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Resnick A, Zeliadt SB, Ganz DA, Moucheraud C, Chuang E, Yano EM, Taylor SL. Changes in Use of Complementary and Integrative Health Therapies at the Veterans Affairs: Findings from a Whole Health System Pilot Program. Journal of integrative and complementary medicine. 2023 Mar 16.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) launched a Whole Health System pilot program in 18 VA "Flagship" medical centers in 2018 in part to expand the provision of complementary and integrative health (CIH) therapies. A longitudinal quasi-experimental design was used to examine Veterans'' use of at least 1 of 12 CIH therapies 2 years after initiation of the Flagship pilot program compared with the year before the program started. The sample included Veterans with chronic musculoskeletal pain with at least one visit to a VA primary care, mental health care, or pain clinic in each of the 3 study years. A population-average logit model was used to measure changes in the percentage of Veterans using at least one the CIH therapies over time. Among Veterans with chronic musculoskeletal pain receiving health care at Flagship sites, 9.7% used a CIH therapy before the Flagship program initiation, whereas 14.2% used a therapy in the second year of the program (46.0% increase). In comparison, CIH therapy use among Veterans at non-Flagship sites increased from 10.3% to 12.0% over the same period (16.5% increase). Results from the population-average logit model show that Veterans at Flagship sites were significantly more likely to be CIH therapy users in the first (? < 0.001) and second (? < 0.001) years of the implementation compared with non-Flagship sites. The Flagship pilot program was successful in terms of increasing the use of CIH therapies among Veterans with chronic musculoskeletal pain compared with non-Flagship sites. The Whole Health System implementation that included financial incentives, education, and other support to 18 VA "Flagship" medical centers helped to increase the use of CIH therapies in the VA. Future research should examine which of these efforts were most effective in expanding CIH therapy provision.