involved in approximately 75% of more than 7,000 root cause analysis reports to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Center for Patient Safety (NCPS). The VA NCPS Medical Team Training (MTT) program, which is based on aviation principles of crew resource management (CRM), is intended to improve outcomes of patient care by enhancing communication between health care professionals. Unique features of MTT include a full-day interactive learning session (facilitated entirely by clinical peers in a health care context), administration of pre-and postintervention safety attitudes questionnaires, and follow-up semistructured interviews with reports of program activities and lessons learned. Examples of projects in these facilities include intensive care unit (ICU) teams' patient-centered multidisciplinary rounds, surgical teams' preoperative briefings and debriefings, an entire operating room (OR) unit's adoption of "Rules of Conduct" for expected staff behavior, and an ICU team's use of the model for daily administrative briefings. An MTT program based on applied CRM principles was successfully developed and implemented in 43 VA medical centers from September 2003 to May 2007.
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Bell, Margret E; Reardon, Annemarie
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.
Gupte, Gouri; Vimalananda, Varsha; Simon, Steven R; DeVito, Katerina; Clark, Justice; Orlander, Jay D
Electronic consultations (e-consults) offer rapid access to specialist input without the need for a patient visit. E-consult implementation began in 2011 at VA Boston Healthcare System (VABHS). By early 2013, e-consults were available for all clinical services. In this implementation, the requesting clinician selects the desired consultation within the electronic health record (EHR) ordering menu, which creates an electronic form that is pre-populated with patient demographic information and allows free-text entry of the reason for consult. This triggers a message to the requesting clinician and requested specialty, thereby enabling bidirectional clinician-clinician communication. The aim of this study is to examine the utilization of e-consults in a large Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system. Data from the electronic health record was used to measure frequency of e-consult use by provider type (physician or nurse practitioner (NP) and/or physician assistant), and by the requesting and responding specialty from January 2012 to December 2013. We conducted chart reviews for a purposive sample of e-consults and semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of clinicians and hospital leaders to better characterize the process, challenges, and usability of e-consults. A total of 7097 e-consults were identified, 1998 from 2012 and 5099 from 2013. More than one quarter (27.56%, 1956/7097) of the e-consult requests originated from VA facilities in New England other than VABHS and were excluded from subsequent analysis. Within the VABHS e-consults (72.44%, 5141/7097), variability in frequency and use of e-consults across provider types and specialties was found. A total of 64 NPs requested 2407 e-consults (median 12.5, range 1-415). In contrast, 448 physicians (including residents and fellows) requested 2349 e-consults (median 2, range 1-116). More than one third (37.35%, 1920/5141) of e-consults were sent from primary care to specialists. While most e
Full Text Available The purpose of this pilot study is 1 to develop an annotation schema and a training set of annotated notes to support the future development of a natural language processing (NLP system to automatically extract employment information, and 2 to determine if information about employment status, goals and work-related challenges reported by service members and Veterans with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI and post-deployment stress can be identified in the Electronic Health Record (EHR.Retrospective cohort study using data from selected progress notes stored in the EHR.Post-deployment Rehabilitation and Evaluation Program (PREP, an in-patient rehabilitation program for Veterans with TBI at the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital in Tampa, Florida.Service members and Veterans with TBI who participated in the PREP program (N = 60.Documentation of employment status, goals, and work-related challenges reported by service members and recorded in the EHR.Two hundred notes were examined and unique vocational information was found indicating a variety of self-reported employment challenges. Current employment status and future vocational goals along with information about cognitive, physical, and behavioral symptoms that may affect return-to-work were extracted from the EHR. The annotation schema developed for this study provides an excellent tool upon which NLP studies can be developed.Information related to employment status and vocational history is stored in text notes in the EHR system. Information stored in text does not lend itself to easy extraction or summarization for research and rehabilitation planning purposes. Development of NLP systems to automatically extract text-based employment information provides data that may improve the understanding and measurement of employment in this important cohort.
Shay, Kenneth; Hyduke, Barbara; Burris, James F
The leaders of Geriatrics and Extended Care (GEC) in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) undertook a strategic planning process that led to approval in 2009 of a multidisciplinary, evidence-guided strategic plan. This article reviews the four goals contained in that plan and describes VHA's progress in addressing them. The goals included transforming the healthcare system to a veteran-centric approach, achieving universal access to a panel of services, ensuring that the Veterans Affair's (VA) healthcare workforce was adequately prepared to manage the needs of the growing elderly veteran population, and integrating continuous improvement into all care enhancements. There has been substantial progress in addressing all four goals. All VHA health care has undergone an extensive transformation to patient-centered care, has enriched the services it can offer caregivers of dependent veterans, and has instituted models to better integrate VA and non-VA cares and services. A range of successful models of geriatric care described in the professional literature has been adapted to VA environments to gauge suitability for broader implementation. An executive-level task force developed a three-pronged approach for enhancing the VA's geriatric workforce. The VHA's performance measurement approaches increasingly include incentives to enhance the quality of management of vulnerable elderly adults in primary care. The GEC strategic plan was intended to serve as a road map for keeping VHA aligned with an ambitious but important long-term vision for GEC services. Although no discrete set of resources was appropriated for fulfillment of the plan's recommendations, this initial report reflects substantial progress in addressing most of its goals. © 2013, Copyright the Authors Journal compilation © 2013, The American Geriatrics Society.
Qureshi, Salah U; Amspoker, Amber B; Calleo, Jessica S; Kunik, Mark E; Marsh, Laura
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%, Pdepression also had increased prevalence of all physical illnesses examined and more outpatient clinic and mental health visits. Patients with Parkinson disease 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.
Rogers, Carly M; Mallinson, Trudy; Peppers, Dominique
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.
Ford, James H.; Krahn, Dean; Wise, Meg; Oliver, Karen Anderson
Objective To examine how attributes affecting sustainability differ across VHA organizational components and by staff characteristics. Subjects Surveys of 870 change team members and 50 staff interviews within the VA’s Mental Health System Redesign initiative. Methods A one-way ANOVA with a Tukey post-hoc test examined differences in sustainability by VISN, 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. Results Sustainability differed across VISN and staff tenure. Job classification differences existed for: 1) Benefits and Credibility of the change and 2) staff involvement and attitudes toward change. Sustainability barriers were: staff and institutional resistance, and non-supportive leadership. Facilitators were: commitment to veterans, strong leadership, and use of QI Tools. Sustainability predictors were outcomes tracking, regular reporting, and use of PDSA cycles. Conclusions Creating homogeneous implementation and sustainability processes across a national health system is difficult. Despite the VA’s 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 QI collaborative affects sustainability. PMID:21971024
Walker, Patricia Hinton; Pock, Arnyce; Ling, Catherine G; Kwon, Kyung Nancy; Vaughan, Megan
Battlefield acupuncture is a unique auricular acupuncture procedure which is being used in a number of military medical facilities throughout the Department of Defense (DoD). It has been used with anecdotal published positive impact with warriors experiencing polytrauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, and traumatic brain injury. It has also been effectively used to treat warriors with muscle and back pain from carrying heavy combat equipment in austere environments. This article highlights the history within the DoD related to the need for nonpharmacologic/opioid pain management across the continuum of care from combat situations, during evacuation, and throughout recovery and rehabilitation. The article describes the history of auricular acupuncture and details implementation procedures. Training is necessary and partially funded through DoD and Veteran's Administration (VA) internal Joint Incentive Funds grants between the DoD and the VA for multidisciplinary teams as part of a larger initiative related to the recommendations from the DoD Army Surgeon General's Pain Management Task Force. Finally, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences School of Medicine and Graduate School of Nursing faculty members present how this interdisciplinary training is currently being integrated into both schools for physicians and advanced practice nurses at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Current and future research challenges and progress related to the use of acupuncture are also presented. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Maguire, E M; Bokhour, B G; Asch, S M; Wagner, T H; Gifford, A L; Gallagher, T H; Durfee, J M; Martinello, R A; Elwy, A R
We examined print, broadcast and social media reports about health care systems' disclosures of large scale adverse events to develop future effective messaging. Directed content analysis. We systematically searched four communication databases, YouTube and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds relating to six disclosures of lapses in infection control practices in the Department of Veterans Affairs occurring between 2009 and 2012. We assessed these with a coding frame derived from effective crisis and risk communication models. We identified 148 unique media reports. Some components of effective communication (discussion of cause, reassurance, self-efficacy) were more present than others (apology, lessons learned). Media about 'promoting secrecy' and 'slow response' appeared in reports when time from event discovery to patient notification was over 75 days. Elected officials' quotes (n = 115) were often negative (83%). Hospital officials' comments (n = 165) were predominantly neutral (92%), and focused on information sharing. Health care systems should work to ensure that they develop clear messages focused on what is not well covered by the media, including authentic apologies, remedial actions taken, and shorten the timeframe between event identification and disclosure to patients. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Sayer, Nina A; Friedemann-Sanchez, Greta; Spoont, Michele; Murdoch, Maureen; Parker, Louise E; Chiros, Christine; Rosenheck, Robert
Although there are effective treatments for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), many PTSD sufferers wait years to decades before seeking professional help, if they seek it at all. An understanding of factors affecting treatment initiation for PTSD can inform strategies to promote help-seeking. We conducted a qualitative study to identify determinants of PTSD treatment initiation among 44 U.S. military veterans from the Vietnam and Afghanistan/Iraq wars; half were and half were not receiving treatment. Participants described barriers to and facilitators of treatment initiation within themselves, the post-trauma socio-cultural environment, the health care and disability systems, and their social networks. Lack of knowledge about PTSD was a barrier that occurred at both the societal and individual levels. Another important barrier theme was the enduring effect of experiencing an invalidating socio-cultural environment following trauma exposure. In some cases, system and social network facilitation led to treatment initiation despite individual-level barriers, such as beliefs and values that conflicted with help-seeking. Our findings expand the dominant model of service utilization by explicit incorporation of factors outside the individual into a conceptual framework of PTSD treatment initiation. Finally, we offer suggestions regarding the direction of future research and the development of interventions to promote timely help-seeking for PTSD.
Schonberger, Robert B; Dai, Feng; Brandt, Cynthia; Burg, Matthew M
Among a national cohort of surgical patients, the authors analyzed the association between medical follow-up during the first postsurgical year and survival during the second postsurgical year. Retrospective cohort study. US Veterans Hospitals. The study included adults who received surgical care in any Veterans Health Administration facility from 2006 to 2011 who were discharged within 10 days of surgery and who survived for at least 1 year postoperatively. None. The association between the receipt of nonsurgical ambulatory medical care during the first postoperative year and the hazard of death during postsurgical year 2 was measured. Among 236,200 veterans, 93.2% received a nonsurgical medical follow-up visit in postsurgical year 1; of those, 5.1% died during postsurgical year 2. This compares with 9.4% year-2 mortality among patients lacking year-1 medical follow-up (p<0.0001). After adjustment for confounders, medical follow-up in postoperative year 1 again was associated with a significantly lower hazard of death in postoperative year 2 (hazard ratio 0.71; 95% confidence interval 0.66-0.78). Sensitivity analyses examining patient subgroups stratified by procedural specialty demonstrated comparable findings. The results were robust under a variety of simulated scenarios of unmeasured confounding. Within a national cohort of US veterans who presented for surgery, those who received nonsurgical ambulatory follow-up during the first postoperative year demonstrated lower all-cause mortality in the subsequent postoperative year than those who did not receive the same type of follow-up care. Interventions focused on postoperative care coordination of outpatient medical follow-up may have the potential to improve long-term postoperative survival. Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Fischer, Ellen P; Sherman, Michelle D; McSweeney, Jean C; Pyne, Jeffrey M; Owen, Richard R; Dixon, Lisa B
Combat deployment and reintegration are challenging for service members and their families. Although family involvement in mental health care is increasing in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) system, little is known about family members' preferences for services. This study elicited the perspectives of returning Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder and their families regarding family involvement in veterans' mental health care. Semistructured qualitative interviews were conducted with 47 veterans receiving care for posttraumatic stress disorder at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System or Oklahoma City VA Medical Center and 36 veteran-designated family members. Interviews addressed perceived needs related to veterans' readjustment to civilian life, interest in family involvement in joint veteran/family programs, and desired family program content. Interview data were analyzed using content analysis and constant comparison. Both groups strongly supported inclusion of family members in programs to facilitate veterans' postdeployment readjustment and reintegration into civilian life. Both desired program content focused on information, practical skills, support, and gaining perspective on the other's experience. Although family and veteran perspectives were similar, family members placed greater emphasis on parenting-related issues and the kinds of support they and their children needed during and after deployment. To our knowledge, this is the first published report on preferences regarding VA postdeployment reintegration support that incorporates the perspectives of returning male and female veterans and those of their families. Findings will help VA and community providers working with returning veterans tailor services to the needs and preferences of this important-to-engage population. (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
Radomski, Thomas R; Bixler, Felicia R; Zickmund, Susan L; Roman, KatieLynn M; Thorpe, Carolyn T; Hale, Jennifer A; Sileanu, Florentina E; Hausmann, Leslie R M; Thorpe, Joshua M; Suda, Katie J; Stroupe, Kevin T; Gordon, Adam J; Good, Chester B; Fine, Michael J; Gellad, Walid F
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has implemented robust strategies to monitor prescription opioid dispensing, but these strategies have not accounted for opioids prescribed by non-VA providers. State-based prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) are a potential tool to identify VA patients' receipt of opioids from non-VA prescribers, and recent legislation requires their use within VA. To evaluate VA physicians' perspectives and experiences regarding use of PDMPs to monitor Veterans' receipt of opioids from non-VA prescribers. Qualitative study using semi-structured interviews. Forty-two VA primary care physicians who prescribed opioids to 15 or more Veterans in 2015. We sampled physicians from two states with PDMPs (Massachusetts and Illinois) and one without prescriber access to a PDMP at the time of the interviews (Pennsylvania). From February to August 2016, we conducted semi-structured telephone interviews that addressed the following topics regarding PDMPs: overall experiences, barriers to optimal use, and facilitators to improve use. VA physicians broadly supported use of PDMPs or desired access to one, while exhibiting varying patterns of PDMP use dictated by state laws and their clinical judgment. Physicians noted administrative burdens and incomplete or unavailable prescribing data as key barriers to PDMP use. To facilitate use, physicians endorsed (1) linking PDMPs with the VA electronic health record, (2) using templated notes to document PDMP use, and (3) delegating routine PDMP queries to ancillary staff. Despite the time and administrative burdens associated with their use, VA physicians in our study broadly supported PDMPs. The application of our findings to ongoing PDMP implementation efforts may strengthen PDMP use both within and outside VA and improve the safe prescribing of opioids.
