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Associations between childbirth and women veterans' VA and non-VA Hospitalizations for major diagnostic categories.

West AN, Lee PW. Associations between childbirth and women veterans' VA and non-VA Hospitalizations for major diagnostic categories. Military medicine. 2013 Jan 1; 178(11):1250-5.

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Women Veterans enrolled in Veterans Affairs (VA) health care almost always use non-VA hospitals for childbirth, making it more likely they will use non-VA hospitals for other needs, as well. We compared VA and non-VA hospitalizations obtained by VA enrollees in seven states from 2004 through 2007 to determine whether women aged 18 to 44 were more likely to use VA or non-VA care for diagnoses in certain major categories, and how this use differed between women who did or did not have any pregnancy/childbirth admissions during the 4 years. We found that women were hospitalized much more in non-VA than in VA hospitals, though they were relatively more likely to use VA hospitals for mental illness, digestive system diseases, and neoplasms than other diagnoses. Women who gave birth during the time interval had very few VA admissions for any diagnosis, and compared to other women they were also less likely to be hospitalized for mental health or cancer, but more likely to be hospitalized for infectious and parasitic diseases. VA hospitals were used more by women who were slightly older, sicker, poorer, and living nearer to them. VA-using women tend to have different and greater medical needs than those having children.

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