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Vanneman ME, Yoon J, Singer SJ, Wagner TH, Goldstein MK, Hu J, Boothroyd D, Greene L, Zulman DM. Anticipating VA/non-VA care coordination demand for Veterans at high risk for hospitalization. Medicine. 2022 Feb 18; 101(7):e28864.
U.S. Veterans Affairs (VA) patients'' multi-system use can create challenges for VA clinicians who are responsible for coordinating Veterans'' use of non-VA care, including VA-purchased care ("Community Care") and Medicare.To examine the relationship between drive distance and time-key eligibility criteria for Community Care-and VA reliance (proportion of care received in VA versus Medicare and Community Care) among Veterans at high risk for hospitalization. We used prepolicy data to anticipate the impact of the 2014 Choice Act and 2018 Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act (MISSION Act), which expanded access to Community Care.Cross-sectional analysis using fractional logistic regressions to examine the relationship between a Veteran''s reliance on VA for outpatient primary, mental health, and other specialty care and their drive distance/time to a VA facility.Thirteen thousand seven hundred three Veterans over the age of 65?years enrolled in VA and fee-for-service Medicare in federal fiscal year 2014 who were in the top 10th percentile for hospitalization risk.Key explanatory variables were patients'' drive distance to VA? > 40 miles (Choice Act criteria) and drive time to VA? = 30?minutes for primary and mental health care and = 60?minutes for specialty care (MISSION Act criteria).Veterans at high risk for hospitalization with drive distance eligibility had increased odds of an outpatient specialty care visit taking place in VA when compared to Veterans who did not meet Choice Act eligibility criteria (odds ratio? = 1.10, 95% confidence interval 1.05-1.15). However, drive time eligibility (MISSION Act criteria) was associated with significantly lower odds of an outpatient specialty care visit taking place in VA (odds ratio? = 0.69, 95% confidence interval 0.67, 0.71). Neither drive distance nor drive time were associated with reliance for outpatient primary care or mental health care.VA patients who are at high risk for hospitalization may continue to rely on VA for outpatient primary care and mental health care despite access to outside services, but may increase use of outpatient specialty care in the community in the MISSION era, increasing demand for multi-system care coordination.