Swan, A A; Nelson, J T; Swiger, B; Jaramillo, C A; Eapen, B C; Packer, M; Pugh, M J
The purpose of this study was to describe the prevalence of hearing loss and tinnitus in a cohort of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans (IAV) with common post-deployment conditions, including traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other typical post-concussive conditions such as headaches and vertigo/dizziness. This retrospective observational study used data from the national Veterans Health Administration (VA) data repository from fiscal years 2001-2014. Veteran data was included if there were at least three years of VA care, with one or more years of care in 2007 or after. We identified comorbidities that may be associated with post-deployment hearing loss or tinnitus including TBI, PTSD, depression, and common post-concussive symptoms using International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification codes. A multinomial logistic regression analysis was used to examine conditions associated with hearing loss or tinnitus. Among IAV, 570,332 were included in the final analysis. Of these, 7.78% of these were diagnosed with hearing loss alone, 6.54% with tinnitus alone, and 6.24% with both hearing loss and tinnitus. Comorbid TBI, PTSD, and depression were significantly associated with increased rates of hearing loss, tinnitus, or both conditions together. Older individuals, males, and those with TBI, PTSD, or vertigo/dizziness were significantly more likely to have hearing loss, tinnitus, or both. In order to provide more holistic post-deployment support, this myriad of conditions should be carefully considered in the planning of clinical care and beyond. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Referral Maslow s Hierarchy of Needs : A Framework for Prioritizing Referrals 202 PART 4: EVALUATE PATIENT SAFETY AND RISK FOR HARM TO SELF OR...Education in the Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Needs of Veterans and their Families" PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Dr. Gail Bond...average 1 hour per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed
Linsell, L; Brooks, C; Keegan, T J; Langdon, T; Doyle, P; Maconochie, N E S; Fletcher, T; Nieuwenhuijsen, M J; Beral, V
Objective To determine cancer morbidity in members of the armed forces who took part in tests of chemical warfare agents from 1941 to 1989. Design Historical cohort study, with cohort members followed up to December 2004. Data source Archive of UK government research facility at Porton Down, UK military personnel records, and national death and cancer records. Participants All veterans included in the cohort study of mortality, excluding those known to have died or been lost to follow-up before 1 January 1971 when the UK cancer registration system commenced: 17 013 male members of the UK armed forces who took part in tests (Porton Down veterans) and a similar group of 16 520 men who did not (non-Porton Down veterans). Main outcome measures Cancer morbidity in each group of veterans; rate ratios, with 95% confidence intervals, adjusted for age group and calendar period. Results 3457 cancers were reported in the Porton Down veterans compared with 3380 cancers in the non-Porton Down veterans. While overall cancer morbidity was the same in both groups (rate ratio 1.00, 95% confidence interval 0.95 to 1.05), Porton Down veterans had higher rates of ill defined malignant neoplasms (1.12, 1.02 to 1.22), in situ neoplasms (1.45, 1.06 to 2.00), and those of uncertain or unknown behaviour (1.32, 1.01 to 1.73). Conclusion Overall cancer morbidity in Porton Down veterans was no different from that in non-Porton Down veterans. PMID:19318700
Smith, Tyler C; Jimenez, Dinice L; Smith, Besa; Gray, Gregory C; Hooper, Tomoko I
Although the US military experienced relatively low combat casualty rates during the Gulf War there has been concern that exposures occurring during the war may have resulted in postwar morbidity among Gulf War veterans...
Clement, Meredith E; Park, Lawrence P; Navar, Ann Marie; Okeke, Nwora Lance; Pencina, Michael J; Douglas, Pamela S; Naggie, Susanna
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The potential impact of recently updated cholesterol guidelines on treatment of HIV- and HCV-infected veterans is unknown. We performed a retrospective cohort study to assess statin use and recommendations among 13 579 HIV-infected, 169 767 HCV-infected, and 6628 HIV/HCV-coinfected male veterans aged 40-75 years. Prior 2004 Adult Treatment Panel (ATP-III) guidelines were compared with current 2013 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) cholesterol guidelines and 2014 US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)/US Department of Defense (DoD) joint clinical practice guidelines using laboratory, medication, and comorbidity data from the VA Clinical Case Registry from 2008 through 2010. Using risk criteria delineated by the ATP-III guidelines, 50.6% of HIV-infected, 45.9% of HCV-infected, and 33.8% of HIV/HCV-coinfected veterans had an indication for statin therapy. However, among those eligible, 22.7%, 30.5%, and 31.5%, respectively, were not receiving ATP-III recommended statin therapy. When current cholesterol guidelines were applied by VA/DoD and ACC/AHA criteria, increases in recommendations for statins were found in all groups (57.3% and 66.1% of HIV-infected, 64.4% and 73.7% of HCV-infected, 49.1% and 58.5% of HIV/HCV-coinfected veterans recommended). Statins were underutilized among veterans infected with HIV, HCV, and HIV/HCV according to previous ATP-III guidelines. Current VA/DoD and ACC/AHA guidelines substantially expand statin recommendations and widen the gap of statin underutilization in all groups. These gaps in care present an opportunity to improve CVD prevention efforts in these at-risk populations. © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Erickson, Laura C; Ritchie, Janis B; Javors, Jennifer M; Golomb, Beatrice A
Recruitment is the most common failure point for clinical studies, with recruitment failure adversely affecting science, dollar costs, human capital, and the ethical risk-benefit trade-off to study participants. Added problems attend recruitment of special and/or challenging candidate populations, particularly in settings of sparse recruitment resources. Obstacles to study recruitment and participation of ill Gulf War veterans (GWVs) include health barriers, work and family obligations, mistrust of the medical/scientific community, and challenges to identifying/reaching potential participants. We sought to identify and implement a minimal-cost multipronged recruitment approach for a small single-site (recruitment settings and larger multisite studies. Categories of recruitment approach included directed as well as general media, collaborations with support groups/interest groups, local free advertising resources (Craigslist and Backpage), physician outreach, Internet-based approaches, and referrals from study participants and screenees. We describe the subcategories and yield of each approach within each approach. Each approach contributed candidates to the final recruitment tally, with the largest fractional contribution by directed media (52%). Among the remainder, no other individual approach was clearly dominant (largest contribution: 13%). Special population subsamples present special challenges; all approaches cited may not be useful in all settings and subpopulations. A multipronged suite of minimal-cost approaches led to successful recruitment to target for this single-site clinical trial for a special population with significant recruitment challenges. It additionally yielded a nation-wide corpus of several hundred individuals interested in participation in future studies of GWVs. While certain approaches produced disproportionate yield, it was not possible to predict these a priori. We suggest that this model, which incorporates a suite of approaches, and
Agnes I Vitry
Full Text Available BACKGROUND: This study assessed whether the number of comorbid conditions unrelated to diabetes was associated with a delay in therapeutic progression of diabetes treatment in Australian veterans. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A retrospective cohort study was undertaken using data from the Australian Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA claims database between July 2000 and June 2008. The study included new users of metformin or sulfonylurea medicines. The outcome was the time to addition or switch to another antidiabetic treatment. The total number of comorbid conditions unrelated to diabetes was identified using the pharmaceutical-based comorbidity index, Rx-Risk-V. Competing risk regression analyses were conducted, with adjustments for a number of covariates that included age, gender, residential status, use of endocrinology service, number of hospitalisation episodes and adherence to diabetes medicines. Overall, 20,134 veterans were included in the study. At one year, 23.5% of patients with diabetes had a second medicine added or had switched to another medicine, with 41.4% progressing by 4 years. The number of unrelated comorbidities was significantly associated with the time to addition of an antidiabetic medicine or switch to insulin (subhazard ratio [SHR] 0.87 [95% CI 0.84-0.91], P<0.001. Depression, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, dementia, and Parkinson's disease were individually associated with a decreased likelihood of therapeutic progression. Age, residential status, number of hospitalisations and adherence to anti-diabetic medicines delayed therapeutic progression. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Increasing numbers of unrelated conditions decreased the likelihood of therapeutic progression in veterans with diabetes. These results have implications for the development of quality measures, clinical guidelines and the construction of models of care for management of diabetes in elderly people with comorbidities.
Sabic, Dzevad; Sabic, Adela; Batic-Mujanovic, Olivera
The aim of this study was to analyze frequency of embitterment in war veterans with Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It was analyzed 174 subjects (from Health Center Zivinice/ Mental Health Center) through a survey conducted in the period from March 2015 to June 2016, of witch 87 war veterans with PTSD and control subjects 87 war veterans without PTSD. The primary outcome measure was the Post-Traumatic Embitterment Disorder Self-Rating Scale (PTED Scale) who contains 19 items designed to assess features of embitterment reactions to negative life events. Secondary efficacy measures included the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale - V (CAPS), the PTSD CheckList (PCL), the Combat Exposure Scale (CES), the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D), the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A) and the World Health Organization Quality of Life Scale ( WHOQOL-Bref). All subjects were male. The average age of patients in the group war veterans with PTSD was 52·78 ± 5·99. In the control group average age was 51·42 ± 5·98. Statistical data were analyzed in SPSS statistical program. Comparing the results, t tests revealed significant difference between group veterans with PTSD and control group (t=-21·216, p<0·0001). War veterans group with PTSD (X= 51·41 SD= 8·91), war veterans without PTSD (X=14·39, SD=13·61). Embitterment is frequent in war veterans with PTSD.
Yi, Sang-Wook; Ohrr, Heechoul
During the Vietnam War, US and allied military sprayed approximately 77 million liters of tactical herbicides including Agent Orange, contaminated with 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin. To the authors' knowledge, few studies to date have examined the association between Agent Orange exposure and cancer incidence among Korean veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. An Agent Orange exposure index, based on the proximity of the veteran's military unit to the area that was sprayed with Agent Orange, was developed using a geographic information system-based model. Cancer incidence was followed for 180,251 Vietnam veterans from 1992 through 2003. After adjustment for age and military rank, high exposure to Agent Orange was found to significantly increase the risk of all cancers combined (adjusted hazards ratio [aHR], 1.08). Risks for cancers of the mouth (aHR, 2.54), salivary glands (aHR, 6.96), stomach (aHR, 1.14), and small intestine (aHR, 2.30) were found to be significantly higher in the high-exposure group compared with the low-exposure group. Risks for cancers of all sites combined (aHR, 1.02) and for cancers of the salivary glands (aHR, 1.47), stomach (aHR, 1.03), small intestine (aHR, 1.24), and liver (aHR, 1.02) were elevated with a 1-unit increase in the exposure index. Exposure to Agent Orange several decades earlier may increase the risk of cancers in all sites combined, as well as several specific cancers, among Korean veterans of the Vietnam War, including some cancers that were not found to be clearly associated with exposure to Agent Orange in previous cohort studies primarily based on Western populations. © 2014 American Cancer Society.
Sayer, Nina A; Rosen, Craig S; Bernardy, Nancy C; Cook, Joan M; Orazem, Robert J; Chard, Kathleen M; Mohr, David C; Kehle-Forbes, Shannon M; Eftekhari, Afsoon; Crowley, Jill; Ruzek, Josef I; Smith, Brandy N; Schnurr, Paula P
Evidence-based psychotherapies for PTSD are often underused. The objective of this mixed-method study was to identify organizational and clinic factors that promote high levels of reach of evidence-based psychotherapies for PTSD 10 years into their dissemination throughout the Veterans Health Administration. We conducted 96 individual interviews with staff from ten outpatient PTSD teams at nine sites that differed in reach of evidence-based psychotherapies for PTSD. Major themes associated with reach included clinic mission, clinic leader and staff engagement, clinic operations, staff perceptions, and the practice environment. Strategies to improve reach of evidence-based psychotherapies should attend to organizational and team-level factors.
Bangerter, Ann; Gravely, Amy; Cutting, Andrea; Clothier, Barb; Spoont, Michele; Sayer, Nina
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has made treatment and care of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) veterans a priority. Researchers face challenges identifying the OIF/OEF population because until fiscal year 2008, no indicator of OIF/OEF service was present in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) administrative databases typically used for research. In this article, we compare an algorithm we developed to identify OIF/OEF veterans using the Austin Information Technology Center administrative data with the VHA Support Service Center OIF/OEF Roster and veterans' self-report of military service. We drew data from two different institutional review board-approved funded studies. The positive predictive value of our algorithm compared with the VHA Support Service Center OIF/OEF Roster and self-report was 92% and 98%, respectively. However, this method of identifying OIF/OEF veterans failed to identify a large proportion of OIF/OEF veterans listed in the VHA Support Service Center OIF/OEF Roster. Demographic, diagnostic, and VA service use differences were found between veterans identified using our method and those we failed to identify but who were in the VHA Support Service Center OIF/OEF Roster. Therefore, depending on the research objective, this method may not be a viable alternative to the VHA Support Service Center OIF/OEF Roster for identifying OIF/OEF veterans.
