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Coordinating women's preventive health care for rural veterans.

Kinney RL, Haskell S, Relyea MR, DeRycke EC, Walker L, Bastian LA, Mattocks KM. Coordinating women's preventive health care for rural veterans. The Journal of rural health : official journal of the American Rural Health Association and the National Rural Health Care Association. 2022 Jun 1; 38(3):630-638.

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PURPOSE: As the number of women veterans receiving care from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) continues to increase, so does the need to access gender-specific preventive health care services through the VHA. In rural areas, women veterans are the numeric minority, so many preventive screenings are performed outside of the VA by community providers. As the numbers of veterans utilizing both VHA and non-VHA providers for their preventive care continue to increase, so does the need to coordinate this care. This research examines the role of the Women Veterans' Care Coordinator (WVCC) at rural facilities and their perceptions of coordinating preventive care. METHODS: Between March and July 2019, semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with WVCCs at 26 rural VA facilities. Each interview was digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were loaded into Atlas.ti for further analysis. Once the codes were refined, the investigators coded the 26 interviews independently and conferred to achieve consensus on the underlying themes. FINDINGS: Five themes arose from the WVCC interviews: (1) Rural women veterans have varying needs of coordination; (2) Fragmented communication between the VA and non-VA care settings hinders effective coordination; (3) Difficulties in prioritizing rural care coordination; (4) Care coordination impacts patient care; and (5) WVCC recommendations to improve rural care coordination. CONCLUSIONS: The recent addition of WVCCs to rural facilities has expanded the VA's reach to veterans living in the most rural areas. As a result, many of these women are now receiving timely, quality, and coordinated health care.

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