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Reiber GE, Koepsell TD, Maynard C, Haas LB, Boyko EJ. Diabetes in nonveterans, veterans, and veterans receiving Department of Veterans Affairs health care. Diabetes Care. 2004 May 1; 27 Suppl 2:B3-9.
OBJECTIVE: To compare behavioral risk factors and health and disease characteristics among three groups of adults with diabetes: nonveterans, veterans not receiving Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care, and veterans using VA services. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Two data sources were used to describe the veteran population. First, the 2000 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) characterized the U.S. adult population by preventive health practices and risk behaviors linked to chronic and preventable diseases. New to the 2000 survey were questions on veteran status, which were administered in all states. Second, VA administrative and veterans benefits data were analyzed to describe comorbidity, education services, and veterans benefits. RESULTS: The estimated prevalence of diabetes in male veterans receiving VA care was 16%. Male veterans with diabetes using VA care were more likely to be nonwhite, not employed, have lower income, lower health status, and more activity limitations than male veterans not using these services. Computerized records indicate VA users with diabetes also had high concurrent comorbidity. Frequency of VA diabetes and preventive care services, as measured by selected quality indicators, was equivalent to or higher than the levels reported by veterans not receiving VA care and nonveterans. In addition to health care, nearly one-fourth of veterans with diabetes also received monthly awards for compensation and pension. CONCLUSIONS: Males receiving VA care with self-reported diabetes indicated receiving preventive care services at equivalent or higher levels than their counterparts receiving care outside the VA and nonveterans.