Hefner, Kathryn; Rosenheck, Robert; Merrel, Jeremy; Coffman, Marcedes; Valentine, Gerry; Sofuoglu, Mehmet
Individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders smoke at elevated rates and tend to have greater difficulty quitting smoking as compared to the general population. Some believe that e-cigarettes may reduce harm associated with smoking, but little is known about e-cigarette use, perceptions, and motivations for their use among individuals with mental health and/or substance use disorders. Rates and correlates of e-cigarette use, perceptions, and sources of information about e-cigarettes among smokers seeking mental health and/or substance use services (N = 188) at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System were assessed via a brief survey. The Pearson χ(2) test of independence was used to compare veterans who currently used e-cigarettes with those who did not. Logistic regression was used to examine independent attitudinal differences controlling for potentially confounding variables. Participants were generally male (90%), Caucasian (54%), and older than 50 (69%), with high rates of at least one mental health condition (82%), at least one substance use disorder (73%), and comorbid mental health and substance use disorders (55%). A relatively high proportion of the sample (30.9%) used e-cigarettes. These participants, compared to those who did not use e-cigarettes, were more likely to have a mental health disorder and less likely to have a substance use disorder, started smoking later in life, spent less money on smoking, and were more likely to have tried to quit "cold turkey." Knowledge of e-cigarettes originated most often from TV, radio, or personal contacts. Respondents held generally positive perceptions and motivations regarding e-cigarette use (i.e., it is socially acceptable, may help reduce/quit smoking, less harmful to others). Despite positive attributions, rates of dual use of e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes was high (86.2%), and very few people using e-cigarettes (6.9%) indicated that e-cigarettes actually helped them quit smoking
Moshkani Farahani, Davood; Tavallaie, Abbas; Vahedi, Ensieh; Rezaiemaram, Peyman; Naderi, Zohreh; Talaie, Akram
Objective Sleep complaints are common among Iranian chemically-injured veterans. The growing body of research has investigated (in) equalities between such subjective complaints and objective sleep records. Moreover, sleep complaints are associated with depressive symptoms. Depressive symptoms, also, have been frequently reported in chemically-injured veterans. Therefore, the purpose of this pilot study was to investigate the relationship between perceived sleep quality, polysomnographic meas...
Larney, Sarah; Bohnert, Amy S B; Ganoczy, Dara; Ilgen, Mark A; Hickman, Matthew; Blow, Fred C; Degenhardt, Louisa
The population of people with opioid use disorders (OUD) is aging. There has been little research on the effects of aging on mortality rates and causes of death in this group. We aimed to compare mortality in older (≥ 50 years of age) adults with OUD to that in younger (OUD and older adults with no history of OUD. We also examined risk factors for specific causes of death in older adults with OUD. Using data from the Veteran's Health Administration National Patient Care Database (2000-2011), we compared all-cause and cause-specific mortality rates in older adults with OUD to those in younger adults with OUD and older adults without OUD. We then generated a Cox regression model with specific causes of death treated as competing risks. Older adults with OUD were more likely to die from any cause than younger adults with OUD. The drug-related mortality rate did not decline with age. HIV-related and liver-related deaths were higher among older OUD compared to same-age peers without OUD. There were very few clinically important predictors of specific causes of death. Considerable drug-related mortality in people with OUD suggests a need for greater access to overdose prevention and opioid substitution therapy across the lifespan. Elevated risk of liver-related death in older adults may be addressed through antiviral therapy for hepatitis C virus infection. There is an urgent need to explore models of care that address the complex health needs of older adults with OUD. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Chapman, Shawna L Carroll; Wu, Li-Tzy
The number of female veterans is increasing. Veterans Administration (VA) enrollment increased over 40% from past eras. However, little research has focused on their mental health. We reviewed literature to examine associations of substance use with suicide in female veterans, identify research gaps, and inform future studies. Google Scholar, Pub Med, and PsychINFO were searched using: substance use, female veteran, and suicide. Exclusion criteria (e.g., not discussing U.S. veterans) left 17 articles. Nine studies examined completed suicide among veterans. In most recent years, rates of deaths were greater for veterans than nonveterans, including females. Completed suicide was associated with past trauma, young age, and a mental disorder. Studies have often not addressed substance use. Three studies examined completed suicide among VA treated veterans without examining substance use as an associated factor. Rates of completed suicides were also higher among veterans than nonveterans, including females. A large proportion of females also had a mental diagnosis. Five studies examined substance use and attempted or completed suicide among VA treated veterans. Veterans in poor mental health had increased odds of suicide mortality; women with a substance use disorder (SUD) had a higher hazard ratio for completed suicide than men with a SUD. Engagement in substance abuse treatment decreased odds of suicide attempt among veterans. Available data suggest that suicide rates are higher among female veterans than women in the general population. Substance use may increase the likelihood of suicidal behaviors among female veterans, particularly those with a mental diagnosis. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Ishøy, Torben; Knop, Joachim; Suadicani, Poul
INTRODUCTION: Compared with controls, up to six years after their return, Danish Gulf War veterans have a significantly higher prevalence of self-reported neuropsychological symptoms, potentially as a result of neurotoxic exposure during deployment. We tested the hypotheses that: 1) GW veterans...... of neuropsychological symptoms, and stratified according to SCL-90-R score, no trends were found suggesting reduced motor function with increasing symptoms. Of nine dimensions constructed on the basis of the SCL-90-R items, six were significantly associated with being a Gulf War veteran. Statistically, the strongest...... 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...
Bowes, Margaret A; Ferreira, Nuno; Henderson, Mike
Although most veterans have a successful transition to civilian life when they leave the military, some struggle to cope and adjust to the demands and challenges of civilian life. This study explores how a variety of psychosocial factors influence veteran adjustment to civilian life in Scotland, UK, and which of these factors predict a poor adjustment. One hundred and fifty-four veterans across Scotland completed a set of questionnaires that measured veteran adjustment difficulty, quality of life, mental health, stigma, self-stigma, attitude towards help-seeking, likelihood of help-seeking, experiential avoidance, reappraisal and suppression. Veteran adjustment difficulty and quality of life were significantly correlated to a number of psychosocial factors. Mental health, experiential avoidance and cognitive reappraisal were found to be predictors of veteran adjustment difficulty, and experiential avoidance and cognitive reappraisal partially mediated the relationship between mental health and veteran adjustment, with experiential avoidance being the stronger mediator. Our findings suggest that early assessment of experiential avoidance and cognitive reappraisal and the provision of relevant emotion regulation skills training could potentially reduce the veteran's need for more complex (and costly) psychological interventions in the future. Implications for veterans, as well as the services and professionals involved with veteran transition and health care are discussed. Copyright © 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Brewer, Noel T.; Hallman, William K.; Kipen, Howard M.
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. PMID:18795995
Davood Moshkani Farahani
Full Text Available Sleep complaints are common among Iranian chemically-injured veterans. The growing body of research has investigated (in equalities between such subjective complaints and objective sleep records. Moreover, sleep complaints are associated with depressive symptoms. Depressive symptoms, also, have been frequently reported in chemically-injured veterans. Therefore, the purpose of this pilot study was to investigate the relationship between perceived sleep quality, polysomnographic measures and depressive symptoms in Iranian veterans with chemical injuries.In this pilot study, 35 Iranian veterans with chemical injuries complaining of a sleep problem were selected. Initially, participants were evaluated via all-night polysomnography, then, they completed the research questionnaires. Collected data were analyzed using Pearson correlation coefficients.Data analyses showed that there was no significant correlation between many of self-reposted variables and polysomnogaphic recordings, however, remarkable relationships were found between the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and the Beck Depression Inventory scores.The findings indicated that sleep complaints of chemically-injured veterans are not equivalent to objective sleep disturbances, however, these complaints are largely associated with level of depression. This study emphasizes the important role of mood in sleep evaluation. Further, the findings suggest using a combination of both subjective and objective measures for accurate assessment of sleep quality in Iranian veterans with chemical injuries (i.e., multimethod approach.
Moshkani Farahani, Davood; Tavallaie, Abbas; Vahedi, Ensieh; Rezaiemaram, Peyman; Naderi, Zohreh; Talaie, Akram
Sleep complaints are common among Iranian chemically-injured veterans. The growing body of research has investigated (in) equalities between such subjective complaints and objective sleep records. Moreover, sleep complaints are associated with depressive symptoms. Depressive symptoms, also, have been frequently reported in chemically-injured veterans. Therefore, the purpose of this pilot study was to investigate the relationship between perceived sleep quality, polysomnographic measures and depressive symptoms in Iranian veterans with chemical injuries. In this pilot study, 35 Iranian veterans with chemical injuries complaining of a sleep problem were selected. Initially, participants were evaluated via all-night polysomnography, then, they completed the research questionnaires. Collected data were analyzed using Pearson correlation coefficients. Data analyses showed that there was no significant correlation between many of self-reposted variables and polysomnogaphic recordings, however, remarkable relationships were found between the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and the Beck Depression Inventory scores. The findings indicated that sleep complaints of chemically-injured veterans are not equivalent to objective sleep disturbances, however, these complaints are largely associated with level of depression. This study emphasizes the important role of mood in sleep evaluation. Further, the findings suggest using a combination of both subjective and objective measures for accurate assessment of sleep quality in Iranian veterans with chemical injuries (i.e., multimethod approach).
Michael A. Grasso
Full Text Available Introduction: The purpose of the study was to measure national prescribing patterns for hydrocodone/acetaminophen among veterans seeking emergency medical care, and to see if patterns have changed since this medication became a Schedule II controlled substance. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of emergency department (ED visits within the Veterans Health Administration (VA between January 2009 and June 2015. We looked at demographics, comorbidities, utilization measures, diagnoses, and prescriptions. Results: During the study period, 1,709,545 individuals participated in 6,270,742 ED visits and received 471,221 prescriptions for hydrocodone/acetaminophen (7.5% of all visits. The most common diagnosis associated with a prescription was back pain. Prescriptions peaked at 80,776 in 2011 (8.7% of visits, and declined to 35,031 (5.6% during the first half of 2015 (r=‒0.99, p<0.001. The percentage of hydrocodone/acetaminophen prescriptions limited to 12 pills increased from 22% (13,949 in 2009 to 31% (11,026 in the first half of 2015. A prescription was more likely written for patients with a pain score≥7 (OR 3.199, CI [3.192‒3.205], a musculoskeletal (OR 1.622, CI [1.615‒1.630] or soft tissue (OR 1.656, CI [1.649‒1.664] diagnosis, and those below the first quartile for total ED visits (OR 1.282, CI [1.271‒1.293] and total outpatient ICD 9 codes (OR 1.843, CI [1.833‒1.853]. Conclusion: Hydrocodone/acetaminophen is the most frequently prescribed ED medication in the VA. The rate of prescribing has decreased since 2011, with the rate of decline remaining unchanged after it was classified as a Schedule II controlled substance. The proportion of prescriptions falling within designated guidelines has increased but is not at goal. [West J Emerg Med. 2016;17(4:396-403.
Magpantay-Monroe, Edna R
The knowledge and skills in providing veteran centered care is essential. The purpose of this retrospective evaluation is to examine a faculty's reflections on a BSN psychiatric mental health curriculum initiative that provides knowledge and skills regarding veterans care through several avenues to senior nursing students. This qualitative study use self-reflections through a constructivist view of teaching and learning as the framework. Open discussions in didactic about the unique psychological health issues of veterans formed a foundational knowledge for the students. The seminar time was used to discuss real veteran case situations. Simulation provided opportunities to address veteran resources. Problem based projects use available evidence to solve veteran health issues. The educators show their commitment to the compassionate and caring ideals of our profession by fostering an educational environment where future nurses can truly learn about veteran centered care. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Lillie, Sarah E; Fu, Steven S; Fabbrini, Angela E; Rice, Kathryn L; Clothier, Barbara; Nelson, David B; Doro, Elizabeth A; Moughrabieh, M Anas; Partin, Melissa R
The National Lung Screening Trial recently reported that annual low-dose computed tomography screening is associated with decreased lung cancer mortality in high-risk smokers. This study sought to identify the factors patients consider important in making lung cancer screening (LCS) decisions, and explore variations by patient characteristics and LCS participation. This observational survey study evaluated the Minneapolis VA LCS Clinical Demonstration Project in which LCS-eligible Veterans (N=1388) were randomized to either Direct LCS Invitation (mailed with decision aid, N=926) or Usual Care (provider referral, N=462). We surveyed participants three months post-randomization (response rate 44%) and report the proportion of respondents rating eight decision-making factors (benefits, harms, and neutral factors) as important by condition, patient characteristics, and LCS completion. Overall, the most important factor was personal risk of lung cancer and the least important factor was health risks from LCS. The reported importance varied by patient characteristics, including smoking status, health status, and education level. Overall, the potential harms of LCS were reported less important than the benefits or the neutral decision-making factors. Exposure to Direct LCS Invitation (with decision aid) increased Veterans' attention to specific decision-making factors; compared to Usual Care respondents, a larger proportion of Direct LCS Invitation respondents rated the chance of false-positive results, LCS knowledge, LCS convenience, and anxiety as important. Those completing LCS considered screening harms less important, with the exception of incidental findings. Decision tools influence Veterans' perceptions about LCS decision-making factors. As the factors important to LCS decision making vary by patient characteristics, targeted materials for specific subgroups may be warranted. Attention should be paid to how LCS incidental findings are communicated. Published by
McBride, David; Cox, Brian; Broughton, John; Tong, Darryl
The aim was to observe the patterns of mortality and cancer incidence in New Zealand Vietnam veterans. The objectives were to assess whether the patterns of disease observed were consistent with those associated with military service in Vietnam, and similar to the patterns identified in other groups of Vietnam veterans. A historical cohort study. Veterans, identified from service records, with Vietnam service between 1964 and 1972. Of the 3322 survivors of Vietnam service, we followed up 2783 (84%). Standardised mortality and incidence ratios (SMRs and SIRs, respectively) were calculated based on the number of deaths and cancer registrations observed, those expected being based on New Zealand national rates. All cause mortality was significantly reduced (SMR 0.85, 95% CI 0.77 to 0.94) and cancer incidence non-significantly increased (SIR 1.06, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.16). The risk of mortality from cancers of the head and neck (SMR 2.20, 95% CI 1.09 to 3.93); oral cavity pharynx and larynx (SMR 2.13, 95% CI 1.06 to 3.81) and the incidence of chronic lymphatic leukaemia (CLL) (SIR 1.91, 95% CI 1.04 to 3.20) were, however, significantly increased. Other lymphohaematopoietic disorders, specifically multiple myeloma and Hodgkin disease, showed non-significant mortality excesses, reflected by a similar increase in incidence. Service in the Vietnam war was associated with defoliant herbicide exposure, including 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, picloram and cacodylic acid. Subsequent reviews of mechanistic, animal and epidemiological evidence led to certain conditions being deemed compensable. The pattern of mortality and cancer incidence is not at odds with the list of compensable conditions and consistent with that found in Australian veterans serving in the same area of Vietnam, but also consistent with smoking and the healthy soldier effect. In common with the Australian experience, this is the only veterans group to show a significant
Burgess, James F; Shwartz, Michael; Stolzmann, Kelly; Sullivan, Jennifer L
To examine the relationship between cost and quality in Veterans Health Administration (VA) nursing homes (called Community Living Centers, CLCs) using longitudinal data. One hundred and thirty CLCs over 13 quarters (from FY2009 to FY2012) were studied. Costs, resident days, and resident severity (RUGs score) were obtained from the VA Managerial Cost Accounting System. Clinical quality measures were obtained from the Minimum Data Set, and resident-centered care (RCC) was measured using the Artifacts of Culture Change Tool. We used a generalized estimating equation model with facilities included as fixed effects to examine the relationship between total cost and quality after controlling for resident days and severity. The model included linear and squared terms for all independent variables and interactions with resident days. With the exception of RCC, all other variables had a statistically significant relationship with total costs. For most poorer performing smaller facilities (lower size quartile), improvements in quality were associated with higher costs. For most larger facilities, improvements in quality were associated with lower costs. The relationship between cost and quality depends on facility size and current level of performance. © Published 2018. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.
