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Veterans Affairs and Rural Community Providers' Perspectives on Interorganizational Care Coordination: A Qualitative Analysis.

Miller C, Gurewich D, Garvin L, Pugatch M, Koppelman E, Pendergast J, Harrington K, Clark JA. Veterans Affairs and Rural Community Providers' Perspectives on Interorganizational Care Coordination: A Qualitative Analysis. The Journal of rural health : official journal of the American Rural Health Association and the National Rural Health Care Association. 2021 Mar 1; 37(2):417-425.

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OBJECTIVE: To investigate challenges in care coordination between US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) clinics and community providers serving rural veterans. METHODS: We completed qualitative interviews in 2017-2018 with a geographically diverse sample of 57 VA and community staff. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. We used Rapid Qualitative Inquiry (RQI) to guide analyses. RESULTS: Results suggested 5 pivotal domains related to interorganizational care coordination at these sites: organizational mechanisms; organizational culture; relational coordination; contextual factors; and the role of the third party administrators charged with management of scheduling and reimbursement of community services through recent legislation. Across these domains, strategies to bridge gaps between organizations (eg, contracts with third party administrators, development of VA-based community care offices, provision of boundary-spanning staff) at times exacerbated coordination challenges. CONCLUSIONS: Steps taken to improve interorganizational care coordination between VA and community clinics may inadvertently complicate an already complex process. Our findings emphasize the importance of attending to key contextual barriers in coordinating care for rural veterans, and they illustrate the value of fundamental structural and relational approaches to enhancing such care coordination.

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