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Jones AL, Gordon AJ, Gabrielian SE, Montgomery AE, Blosnich JR, Varley AL, deRussy AJ, Austin EL, Hoge AE, Kim YI, Gelberg L, Kertesz SG. Perceptions of Care Coordination Among Homeless Veterans Receiving Medical Care in the Veterans Health Administration and Community Care Settings: Results From a National Survey. Medical care. 2021 Jun 1; 59(6):504-512.
BACKGROUND: Initiatives to expand Veterans'' access to purchased health care outside Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facilities ("community care") present care coordination challenges for Veterans experiencing homelessness. OBJECTIVE: Among Veterans with homeless experiences, to evaluate community care use and satisfaction, and compare perceptions of care coordination among Veterans using VHA services and community care to those using VHA services without community care. RESEARCH DESIGN: Cross-sectional analysis of responses to a 2018 mailed survey. SUBJECTS: VHA outpatients with homeless experiences. MEASURES: Self-reported use of community care, Likert-style ratings of satisfaction with that care, and Access/Coordination experiences from the Primary Care Quality-Homeless (PCQ-H) survey. RESULTS: Of 4777 respondents, 1325 (26.7%) reported using community care; most of this subsample affirmed satisfaction with the community care they received (83%) and its timeliness (75%). After covariate adjustment, Veteran characteristics associated with greater community care use included female sex, being of retirement age and nonmarried, and having higher education, more financial hardship, = 3 chronic conditions, psychological distress, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Satisfaction with community care was lower among patients with travel barriers, psychological distress, and less social support. Compared with those using the VHA without community care, Veterans using VHA services and community care were more likely to report unfavorable access/coordination experiences [odds ratio (OR) = 1.34, confidence interval (CI) = 1.15-1.57]. This included hassles following referral (OR = 1.37, CI = 1.14-1.65) and perceived delays in receiving health care (OR = 1.38, CI = 1.19-1.61). CONCLUSIONS: Veterans with homeless experiences value community care options. Potential access benefits are balanced with risks of unfavorable coordination experiences for vulnerable Veterans with limited resources.