Smith, Shawna N.; Lai, Zongshan; Almirall, Daniel; Goodrich, David E.; Abraham, Kristen M.; Nord, Kristina M.; Kilbourne, Amy M.
Policy is a powerful motivator of clinical change, but implementation success can depend on organizational characteristics. This paper used validated measures of organizational resources, culture and climate to predict uptake of a nationwide VA policy aimed at implementing Re-Engage, a brief care management program that re-establishes contact with Veterans with serious mental illness lost to care. Patient care databases were used to identify 2,738 Veterans lost to care. Local Recovery Coordinators (LRCs) were to update disposition for 2,738 Veterans at 158 VA facilities and, as appropriate, facilitate a return to care. Multivariable regression assessed organizational culture and climate as predictors of early policy compliance (via LRC presence) and uptake at six months. Higher composite climate and culture scores were associated with higher odds of having a designated LRC, but were not predictive of higher uptake. Sites with LRCs had significantly higher rates of updated documentation than sites without LRCs. PMID:27668352
Cruz, Jennifer L; Brown, Jamie N
Rigorous practices for safe dispensing of investigational drugs are not standardized. This investigation sought to identify error-prevention processes utilized in the provision of investigational drug services (IDS) and to characterize pharmacists' perceptions about safety risks posed by investigational drugs. An electronic questionnaire was distributed to an audience of IDS pharmacists within the Veteran Affairs Health System. Multiple facets were examined including demographics, perceptions of medication safety, and standard processes used to support investigational drug protocols. Twenty-one respondents (32.8% response rate) from the Northeast, Midwest, South, West, and Non-contiguous United States participated. The mean number of pharmacist full-time equivalents (FTEs) dedicated to the IDS was 0.77 per site with 0.2 technician FTEs. The mean number of active protocols was 22. Seventeen respondents (81%) indicated some level of concern for safety risks. Concerns related to the packaging of medications were expressed, most notably lack of product differentiation, expiration dating, barcodes, and choice of font size or color. Regarding medication safety practices, the majority of sites had specific procedures in place for storing and securing drug supply, temperature monitoring, and prescription labeling. Repackaging bulk items and proactive error-identification strategies were less common. Sixty-seven percent of respondents reported that an independent double check was not routinely performed. Medication safety concerns exist among pharmacists in an investigational drug service; however, a variety of measures have been employed to improve medication safety practices. Best practices for the safe dispensing of investigational medications should be developed in order to standardize these error-prevention strategies.
True, Gala; Stewart, Greg L; Lampman, Michelle; Pelak, Mary; Solimeo, Samantha L
The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) relies on a team approach to patient care. For organizations engaged in transitioning to a PCMH model, identifying and providing the resources needed to promote team functioning is essential. To describe team-level resources required to support PCMH team functioning within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), and provide insight into how the presence or absence of these resources facilitates or impedes within-team delegation. Semi-structured interviews with members of pilot teams engaged in PCMH implementation in 77 primary care clinics serving over 300,000 patients across two VHA regions covering the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest United States. A purposive sample of 101 core members of pilot teams, including 32 primary care providers, 42 registered nurse care managers, 15 clinical associates, and 12 clerical associates. Investigators from two evaluation sites interviewed frontline primary care staff separately, and then collaborated on joint analysis of parallel data to develop a broad, comprehensive understanding of global themes impacting team functioning and within-team delegation. We describe four themes key to understanding how resources at the team level supported ability of primary care staff to work as effective, engaged teams. Team-based task delegation was facilitated by demarcated boundaries and collective identity; shared goals and sense of purpose; mature and open communication characterized by psychological safety; and ongoing, intentional role negotiation. Our findings provide a framework for organizations to identify assets already in place to support team functioning, as well as areas in need of improvement. For teams struggling to make practice changes, our results indicate key areas where they may benefit from future support. In addition, this research sheds light on how variation in medical home implementation and outcomes may be associated with variation in team-based task delegation.
Full Text Available Abstract Background Stroke is one of the most disabling and costly impairments of adulthood in the United States. Stroke patients clearly benefit from intensive inpatient care, but due to the high cost, there is considerable interest in implementing interventions to reduce hospital lengths of stay. Early discharge rehabilitation programs require coordinated, well-organized home-based rehabilitation, yet lack of sufficient information about the home setting impedes successful rehabilitation. This trial examines a multifaceted telerehabilitation (TR intervention that uses telehealth technology to simultaneously evaluate the home environment, assess the patient's mobility skills, initiate rehabilitative treatment, prescribe exercises tailored for stroke patients and provide periodic goal oriented reassessment, feedback and encouragement. Methods We describe an ongoing Phase II, 2-arm, 3-site randomized controlled trial (RCT that determines primarily the effect of TR on physical function and secondarily the effect on disability, falls-related self-efficacy, and patient satisfaction. Fifty participants with a diagnosis of ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke will be randomly assigned to one of two groups: (a TR; or (b Usual Care. The TR intervention uses a combination of three videotaped visits and five telephone calls, an in-home messaging device, and additional telephonic contact as needed over a 3-month study period, to provide a progressive rehabilitative intervention with a treatment goal of safe functional mobility of the individual within an accessible home environment. Dependent variables will be measured at baseline, 3-, and 6-months and analyzed with a linear mixed-effects model across all time points. Discussion For patients recovering from stroke, the use of TR to provide home assessments and follow-up training in prescribed equipment has the potential to effectively supplement existing home health services, assist transition to home and
Goffman, Rachel M; Harris, Shannon L; May, Jerrold H; Milicevic, Aleksandra S; Monte, Robert J; Myaskovsky, Larissa; Rodriguez, Keri L; Tjader, Youxu C; Vargas, Dominic L
Missed appointments reduce the efficiency of the health care system and negatively impact access to care for all patients. Identifying patients at risk for missing an appointment could help health care systems and providers better target interventions to reduce patient no-shows. Our aim was to develop and test a predictive model that identifies patients that have a high probability of missing their outpatient appointments. Demographic information, appointment characteristics, and attendance history were drawn from the existing data sets from four Veterans Affairs health care facilities within six separate service areas. Past attendance behavior was modeled using an empirical Markov model based on up to 10 previous appointments. Using logistic regression, we developed 24 unique predictive models. We implemented the models and tested an intervention strategy using live reminder calls placed 24, 48, and 72 hours ahead of time. The pilot study targeted 1,754 high-risk patients, whose probability of missing an appointment was predicted to be at least 0.2. Our results indicate that three variables were consistently related to a patient's no-show probability in all 24 models: past attendance behavior, the age of the appointment, and having multiple appointments scheduled on that day. After the intervention was implemented, the no-show rate in the pilot group was reduced from the expected value of 35% to 12.16% (p value < 0.0001). The predictive model accurately identified patients who were more likely to miss their appointments. Applying the model in practice enables clinics to apply more intensive intervention measures to high-risk patients. Reprint & Copyright © 2017 Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S.
sess. (2016) (statement of Robert McDonald , Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs). The other priorities include delivering a unified veteran...posted products, go to http://www.gao.gov and select “E-mail Updates.” The price of each GAO publication reflects GAO’s actual cost of production...and distribution and depends on the number of pages in the publication and whether the publication is printed in color or black and white. Pricing and
Pedersen, Eric R.; Naranjo, Diana; Marshall, Grant N.
The objective of this study was to describe the feasibility of using Facebook as a platform to recruit and retain young adult veteran drinkers into an online-alcohol use intervention study. Facebook’s wide accessibility and popularity among the age group that comprises the majority of veterans from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan make it a compelling resource through which research can extend its reach to this otherwise hard-to-reach group. We developed a series of Facebook advertisement campaigns to reach veteran drinkers not specifically searching for alcohol treatment. In doing so, we recruited 793 valid veteran participants in approximately two weeks for an advertising cost of $4.53 per obtained participant. The study sample consisted primarily of male veterans, between 19 and 34 years of age, who were drinking at moderate to heavy levels. Although about half of the sample reported mental health comorbidity, few had received any mental health or substance use treatment in the past year. Facebook appears to be a valuable mechanism through which to recruit young veterans with unmet behavioral health needs, although more specific efforts may be needed to engage certain types of veterans after initial study enrollment. PMID:28249027
Pedersen, Eric R; Naranjo, Diana; Marshall, Grant N
The objective of this study was to describe the feasibility of using Facebook as a platform to recruit and retain young adult veteran drinkers into an online-alcohol use intervention study. Facebook's wide accessibility and popularity among the age group that comprises the majority of veterans from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan make it a compelling resource through which research can extend its reach to this otherwise hard-to-reach group. We developed a series of Facebook advertisement campaigns to reach veteran drinkers not specifically searching for alcohol treatment. In doing so, we recruited 793 valid veteran participants in approximately two weeks for an advertising cost of $4.53 per obtained participant. The study sample consisted primarily of male veterans, between 19 and 34 years of age, who were drinking at moderate to heavy levels. Although about half of the sample reported mental health comorbidity, few had received any mental health or substance use treatment in the past year. Facebook appears to be a valuable mechanism through which to recruit young veterans with unmet behavioral health needs, although more specific efforts may be needed to engage certain types of veterans after initial study enrollment.
Eric R Pedersen
Full Text Available The objective of this study was to describe the feasibility of using Facebook as a platform to recruit and retain young adult veteran drinkers into an online-alcohol use intervention study. Facebook's wide accessibility and popularity among the age group that comprises the majority of veterans from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan make it a compelling resource through which research can extend its reach to this otherwise hard-to-reach group. We developed a series of Facebook advertisement campaigns to reach veteran drinkers not specifically searching for alcohol treatment. In doing so, we recruited 793 valid veteran participants in approximately two weeks for an advertising cost of $4.53 per obtained participant. The study sample consisted primarily of male veterans, between 19 and 34 years of age, who were drinking at moderate to heavy levels. Although about half of the sample reported mental health comorbidity, few had received any mental health or substance use treatment in the past year. Facebook appears to be a valuable mechanism through which to recruit young veterans with unmet behavioral health needs, although more specific efforts may be needed to engage certain types of veterans after initial study enrollment.
Brown, Kevin A; Jones, Makoto; Daneman, Nick; Adler, Frederick R; Stevens, Vanessa; Nechodom, Kevin E; Goetz, Matthew B; Samore, Matthew H; Mayer, Jeanmarie
Although clinical factors affecting a person's susceptibility to Clostridium difficile infection are well-understood, little is known about what drives differences in incidence across long-term care settings. To obtain a comprehensive picture of individual and regional factors that affect C difficile incidence. Multilevel longitudinal nested case-control study. Veterans Health Administration health care regions, from 2006 through 2012. Long-term care residents. Individual-level risk factors included age, number of comorbid conditions, and antibiotic exposure. Regional risk factors included importation of cases of acute care C difficile infection per 10 000 resident-days and antibiotic use per 1000 resident-days. The outcome was defined as a positive result on a long-term care C difficile test without a positive result in the prior 8 weeks. 6012 cases (incidence, 3.7 cases per 10 000 resident-days) were identified in 86 regions. Long-term care C difficile incidence (minimum, 0.6 case per 10 000 resident-days; maximum, 31.0 cases per 10 000 resident-days), antibiotic use (minimum, 61.0 days with therapy per 1000 resident-days; maximum, 370.2 days with therapy per 1000 resident-days), and importation (minimum, 2.9 cases per 10 000 resident-days; maximum, 341.3 cases per 10 000 resident-days) varied substantially across regions. Together, antibiotic use and importation accounted for 75% of the regional variation in C difficile incidence (R2 = 0.75). Multilevel analyses showed that regional factors affected risk together with individual-level exposures (relative risk of regional antibiotic use, 1.36 per doubling [95% CI, 1.15 to 1.60]; relative risk of importation, 1.23 per doubling [CI, 1.14 to 1.33]). Case identification was based on laboratory criteria. Admission of residents with recent C difficile infection from non-Veterans Health Administration acute care sources was not considered. Only 25% of the variation in regional C difficile incidence in long
Consistency of Self-Reported Neurocognitive Symptoms, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms, and Concussive Events From End of First Deployment to Veteran Health Administration Comprehensive Traumatic Brain Injury Evaluation by Operations Enduring Freedom/Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn Veterans.
Russo, Arthur C; Fingerhut, Esther C
This study examined the consistency of self-reported symptoms and concussive events in combat veterans who reported experiencing concussive events. One hundred and forty, single deployed, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn combat veterans with Veteran Health Administration (VHA) Comprehensive Traumatic Brain Injury Evaluations (CTBIE) and no post-deployment head injury were examined to assess consistency of self-reported (a) traumatic brain injury (TBI)-related symptoms, (b) post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-related symptoms, and (c) TBI-related concussive events from soon after deployment to time of VHA CTBIE. Compared to their self-report of symptoms and traumatic events at the time of their Post-Deployment Health Assessment, at the time of their comprehensive VHA evaluation, subjects reported significantly greater impairment in concentration, decision making, memory, headache, and sleep. In addition, although half the subjects denied any PTSD symptoms post-deployment, approximately three quarters reported experiencing all four PTSD screening symptoms near the time of the VHA CTBIEs. At the latter time, subjects also reported significantly more TBI-related concussive events, as well as more post-concussive sequelae such as loss of consciousness immediately following these concussive events. Finally, although 84% reported a level of impairment so severe as to render all but the simplest activity doable, the vast majority simultaneously reported working and/or attending college. These findings raise questions regarding the accuracy of veteran self-report of both near and distant traumatic events, and argue for the inclusion of contemporaneous Department of Defense (DOD) records in veteran assessment and treatment planning. Published by Oxford University Press 2016. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.
Sørensen, Birgitte Refslund
provided the soldier by rank, function, and mission vanishes and translates into an imperative ontological question about possible veteran subjectivity. In this article I argue that the veterans’ struggle to create postdeployment, postmilitary social identities entails profound secrecy work where past...... experiences, present conditions, and future ambitions are embedded in webs of concealment, disclosure, exposure, deception, lying, silence, and so forth, only partially controlled by the veterans themselves. The intricacies and anxieties associated with secrecy work are discussed in relation to three veteran...
Implementation of the patient-centered medical home in the Veterans Health Administration: associations with patient satisfaction, quality of care, staff burnout, and hospital and emergency department use.
Nelson, Karin M; Helfrich, Christian; Sun, Haili; Hebert, Paul L; Liu, Chuan-Fen; Dolan, Emily; Taylor, Leslie; Wong, Edwin; Maynard, Charles; Hernandez, Susan E; Sanders, William; Randall, Ian; Curtis, Idamay; Schectman, Gordon; Stark, Richard; Fihn, Stephan D
In 2010, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) began implementing the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model. The Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) initiative aims to improve health outcomes through team-based care, improved access, and care management. To track progress and evaluate outcomes at all VHA primary care clinics, we developed and validated a method to assess PCMH implementation. To create an index that measures the extent of PCMH implementation, describe variation in implementation, and examine the association between the implementation index and key outcomes. We conducted an observational study using data on more than 5.6 million veterans who received care at 913 VHA hospital-based and community-based primary care clinics and 5404 primary care staff from (1) VHA clinical and administrative databases, (2) a national patient survey administered to a weighted random sample of veterans who received outpatient care from June 1 to December 31, 2012, and (3) a survey of all VHA primary care staff in June 2012. Composite scores were constructed for 8 core domains of PACT: access, continuity, care coordination, comprehensiveness, self-management support, patient-centered care and communication, shared decision making, and team-based care. Patient satisfaction, rates of hospitalization and emergency department use, quality of care, and staff burnout. Fifty-three items were included in the PACT Implementation Progress Index (Pi2). Compared with the 87 clinics in the lowest decile of the Pi2, the 77 sites in the top decile exhibited significantly higher patient satisfaction (9.33 vs 7.53; P hospitalization rates for ambulatory care-sensitive conditions (4.42 vs 3.68 quarterly admissions for veterans 65 years or older per 1000 patients; P < .001), and lower emergency department use (188 vs 245 visits per 1000 patients; P < .001). The extent of PCMH implementation, as measured by the Pi2, was highly associated with important outcomes for both
Katon, Jodie G; Reiber, Gayle E
The number of women veterans is rapidly growing, and little is known regarding the health and healthcare needs of women veterans with traumatic limb loss. The objective of this study was to summarize physical and mental health conditions and rates of prosthetic prescriptions among women service members and veterans with major traumatic limb loss. Researchers and clinicians who administered the Survey for Prosthetic Use contacted and enrolled 283 servicemembers and veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom with major traumatic limb loss. Participants provided information on health status; comorbidities; other combat injuries; and prosthetic device use, rejection, and replacement. Of the 283 veterans, 9 (3%) were women. Compared with men, women reported more than a threefold higher prevalence of migraine (67% vs 20%, p = 0.001). Compared with men, women received 0.42 more prostheses per year, rejected 0.11 more prostheses per year, but replaced 0.18 fewer prostheses per year. With the exception of migraine headaches, men and women servicemembers and veterans with major traumatic limb loss report similarly high prevalence of physical and mental health conditions. Women report higher rates of prosthesis receipt and rejection and lower rates of prosthesis replacement than men. These findings highlight some potential issues specific to women veterans that may require additional clinical attention.
Bohnert, Kipling M; Ilgen, Mark A; Louzon, Samantha; McCarthy, John F; Katz, Ira R
Limited information is available regarding links between specific substance use disorders (SUDs) and suicide mortality; however, the preliminary evidence that is available suggests that suicide risk associated with SUDs may differ for men and women. This study aimed to estimate associations between SUDs and suicide for men and women receiving Veterans Health Administration (VHA) care. A cohort study using national administrative health records. National VHA system, USA. All VHA users in fiscal year (FY) 2005 who were alive at the beginning of FY 2006 (n = 4 863 086). The primary outcome of suicide mortality was assessed via FY 2006-2011 National Death Index (NDI) records. Current SUD diagnoses were the primary predictors of interest, and were assessed via FY 2004-2005 VHA National Patient Care Database (NPCD) records. In unadjusted analyses, a diagnosis of any current SUD and the specific current diagnoses of alcohol, cocaine, cannabis, opioid, amphetamine and sedative use disorders were all associated significantly with increased risk of suicide for both males and females [hazard ratios (HRs)] ranging from 1.35 for cocaine use disorder to 4.74 for sedative use disorder for men, and 3.89 for cannabis use disorder to 11.36 for sedative use disorder for women]. Further, the HR estimates for the relations between any SUD, alcohol, cocaine and opioid use disorders and suicide were significantly stronger for women than men (P suicide were attenuated markedly and the greater suicide risk among females was observed for only any SUD and opioid use disorder (P suicide risk, especially among women, and may be important markers to consider including in suicide risk assessment strategies. None the less, other co-occurring psychiatric disorders may partially explain associations between SUDs and suicide, as well as the observed excess suicide risk associated with SUDs among women. Published 2017. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the
Carlson, Bonnie E.; Stromwall, Layne K.; Lietz, Cynthia A.
Increasing numbers of women are found in the military, and they are now performing roles very similar to those of male service members. More returning servicewomen and veterans have been exposed to stressful and traumatic experiences, such as combat and difficult living circumstances, and military sexual trauma is common. These experiences have…
that arise prior to making contact with veterans. Further, ongoing scheduling errors, such as incorrectly revising preferred dates when rescheduling ...primary care provider and support staff—a nurse care manager, clinical associate, and administrative clerk. Letter Page 2 GAO-16-328...appointments were canceled, and if so, whether and when they were rescheduled . We also obtained information on the dates
Defining the chronic fatigue syndrome [editorial]. Arch Intern Med. 1992;152:1569-1570. Straus S, Tosato G, Armstrong G, et al. Persisting illness and...catecholamine excretion and severity of PTSD symptoms in Vietnam combat veterans. J Nerv Ment Dis. 1992;180(5):321-325. Yitzhaki T, Solomon Z, Kotler M
Congressional Requesters December 2016 GAO-17-52 United States Government Accountability Office United States Government Accountability Office...VHA officials said not all facilities require onsite gynecologists and facilities may authorize gynecological services from non-VA providers. They...including previously closed combat positions, which could contribute to the increase in the women veteran population. See GAO, Military Personnel: DOD Is
Mott, Juliette M; Grubbs, Kathleen M; Sansgiry, Shubhada; Fortney, John C; Cully, Jeffrey A
This study evaluated change in rural and urban veterans' psychotherapy use during a period of widespread effort within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to engage rural veterans in mental health care. National VHA administrative databases were queried for patients receiving a new diagnosis of depression, anxiety, or posttraumatic stress disorder in fiscal years (FY) 2007 and 2010. Using the US Department of Agriculture Rural-Urban Continuum Codes, we identified urban (FY 2007: n = 192,347; FY 2010: n = 231,471) and rural (FY 2007: n = 72,923; FY 2010: n = 81,905) veterans. Veterans' psychotherapy use during the 12 months following diagnosis was assessed. From FY 2007 to 2010, the proportion of veterans receiving any psychotherapy increased from 17% to 22% for rural veterans and 24% to 28% for urban veterans. Rural veterans were less likely to receive psychotherapy across both fiscal years; however, the magnitude of this disparity decreased significantly from 2007 (odds ratio [OR] = 1.51) to 2010 (OR = 1.41). Similarly, although urban veterans received more psychotherapy sessions, urban-rural disparities in the receipt of 8 or more psychotherapy sessions decreased over the study period (2007: OR = 2.32; 2010: OR = 1.69). Rural and urban veterans are increasingly making use of psychotherapy, and rural-urban gaps in psychotherapy use are shrinking. These improvements suggest that recent VHA efforts to engage rural veterans in care have been successful at reducing differences between rural and urban veterans with respect to access and engagement in psychotherapy. © 2014 National Rural Health Association.
Castro-Vale, Ivone; Severo, Milton; Carvalho, Davide; Mota-Cardoso, Rui
Emotion recognition is very important for social interaction. Several mental disorders influence facial emotion recognition. War veterans and their offspring are subject to an increased risk of developing psychopathology. Emotion recognition is an important aspect that needs to be addressed in this population. To our knowledge, no test exists that is validated for use with war veterans and their offspring. The current study aimed to validate the JACFEE photo set to study facial emotion recognition in war veterans and their offspring. The JACFEE photo set was presented to 135 participants, comprised of 62 male war veterans and 73 war veterans' offspring. The participants identified the facial emotion presented from amongst the possible seven emotions that were tested for: anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise. A loglinear model was used to evaluate whether the agreement between the intended and the chosen emotions was higher than the expected. Overall agreement between chosen and intended emotions was 76.3% (Cohen kappa = 0.72). The agreement ranged from 63% (sadness expressions) to 91% (happiness expressions). The reliability by emotion ranged from 0.617 to 0.843 and the overall JACFEE photo set Cronbach alpha was 0.911. The offspring showed higher agreement when compared with the veterans (RR: 41.52 vs 12.12, p < 0.001), which confirms the construct validity of the test. The JACFEE set of photos showed good validity and reliability indices, which makes it an adequate instrument for researching emotion recognition ability in the study sample of war veterans and their respective offspring.
Full Text Available Emotion recognition is very important for social interaction. Several mental disorders influence facial emotion recognition. War veterans and their offspring are subject to an increased risk of developing psychopathology. Emotion recognition is an important aspect that needs to be addressed in this population. To our knowledge, no test exists that is validated for use with war veterans and their offspring. The current study aimed to validate the JACFEE photo set to study facial emotion recognition in war veterans and their offspring. The JACFEE photo set was presented to 135 participants, comprised of 62 male war veterans and 73 war veterans' offspring. The participants identified the facial emotion presented from amongst the possible seven emotions that were tested for: anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise. A loglinear model was used to evaluate whether the agreement between the intended and the chosen emotions was higher than the expected. Overall agreement between chosen and intended emotions was 76.3% (Cohen kappa = 0.72. The agreement ranged from 63% (sadness expressions to 91% (happiness expressions. The reliability by emotion ranged from 0.617 to 0.843 and the overall JACFEE photo set Cronbach alpha was 0.911. The offspring showed higher agreement when compared with the veterans (RR: 41.52 vs 12.12, p < 0.001, which confirms the construct validity of the test. The JACFEE set of photos showed good validity and reliability indices, which makes it an adequate instrument for researching emotion recognition ability in the study sample of war veterans and their respective offspring.
Lan, Chiao-Wen; Fiellin, David A.; Barry, Declan T.; Bryant, Kendall J.; Gordon, Adam J.; Edelman, E. Jennifer; Gaither, Julie R.; Maisto, Stephen A.; Marshall, Brandon D.L.
Background Substance use disorders (SUDs), which encompass alcohol and drug use disorders (AUDs, DUDs), constitute a major public health challenge among US veterans. SUDs are among the most common and costly of all health conditions among veterans. Objectives This study sought to examine the epidemiology of SUDs among US veterans, compare the prevalence of SUDs in studies using diagnostic and administrative criteria assessment methods, and summarize trends in the prevalence of SUDs reported in studies sampling US veterans over time. Methods Comprehensive electronic database searches were conducted. A total of 3,490 studies were identified. We analyzed studies sampling US veterans and reporting prevalence, distribution, and examining AUDs and DUDs. Results Of the studies identified, 72 met inclusion criteria. The studies were published between 1995 and 2013. Studies using diagnostic criteria reported higher prevalence of AUDs (32% vs. 10%) and DUDs (20% vs. 5%) than administrative criteria, respectively. Regardless of assessment method, both the lifetime and past year prevalence of AUDs in studies sampling US veterans has declined gradually over time. Conclusion The prevalence of SUDs reported in studies sampling US veterans are affected by assessment method. Given the significant public health problems of SUDs among US veterans, improved guidelines for clinical screening using validated diagnostic criteria to assess AUDs and DUDs in US veteran populations are needed. Scientific Significance These findings may inform VA and other healthcare systems in prevention, diagnosis, and intervention for SUDs among US veterans. PMID:26693830
Evans, Martin E; Kralovic, Stephen M; Simbartl, Loretta A; Freyberg, Ron W; Obrosky, D Scott; Roselle, Gary A; Jain, Rajiv
Implementation of a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Prevention Initiative was associated with significant declines in MRSA transmission and MRSA health care-associated infection rates in Veterans Affairs acute care facilities nationwide in the 33-month period from October 2007 through June 2010. Here, we show continuing declines in MRSA transmissions (P = .004 for trend, Poisson regression) and MRSA health care-associated infections (P < .001) from July 2010 through June 2012. The Veterans Affairs Initiative was associated with these effects, sustained over 57 months, in a large national health care system. Published by Mosby, Inc.
Mohamed, Somaia; Neale, Michael S; Rosenheck, Robert
There is a growing need for information on evidence-based practices that may potentially address needs of elderly people with severe mental illness (SMI), and more specifically on community-based services such as assertive community treatment (ACT). This study examines national evaluation data from fiscal year 2001-2005 from Veterans Affairs Mental Health Intensive Case Management (MHICM) program (N = 5,222), an ACT-based service model, to characterize the age distribution of participants and the distinctive needs, patterns of service delivery, and treatment outcomes for elderly veterans. Altogether, 24.8% of participants were 55-64 years; 7.4% 65-74 years; and 2.8% were older than 75. Veterans over 75 formed a distinct subgroup that had a later age of onset of primarily nonpsychotic illnesses without comorbid substance abuse and had experienced more limited lifetime hospital treatment than younger participants. Older veterans were less symptomatic and more satisfied with their social relationships than younger clients. They mostly live independently or in minimally restrictive housing, but they received less recovery-focused services and more crisis intervention and medical services. They thus do not appear to be young patients with SMI who have aged but rather constitute a distinct group with serious late-onset problems. It is possible that MHICM services keep them in the community and avoid costly nursing home placement while providing a respite service that reduces family burden. These data highlight the unique characteristics of older veterans receiving ACT-like services and the need to focus greater attention on recovery-oriented services as well as community support for this subgroup.
Washington, Donna L; Davis, Teri D; Der-Martirosian, Claudia; Yano, Elizabeth M
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common in women veterans (WVs), and associated with significant co-morbidity. Effective treatment is available; however, PTSD is often unrecognized. Identify PTSD prevalence and mental healthcare (MHC) use in a representative national WV sample. Cross-sectional, population-based 2008-2009 national survey of 3,611 WVs, weighted to the population. We screened for PTSD using a validated instrument, and also assessed demographic characteristics, health characteristics, and MHC use in the prior 12 months. Among those screening positive, we conducted multivariate logistic regression to identify independent predictors of MHC use. Overall, 13.0 % (95 % confidence interval [CI] 9.8-16.2) of WVs screened PTSD-positive. Veterans Health Administration (VA) healthcare was used by 31.1 % of PTSD-positives and 11.4 % of PTSD-negatives (phealth care (OR=0.2; 95 % CI 0.1-0.4) and household income below the federal poverty level (OR=0.2; 95 % CI 0.1-0.5) predicted nonuse. More than one in eight WVs screened positive for PTSD. Though a majority of VA-users received MHC, low income predicted nonuse. Only a minority of VA-nonusers received MHC. The majority of WVs use non-VA healthcare providers, who may be unaware of their veteran status and PTSD risk. VA outreach to educate VA-nonusers and their healthcare providers about WVs' PTSD risk and available evidence-based VA treatment options is one approach to extend the reach of VA MHC. Research to characterize barriers to VA MHC use for VA-nonusers and low income VA-users is warranted to better understand low service utilization, and to inform program development to engage more WVs in needed MHC.
Washington, Donna L; Sun, Su; Canning, Mark
Most veteran research is conducted in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare settings, although most veterans obtain healthcare outside the VA. Our objective was to determine the adequacy and relative contributions of Veterans Health Administration (VHA), Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), and Department of Defense (DOD) administrative databases for representing the U.S. veteran population, using as an example the creation of a sampling frame for the National Survey of Women Veterans. In 2008, we merged the VHA, VBA, and DOD databases. We identified the number of unique records both overall and from each database. The combined databases yielded 925,946 unique records, representing 51% of the 1,802,000 U.S. women veteran population. The DOD database included 30% of the population (with 8% overlap with other databases). The VHA enrollment database contributed an additional 20% unique women veterans (with 6% overlap with VBA databases). VBA databases contributed an additional 2% unique women veterans (beyond 10% overlap with other databases). Use of VBA and DOD databases substantially expands access to the population of veterans beyond those in VHA databases, regardless of VA use. Adoption of these additional databases would enhance the value and generalizability of a wide range of studies of both male and female veterans.
Dichter, Melissa E; Wagner, Clara; True, Gala
Women who have served in the military in the United States experience high rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) and non-partner sexual assault (SA). The military setting presents challenges and opportunities not experienced in other employment contexts that may compound the negative impacts of IPV/SA on women's lives. The purpose of this study was to explore the intersection of women's experiences of IPV/SA and military service through analysis of women veterans' narrative accounts. We conducted in-depth face-to-face qualitative interviews with 25 women veterans receiving primary care at a U.S. Veterans Affairs Medical Center. We draw upon Adler and Castro's (2013) Military Occupational Mental Health Model to frame our understanding of the impact of IPV/SA as a stressor in the military cultural context and to inform efforts to prevent, and support women service members who have experienced, these forms of violence. Our findings highlight the impact of IPV/SA on women's military careers, including options for entering and leaving military service, job performance, and opportunities for advancement. Women's narratives also reveal ways in which the military context constrains their options for responding to and coping with experiences of IPV/SA. These findings have implications for prevention of, and response to, intimate partner or sexual violence experienced by women serving in the military and underscore the need for both military and civilian communities to recognize and address the negative impact of such violence on women service members before, during, and after military service.
Noska, Amanda J; Belperio, Pamela S; Loomis, Timothy P; O'Toole, Thomas P; Backus, Lisa I
Veterans are disproportionately affected by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and hepatitis B virus (HBV). Homeless veterans are at particularly high risk for HIV, HCV, and HBV due to a variety of overlapping risk factors, including high rates of mental health disorders and substance use disorders. The prevalence of HIV, HCV, and HBV among homeless veterans nationally is currently unknown. This study describes national testing rates and prevalence of HIV, HCV, and HBV among homeless veterans. Using data from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Corporate Warehouse Data from 2015, we evaluated HIV, HCV, and HBV laboratory testing and infection confirmation rates and diagnoses on the Problem List for nonhomeless veterans and for veterans utilizing homeless services in 2015. Among 242740 homeless veterans in VA care in 2015, HIV, HCV, and HBV testing occurred in 63.8% (n = 154812), 78.1% (n = 189508), and 52.8% (n = 128262), respectively. The HIV population prevalence was 1.52% (3684/242740) among homeless veterans, compared with 0.44% (23797/5424685) among nonhomeless veterans. The HCV population prevalence among homeless veterans was 12.1% (29311/242740), compared with 2.7% (148079/5424685) among nonhomeless veterans, while the HBV population prevalence was 0.99% (2395/242740) for homeless veterans and 0.40% (21611/5424685) among nonhomeless veterans. To our knowledge this work represents the most comprehensive tested prevalence and population prevalence estimates of HIV, HCV, and HBV among homeless veterans nationally. The data demonstrate high prevalence of HIV, HCV, and HBV among homeless veterans, and reinforce the need for integrated healthcare services along with homeless programming. Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America 2017. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.
The effect of post-traumatic-stress-disorder on intra-operative analgesia in a veteran population during cataract procedures carried out using retrobulbar or topical anesthesia: a retrospective study.
Rapoport, Yuna; Wayman, Laura L; Chomsky, Amy S
A growing proportion of veterans treated at the Veterans Health Administration (VA) have a history of post-traumatic-stress-disorder (PTSD), and there exists a higher rate of PTSD amongst veterans than the general population. The purpose of this study is to determine the correlation between PTSD and intra-operative analgesia, intra-operative time, and anesthesia type for cataract surgery in a veteran population. Secondary objectives are to determine if patient age, and first or second eye surgery affect intra-operative pain control or are correlated with type of anesthesia modality. A retrospective study of 330 cataract surgeries performed by resident physicians between January and September 2012 at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville and Murfreesboro Campuses was completed. Three hundred and thirty veteran patients were selected if their cataract surgery was performed between January and September 2012. Combined cases were excluded. The primary outcome evaluated was intra-operative analgesia. Secondary outcomes included history of post-traumatic-stress-disorder, anesthesia type, first or second eye, pain control, intra-operative heart rate and blood pressure, age, and case complexity. Data was analyzed using an unpaired two-sample Welch's t-test assuming unequal variance and Z test of comparison of proportions. Patients with post-traumatic-stress-disorder reported higher pain scores, had longer operative times, and were more likely to have received a retrobulbar block. Operative time was not associated with an increased pain score, irrespective of anesthesia type, when controlled for PTSD. Complex cases had longer operative times, more sedation, and higher pain scores. P < 0.05 was used consistently. Post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety are more prevalent in the veteran population. Our data suggests that a history of post-traumatic-stress-disorder was correlated with higher pain scores, longer operative times
Neily, Julia; Chomsky, Amy; Orcutt, James; Paull, Douglas E; Mills, Peter D; Gilbert, Christina; Hemphill, Robin R; Gunnar, William
The study goals were to examine wrong intraocular lens (IOL) implant adverse events in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), identify root causes and contributing factors, and describe system changes that have been implemented to address this challenge. This study represents collaboration between the VHA's National Center for Patient Safety (NCPS) and the National Surgery Office (NSO). This report includes 45 wrong IOL implant surgery adverse events reported to established VHA NCPS and NSO databases between July 1, 2006, and June 31, 2014. There are approximately 50,000 eye implant procedures performed each year in the VHA. Wrong IOL implant surgery adverse events are reported by VHA facilities to the NCPS and the NSO. Two authors (A.C. and J.N.) coded the reports for event type (wrong lens or expired lens) and identified the primary contributing factor (coefficient κ = 0.837). A descriptive analysis was conducted, which included the reported yearly event rate. The main outcome measure was the reported wrong IOL implant surgery adverse events. There were 45 reported wrong IOL implant surgery adverse events. Between 2011 and June 30, 2014, there was a significant downward trend (P = 0.02, R = 99.7%) at a pace of -0.08 (per 10,000 cases) every year. The most frequently coded primary contributing factor was incomplete preprocedure time-out (n = 12) followed by failure to perform double check of preprocedural calculations based upon original data and implant read-back at the time the surgical eye implant was performed (n = 10). Preventing wrong IOL implant adverse events requires diligence beyond performance of the preprocedural time-out. In 2013, the VHA has modified policy to ensure double check of preprocedural calculations and implant read-back with positive impact. Continued analysis of contributing human factors and improved surgical team communication are warranted.
assess VHA’s employee performance management processes, we reviewed VA directives and handbooks , and procedures related to the performance...primary pay and classification system.30 VHA’s HR staff are classified as either an HR specialist, who manage , supervise, and deliver HR products ...Board. 815 C.F.R. § 430; Department of Veterans Affairs, Performance Management Systems, VA Handbook 5013, Part I. VHA Needs to Strengthen
... Administration; and briefings on health care for women Veterans, mental health, women Veterans' legislative... regarding the needs of women Veterans with respect to health care, rehabilitation, compensation, outreach... DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS Advisory Committee on Women Veterans; Notice of Meeting The...
Benyamini, Yael; Ein-Dor, Tsachi; Ginzburg, Karni; Solomon, Zahava
To examine the effects of combat stress reaction (CSR) and posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTS) on the level and trajectories of self-rated health (SRH) over 20 years after war exposure. A total of 675 veterans comprising two groups, a CSR group (n = 369) and a matched control group without CSR (n = 306), were assessed in a prospective longitudinal design, 1, 2, 3, and 20 years after their participation in the 1982 Lebanon War. SRH and PTS were assessed repeatedly, at each point of measurement. The CSR participants showed more impaired initial SRH than the controls. Although the CSR group showed an improvement in SRH over time, its SRH level remained lower than that of the control group in all 4 points in time. Initial levels of PTS were associated with more impaired SRH and lower improvement over time. In addition, increased levels of PTS in the first follow-up period were related to poorer SRH, in comparison to the predicted trajectory on the basis of CSR and initial PTS. Stress reaction to war trauma affected the trajectory of SRH over a 20-year period. Although the differences between veterans who had shown acute stress reaction and those who had not persisted over the entire period, there was slow improvement in SRH over time among the more impaired CSR group. PTS in the first years after the war slowed this improvement and thus played a key role in the relationship between war trauma and physical health.
Ball, Sherry L; Stevenson, Lauren D; Ladebue, Amy C; McCreight, Marina S; Lawrence, Emily C; Oestreich, Taryn; Lambert-Kerzner, Anne C
The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is adapting to meet the changing needs of our Veterans. VHA leaders are promoting quality improvement strategies including Lean Six Sigma (LSS). This study used LSS tools to evaluate the Veterans Choice Program (VCP), a program that aims to improve access to health care services for eligible Veterans by expanding health care options to non-VHA providers. LSS was utilized to assess the current process and efficiency patterns of the VCP at 3 VHA Medical Centers. LSS techniques were used to assess data obtained through semistructured interviews with Veterans, staff, and providers to describe and evaluate the VCP process by identifying wastes and defects. The LSS methodology facilitated the process of targeting priorities for improvement and constructing suggestions to close identified gaps and inefficiencies. Identified key process wastes included inefficient exchange of clinical information between stakeholders in and outside of the VHA; poor dissemination of VCP programmatic information; shortages of VCP-participating providers; duplication of appointments; declines in care coordination; and lack of program adaptability to local processes. Recommendations for improvement were formulated using LSS. This evaluation illustrates how LSS can be utilized to assess a nationally mandated health care program. By focusing on stakeholder, staff, and Veteran perspectives, process defects in the VCP were identified and improvement recommendations were made. However, the current LSS language used is not intuitive in health care and similar applications of LSS may consider using new language and goals adapted specifically for health care.
... Surveillance for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans) Under OMB Review AGENCY: Veterans Benefits Administration... a New Generation of U.S. Veterans Survey. OMB Control Number: OMB Control No. 2900-0722. Type of... Human Resources and Housing Branch, New Executive Office Building, Room 10235, Washington, DC 20503 (202...
Hoggatt, Katherine J; Jamison, Andrea L; Lehavot, Keren; Cucciare, Michael A; Timko, Christine; Simpson, Tracy L
We conducted a systematic literature review on substance misuse, abuse, and dependence in women veterans, including National Guard/reserve members. We identified 837 articles published between 1980 and 2013. Of 56 included studies, 32 reported rates of alcohol misuse, binge drinking, or other unhealthy alcohol use not meeting diagnostic criteria for abuse or dependence, and 33 reported rates of drug misuse or diagnosed alcohol or drug use disorders. Rates ranged from 4% to 37% for alcohol misuse and from 7% to 25% for binge drinking; among Veterans Health Administration (VA) health-care system outpatients, rates ranged from 3% to 16% for substance use disorder. Studies comparing women veterans and civilians reported no clear differences in binge or heavy drinking. Substance misuse rates were generally lower among women veterans than men veterans. Substance misuse was associated with higher rates of trauma, psychiatric and medical conditions, and increased mortality and suicide rates. Most studies included only VA patients, and many used only VA medical record data; therefore, the reported substance misuse rates likely do not reflect true prevalence. Rates also varied by assessment method, source of data, and the subgroups studied. Further efforts to develop epidemiologically valid prevalence estimates are needed to capture the true health burden of substance misuse in women veterans, particularly those not using VA care. 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.
Poor oral health for all older adults can result in higher risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and oral cancer. Findings from this study indicated older veterans needed to improve their oral hygiene habits but barriers to oral hygiene performance prevented them from receiving and performing oral hygiene measures.
Wadia, Roxanne J; Yao, Xiaopan; Deng, Yanhong; Li, Jia; Maron, Steven; Connery, Donna; Gunduz-Bruce, Handan; Rose, Michal G
There are limited data on the impact of mental health comorbidities (MHC) on stage at diagnosis and timeliness of cancer care. Axis I MHC affect approximately 30% of Veterans receiving care within the Veterans Affairs (VA) system. The purpose of this study was to compare stage at diagnosis and timeliness of care of solid tumor malignancies among Veterans with and without MHC. We performed a retrospective analysis of 408 charts of Veterans with colorectal, urothelial, and head/neck cancer diagnosed and treated at VA Connecticut Health Care System (VACHS) between 2008 and 2011. We collected demographic data, stage at diagnosis, medical and mental health co-morbidities, treatments received, key time intervals, and number of appointments missed. The study was powered to assess for stage migration of 15–20% from Stage I/II to Stage III/IV. There was no significant change in stage distribution for patients with and without MHC in the entire study group (p = 0.9442) and in each individual tumor type. There were no significant differences in the time intervals from onset of symptoms to initiation of treatment between patients with and without MHC (p = 0.1135, 0.2042 and 0.2352, respectively). We conclude that at VACHS, stage at diagnosis for patients with colorectal, urothelial and head and neck cancers did not differ significantly between patients with and without MHC. Patients with MHC did not experience significant delays in care. Our study indicates that in a medical system in which mental health is integrated into routine care, patients with Axis I MHC do not experience delays in cancer care
Full Text Available Studies aiming to identify if war veterans are at higher risk of suicide have often produced inconsistent results; this could be due to the complexity of comparisons and different methodological approaches. It should be noted that this contingent has many risk factors, such as stressful exposures, wounds, brain trauma and pain syndrome. Most recent observations confirm that veterans are really more likely to die of suicide as compared to the general population; they are also more likely to experience suicidal ideation and suffer from mental health problems. Suicides are more frequent in those who develop PTSD, depression and comorbid states due to war exposure. Combat stress and its’ frequency may be an important factor leading to suicide within the frame of the stress-vulnerability model. According to this model, the effects of stress may interact with social factors, interpersonal relations and psychological variables producing suicidal tendencies. Modern understanding of stress-vulnerability mechanisms based on genetic predispositions, early life development, level of exposure to stress and stress-reactivity together with interpersonal aspects may help to build more effective suicide prevention programs based on universal/selective/indicated prevention principles.
Rozanov, Vsevolod; Carli, Vladimir
Studies aiming to identify if war veterans are at higher risk of suicide have often produced inconsistent results; this could be due to the complexity of comparisons and different methodological approaches. It should be noted that this contingent has many risk factors, such as stressful exposures, wounds, brain trauma and pain syndrome. Most recent observations confirm that veterans are really more likely to die of suicide as compared to the general population; they are also more likely to experience suicidal ideation and suffer from mental health problems. Suicides are more frequent in those who develop PTSD, depression and comorbid states due to war exposure. Combat stress and its' frequency may be an important factor leading to suicide within the frame of the stress-vulnerability model. According to this model, the effects of stress may interact with social factors, interpersonal relations and psychological variables producing suicidal tendencies. Modern understanding of stress-vulnerability mechanisms based on genetic predispositions, early life development, level of exposure to stress and stress-reactivity together with interpersonal aspects may help to build more effective suicide prevention programs based on universal/selective/indicated prevention principles.
Pavuk, M. [SpecPro, Inc. (United States); Michalek, J.; Ketchum, N. [Air Force Research Laboratory, San Antonio, TX (United States); Akhtar, F. [The START Center, San Antonio, TX (United States)
The Air Force Health Study is a 20-year prospective study examining the health, mortality and reproductive outcomes in US Air Force veterans of Operation Ranch Hand who sprayed herbicides in Vietnam from 1962 to 1971. Comparison veterans flew or serviced C-130 transport aircraft in Southeast Asia (SEA) during the same time period but did not spray herbicides. They were stationed mostly in Taiwan, the Philippines, Guam, Japan, and Thailand and spent on average less than 30% of their SEA service in Vietnam. Comparison veterans also spent approximately 30% more time in SEA than Ranch Hand veterans. No increases in Ranch Hand cancer mortality and morbidity were found in earlier investigations, but a recent study contrasting cancer rates in Air Force veterans and in the general US (white male) population reported increases in cancer at all SEER sites, prostate cancer and melanoma in Ranch Hand veterans and cancer at all SEER sites and prostate cancer in Comparison veterans. Associations between dioxin exposure category and cancer were found after restriction to Ranch Hand veterans who served in SEA no more than 2 years and to those who spent all of their SEA service in Vietnam. Overall cancer incidence in the general population in countries of SEA is about half of that in the United States, but cancers of the oral cavity/nasopharynx and liver are more prevalent in this region. Here we examine in more detail whether years served in SEA had any effect on the risk of cancer among Comparison veterans.
Zubkoff, Lisa; Neily, Julia; Mills, Peter D; Borzecki, Ann; Shin, Marlena; Lynn, Marilyn M; Gunnar, William; Rosen, Amy
The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Virtual Breakthrough Series (VBTS) process was used in an eight-month (June 2011-January 2012) quality improvement (QI) project to improve care related to reducing postoperative respiratory failure. The VBTS collaborative drew on Patient Safety Indicator 11: Postoperative Respiratory Failure Rate to guide changes in care at the bedside. Sixteen Veterans Health Administration hospitals, each representing a regional Veterans Integrated Service Network, participated in the QI project. During the prework phase (initial two months), hospitals formed multidisciplinary teams, selected measures related to their goals, and collected baseline data. The six-month action phase included group conference calls in which the faculty presented clinical background on the topic, discussed evidence-based processes of care, and/or presented content regarding reducing postoperative respiratory failure. During a final, six-month continuous improvement and spread phase, teams were to continue implementing changes as part of their usual processes. The six most commonly reported interventions to reduce postoperative respiratory failure focused on improving incentive spirometer use, documenting implementation of targeted interventions, oral care, standardized orders, early ambulation, and provider education. A few teams reported reduced ICU readmissions for respiratory failure. The VBTS collaborative helped teams implement process changes to help reduce postoperative respiratory complications. Teams reported initial success at implementing site-specific improvements using real-time data. The VBTS model shows promise for knowledge sharing and efficient multifacility improvement efforts, although long-term sustainability and testing in these and other settings need to be examined.
Blosnich, John R; Marsiglio, Mary C; Gao, Shasha; Gordon, Adam J; Shipherd, Jillian C; Kauth, Michael; Brown, George R; Fine, Michael J
To examine whether indicators of community- and state-level lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality are associated with transgender veterans' mental health. We extracted Veterans Administration data for patients who were diagnosed with gender identity disorder, had at least 1 visit in 2013, and lived in a zip code with a Municipality Equality Index score (n = 1640). We examined the associations of whether a state included transgender status in employment nondiscrimination laws and in hate crimes laws with mood disorders; alcohol, illicit drug, and tobacco use disorders; posttraumatic stress disorder; and suicidal ideation or attempt. Nearly half (47.3%) of the sample lived in states with employment discrimination protection, and 44.8% lived in states with hate crimes protection. Employment nondiscrimination protection was associated with 26% decreased odds of mood disorders (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.74; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.59, 0.93) and 43% decreased odds of self-directed violence (AOR = 0.57; 95% CI = 0.34, 0.95). Understanding lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender social stressors can inform treatment and care coordination for transgender populations.
Frakt, Austin B; Pizer, Steven D; Hendricks, Ann M
Medicare and the Veterans Health Administration (VA) both finance large outpatient prescription drug programs, though in very different ways. In the ongoing debate on how to control Medicare spending, some suggest that Medicare should negotiate directly with drug manufacturers, as the VA does. In this article we relate the role of interest groups to policy differences between Medicare and the VA and, in doing so, explain why such a large change to the Medicare drug program is unlikely. We argue that key policy differences are attributable to stable differences in interest group involvement. While this stability makes major changes in Medicare unlikely, it suggests the possibility of leveraging VA drug purchasing to achieve savings in Medicare. This could be done through a VA-administered drug-only benefit for Medicare-enrolled veterans. Such a partnership could incorporate key elements of both programs: capacity to accept large numbers of enrollees (like Medicare) and leverage to negotiate prescription drug prices (like the VA). Moreover, it could be implemented at no cost to the VA while achieving savings for Medicare and beneficiaries.
Findley, Patricia; Shen, Chan; Sambamoorthi, Usha
This study investigated the association between multimorbidity and persistent depression among cohorts of veterans with diabetes, heart disease, or hypertension. The retrospective longitudinal analysis used national administrative data on around 1.38 million Veteran Health Administration clinic users merged with Medicare claims data.…
Mansfield, Alyssa J; Greenbaum, Mark A; Schaper, Kim M; Banducci, Anne N; Rosen, Craig S
This study examined whether a co-occurring substance use disorder contributed to disparities in receipt of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) specialty care or psychotherapy. Logistic regression, controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, was used to examine predictors of PTSD care among 424,211 veterans with confirmed PTSD (two or more PTSD diagnosis encounters) who accessed care in a VHA facility between fiscal years 2009 and 2010. Overall, 16% of veterans had PTSD and a co-occurring substance use disorder diagnosis. In adjusted analyses, veterans with a co-occurring substance use disorder were more likely than veterans with PTSD alone to receive any outpatient PTSD specialty care and complete eight or more sessions of outpatient psychotherapy within 14 weeks, but they were less likely to be treated in inpatient PTSD specialty units. Co-occurring substance use disorders did not appear to hinder receipt of outpatient specialty PTSD treatment or of sufficient psychotherapy among VHA-enrolled veterans.
Norman, Sonya B; Rosen, Jay; Himmerich, Sara; Myers, Ursula S; Davis, Brittany; Browne, Kendall C; Piland, Neill
According to recent estimates, over 1 million Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) Veterans are utilizing the post-9/11 GI Bill to pursue higher education. Data collected by the Department of Defense suggests that greater than 17% of returning Veterans may suffer from mental and physical health disorders, which can negatively affect school performance. The current study explored student Veterans' perceived facilitators and barriers to achieving academic goals. Thirty-one student Veterans completed self-report measures and interviews. Results suggested that Veterans that were reporting problems or symptoms in one mental or physical health domain were likely to be reporting symptoms or problems in others as well. The interview data were coded, and three overarching themes related to barriers and facilitators emerged: person features (e.g., discipline and determination, symptoms and stressors), institutional structure (i.e., what schools and the Department of Veterans Affairs do that was perceived to help or hinder student Veteran success), and policy concerns (i.e., how the structure of the GI Bill affects student Veteran school experience). Results from this research indicate the need for larger studies and program development efforts aimed at enhancing academic outcomes for Veterans.
... DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS [OMB Control No. 2900-0728] Proposed Information Collection (Operation Enduring Freedom/ Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans Health Needs Assessment) Activities Under OMB....'' SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Title: Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans Health Needs...
..., Office of Health Equity, and a special panel discussion with Center for Women Veterans, Center for Faith... (VBA), Center for Minority Veterans, Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, Veterans Health...
Haagen, Joris F G; van Rijn, Allison; Knipscheer, Jeroen W; van der Aa, Niels; Kleber, Rolf J
Dissociation is a prevalent phenomenon among veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that may interfere with the effectiveness of treatment. This study aimed to replicate findings of a dissociative PTSD subtype, to identify corresponding patterns in coping style, symptom type, and symptom severity, and to investigate its impact on post-traumatic symptom improvement. Latent profile analysis (LPA) was applied to baseline data from 330 predominantly (97%) male treatment-seeking veterans (mean age 39.5 years) with a probable PTSD. Multinomial logistic models were used to identify predictors of dissociative PTSD. Eighty veterans with PTSD that commenced with psychotherapy were invited for a follow-up measure after 6 months. The majority (n = 64, 80% response rate) completed the follow-up measure. Changes in post-traumatic stress between baseline and follow-up were explored as a continuous distal outcome. Latent profile analysis revealed four distinct patient profiles: 'low' (12.9%), 'moderate' (33.2%), 'severe' (45.1%), and 'dissociative' (8.8%) PTSD. The dissociative PTSD profile was characterized by more severe pathology levels, though not post-traumatic reactions symptom severity. Veterans with dissociative PTSD benefitted equally from PTSD treatment as veterans with non-dissociative PTSD with similar symptom severity. Within a sample of veterans with PTSD, a subsample of severely dissociative veterans was identified, characterized by elevated severity levels on pathology dimensions. The dissociative PTSD subtype did not negatively impact PTSD treatment. The present findings confirmed the existence of a distinct subgroup veterans that fit the description of dissociative PTSD. Patients with dissociative PTSD subtype symptoms uniquely differed from patients with non-dissociative PTSD in the severity of several psychopathology dimensions. Dissociative and non-dissociative PTSD patients with similar post-traumatic severity levels showed similar levels of
Jaramillo, Carlos A; Eapen, Blessen C; McGeary, Cindy A; McGeary, Donald D; Robinson, Jedediah; Amuan, Megan; Pugh, Mary Jo
To describe the prevalence and persistence of headache and associated conditions in an inception cohort of U.S. veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans (IAV) suffer from persistent and difficult-to-treat headaches that have been found to co-occur with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other deployment related comorbidities. This longitudinal retrospective cohort study used data from the national Veterans Health Administration (VA) data repository for IAV who first received VA care in 2008 (baseline) and also received care each year in 2009, 2010, and 2011. We used ICD-9-CM codes, to identify those treated for headache each year (2008-2011). Individuals with headache diagnosed each year were classified as having persistent headache. We also identified comorbidities that may be associated with baseline headache using algorithms validated for use with ICD-9-CM codes. Comorbidities included TBI, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and conditions associated with these diagnoses (anxiety, memory/attention/cognition, neck pain, tinnitus/hyperacusis, photosensitivity/photo blurring, insomnia, malaise/fatigue, and vertigo/dizziness). Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to determine characteristics associated with baseline headache as well as those associated with persistent headache. Among all IAV, 38,426 received their first year of VA care in 2008 and had care each year 2009-2011: 13.7% of these were diagnosed with headache in 2008. Veterans diagnosed with headache in 2008 were more likely than those without a headache diagnosis to also have a diagnosis of TBI alone (adjusted odds ratios [AOR] 6.75; 95% CI 5.79-7.86), TBI + depression (AOR 7.09; 95% CI 5.23-9.66), TBI + PTSD (AOR 10.16; 95% CI 8.96-11.53), TBI + PTSD + depression (AOR 9.40; 95% CI 8.12-10.09), and neck pain (AOR 2.44; 95% CI 2.14-2.77). Among those with headache diagnosis in 2008, 24.3% had a headache diagnosis each of the
Koenig, Kristi L
The terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 led to the largest US Government transformation since the formation of the Department of Defense following World War II. More than 22 different agencies, in whole or in part, and >170,000 employees were reorganized to form a new Cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with the primary mission to protect the American homeland. Legislation enacted in November 2002 transferred the entire Federal Emergency Management Agency and several Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) assets to DHS, including the Office of Emergency Response, and oversight for the National Disaster Medical System, Strategic National Stockpile, and Metropolitan Medical Response System. This created a potential separation of "health" and "medical" assets between the DHS and HHS. A subsequent presidential directive mandated the development of a National Incident Management System and an all-hazard National Response Plan. While no Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) assets were targeted for transfer, the VA remains the largest integrated healthcare system in the nation with important support roles in homeland security that complement its primary mission to provide care to veterans. The Emergency Management Strategic Healthcare Group (EMSHG) within the VA's medical component, the Veteran Health Administration (VHA), is the executive agent for the VA's Fourth Mission, emergency management. In addition to providing comprehensive emergency management services to the VA, the EMSHG coordinates medical back-up to the Department of Defense, and assists the public via the National Disaster Medical System and the National Response Plan. This article describes the VA's role in homeland security and disasters, and provides an overview of the ongoing organizational and operational changes introduced by the formation of the new DHS. Challenges and opportunities for public health are highlighted.
Department of Veterans Affairs — This report summarizes the history of women Veterans in the military and as Veterans. It profiles the characteristics of women Veterans in 2015, and illustrates how...
Assistance Crosswalk websites Transition GPS National Career Readiness Certificate Post Traumatic Stress Credits (PDF) Fidelity Bonding Program National Career Readiness (PDF) Veteran Recruitment State/Federal veteran recruitment process Military Veteran Employment Guide Veterans Hiring Toolkit Other Information
Arden, Rosalind; Gottfredson, Linda S.; Miller, Geoffrey
We suggest that an over-arching "fitness factor" (an index of general genetic quality that predicts survival and reproductive success) partially explains the observed associations between health outcomes and intelligence. As a proof of concept, we tested this idea in a sample of 3654 US Vietnam veterans aged 31-49 who completed five cognitive…
Sales, Mariscelle M; Cunningham, Francesca E; Glassman, Peter A; Valentino, Michael A; Good, Chester B
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Pharmacy Benefits Management Strategic Healthcare Group (VA PBM) oversees the formulary for the entire VA system, which serves more than 4 million veterans and provides more than 108 million prescriptions per year. Since its establishment in 1995, the VA PBM has managed pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical-related policies, including drug safety and efficacy evaluations, pharmacologic management algorithms, and criteria for drug use. These evidence-based practices promote, optimize, and assist VA providers with the safe and appropriate use of pharmaceuticals while allowing for formulary decisions that can result in substantial cost savings. The VA PBM also has utilized various contracting techniques to standardize generic agents as well as specific drugs and drug classes (eg, antihistamines, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, alpha-blockers, and 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors [statins]). These methods have enabled the VA to save approximately dollar 1.5 billion since 1996 even as drug expenditures continued to rise from roughly dollar 1 billion in fiscal year (FY) 1996 to more than dollar 3 billion in FY 2003. Furthermore, the VA PBM has established an outcomes research section to undertake quality-improvement and safety initiatives that ultimately monitor and determine the clinical impact of formulary decisions on the VA system nationwide. The experiences of this pharmacy benefits program, including clinical and contracting processes/procedures and their impact on the VA healthcare system, are described.
Fortney, John C; Curran, Geoffrey M; Hunt, Justin B; Lu, Liya; Eisenberg, Daniel; Valenstein, Marcia
A Web-based survey examined treatment seeking among community college students to inform the design of engagement interventions. Veteran and civilian community college students (N=765) were screened for mental disorders and reported perceptions of treatment need, effectiveness, and stigma, as well as service use. Regression analysis identified predictors of pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy use. Of the 511 students who screened positive for a current mental disorder or reported a perceived need for treatment (149 veterans and 362 civilians), 30% reported past-year use of psychotropic medications. Predictors were perceived treatment need (odds ratio [OR]=7.81, p<.001) and the perception that psychotropic medications are effective (OR=3.38, p=.012). Eleven percent of participants reported past-year psychotherapy use, and predictors were a positive screen for posttraumatic stress disorder (OR=2.78, p=.04) and poorer financial status. Modifiable barriers, including perceived need for and effectiveness of treatment, were correlated with pharmacotherapy use and should be targeted by engagement interventions.
Full Text Available mHealth tools to help people manage chronic illnesses have surged in popularity, but evidence of their effectiveness remains mixed. The aim of this study was to address a gap in the mHealth and health psychology literatures by investigating how individual differences in psychological traits are associated with mHealth effectiveness. Drawing from regulatory mode theory, we tested the role of locomotion and assessment in explaining why mHealth tools are effective for some but not everyone. A 13-week pilot study investigated the effectiveness of an mHealth app in improving health behaviors among older veterans (n = 27 with poorly controlled Type 2 diabetes. We developed a gamified mHealth tool (DiaSocial aimed at encouraging tracking of glucose control, exercise, nutrition, and medication adherence. Important individual differences in longitudinal trends of adherence, operationalized as points earned for healthy behavior, over the course of the 13-week study period were found. Specifically, low locomotion was associated with unchanging levels of adherence during the course of the study. In contrast, high locomotion was associated with generally stronger adherence although it exhibited a quadratic longitudinal trend. In addition, high assessment was associated with a marginal, positive trend in adherence over time while low assessment was associated with a marginal, negative trend. Next, we examined the relationship between greater adherence and improved clinical outcomes, finding that greater adherence was associated with greater reductions in glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c levels. Findings from the pilot study suggest that mHealth technologies can help older adults improve their diabetes management, but a "one size fits all" approach may yield suboptimal outcomes.
Bonar, Erin E.; Bohnert, Kipling M.; Walters, Heather M.; Ganoczy, Dara; Valenstein, Marcia
Objective To compare mental health symptoms and service utilization among returning student and nonstudent Service Members/Veterans (SM/Vs). Participants SM/Vs (N=1439) were predominately white (83%) men (92%); half were over age 30 (48%) and 24% were students. Methods SM/Vs completed surveys six months post-deployment (October 2011–July 2013). Results Students and nonstudent SM/Vs did not differ in positive screens for depression, anxiety, hazardous drinking, or Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Students (n=81) and nonstudents (n=265) with mental health symptoms had low levels of mental health service use (e.g., VA, civilian, or military facilities), at 47% and 57% respectively. Fewer students used VA mental health services. Common barriers to treatment-seeking included not wanting treatment on military records and embarrassment. Conclusions Like other returning SM/Vs, student SM/Vs have unmet mental health needs. The discrepancy between potential need and treatment-seeking suggests that colleges might be helpful in further facilitating mental health service use for student SM/Vs. PMID:25337770
A substantial proportion of hearing loss in the United States is attributable to employment-related exposure to noise. Among military veterans, the most common service-connected disabilities are hearing impairments, suggesting that occupational noise exposure during military service might cause more veterans to have hearing loss than nonveterans. However, a recent analysis of data from the 1993-1995 Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study did not find significant differences between the two groups. To further investigate hearing loss among veterans, specifically the prevalence of severe hearing impairment (SHI), data from the 2010 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to the Current Population Survey (CPS) were analyzed. This report describes the results of those analyses, which indicated that the prevalence of SHI among veterans was significantly greater than among nonveterans. Veterans were 30% more likely to have SHI than nonveterans after adjusting for age and current occupation, and veterans who served in the United States or overseas during September 2001-March 2010, the era of overseas contingency operations (including Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom), were four times more likely than nonveterans to have SHI. These findings suggest a need for increased emphasis on improving military hearing conservation programs (HCPs) and on hearing loss surveillance in military and veterans' health systems.
... Administration, and the Women Veterans Health Strategic Health Care Group; and briefings on mental health, women Veterans' legislative issues, women Veterans' research, rural health, and homeless initiatives for women... the needs of women Veterans with respect to health care, rehabilitation, compensation, outreach, and...
Full Text Available ... for help. Bittersweet More Videos from Veterans Health Administration Embedded YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/v/ ... the Scenes see more videos from Veterans Health Administration Be There: Help Save a Life see more ...
Full Text Available ... out for help. Bittersweet More Videos from Veterans Health Administration Embedded YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/ ... Behind the Scenes see more videos from Veterans Health Administration Be There: Help Save a Life see ...
Schumm, Walter R; Reppert, Earl J; Jurich, Anthony P; Bollman, Stephan R; Webb, Farrell J; Castelo, Carlos S; Stever, James C; Kaufman, Mark; Deng, Liang-Yu; Krehbiel, Michelle; Owens, Barbara L; Hall, Carolyn A; Brown, Beverlyn F Cay; Lash, Jeanne F; Fink, Carol J; Crow, Janet R; Bonjour, Gabriele N
Data from a 1996-1997 survey of approximately 700 Reserve Component male veterans indicate that the consumption of pyridostigmine bromide pills, used as a pretreatment for potential exposure to the nerve agent Soman, was a significant predictor of declines in reported subjective health status after the war, even after controlling for a number of other possible factors. Reported reactions to vaccines and other medications also predicted declines in subjective health. While higher military rank generally predicted better health during and after the war, educational attainment, minority status, number of days in theater, and age generally did not predict changes in subjective health. Although servicemembers were directed to take three pills a day, veterans reported a range of compliance--less than a fourth (24%) followed the medical instructions compared to 61% who took fewer than three pills daily and 6% who took six or more pills a day. Implications for use of pyridostigmine bromide are discussed.
Lisi, Anthony J; Salsbury, Stacie A; Hawk, Cheryl; Vining, Robert D; Wallace, Robert B; Branson, Richard; Long, Cynthia R; Burgo-Black, A Lucille; Goertz, Christine M
The purpose of this study was to develop an integrated care pathway for doctors of chiropractic, primary care providers, and mental health professionals who manage veterans with low back pain, with or without mental health comorbidity, within Department of Veterans Affairs health care facilities. The research method used was a consensus process. A multidisciplinary investigative team reviewed clinical guidelines and Veterans Affairs pain and mental health initiatives to develop seed statements and care algorithms to guide chiropractic management and collaborative care of veterans with low back pain. A 5-member advisory committee approved initial recommendations. Veterans Affairs-based panelists (n = 58) evaluated the pathway via e-mail using a modified RAND/UCLA methodology. Consensus was defined as agreement by 80% of panelists. The modified Delphi process was conducted in July to December 2016. Most (93%) seed statements achieved consensus during the first round, with all statements reaching consensus after 2 rounds. The final care pathway addressed the topics of informed consent, clinical evaluation including history and examination, screening for red flags, documentation, diagnostic imaging, patient-reported outcomes, adverse event reporting, chiropractic treatment frequency and duration standards, tailored approaches to chiropractic care in veteran populations, and clinical presentation of common mental health conditions. Care algorithms outlined chiropractic case management and interprofessional collaboration and referrals between doctors of chiropractic and primary care and mental health providers. This study offers an integrative care pathway that includes chiropractic care for veterans with low back pain. Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Harnish, Autumn; Corrigan, Patrick; Byrne, Thomas; Pinals, Debra A; Rodrigues, Stephanie; Smelson, David
This pilot study examined whether substance use or mental illness was more stigmatizing among individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse problems. This study included 48 individuals with co-occurring substance use and mental health problems enrolled in a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services funded treatment program. Subjects received a baseline assessment that included addiction, mental health, and stigma measures. The sample consisted primarily of White males with an average age of 38 years. Substance abuse was found to be more stigmatizing than mental illness, F(1, 47) = 14.213, p stigma varied across four different levels of stigma (Aware, Agree, Apply, and Harm), F(2.099, 98.675) = 117.883, p stigma was also significant, F(2.41, 113.284) = 20.250, p stigma between types varied across levels of stigma. Post hoc tests found a significant difference between all levels of stigma except for the comparison between Apply and Harm. Reported stigma was significantly higher for substance abuse than mental illness at the Aware and Agree levels. In addition, pairwise comparisons found significant differences between all levels of stigma with the exception of the comparison between Apply and Harm, indicating a pattern whereby reported stigma generally decreased from the first level (Aware stage) to subsequent levels. These results have important implications for treatmen