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1.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol ; 42(4): 392-398, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2096426

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: The seroprevalence of severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) IgG antibody was evaluated among employees of a Veterans Affairs healthcare system to assess potential risk factors for transmission and infection. METHODS: All employees were invited to participate in a questionnaire and serological survey to detect antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 as part of a facility-wide quality improvement and infection prevention initiative regardless of clinical or nonclinical duties. The initiative was conducted from June 8 to July 8, 2020. RESULTS: Of the 2,900 employees, 51% participated in the study, revealing a positive SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence of 4.9% (72 of 1,476; 95% CI, 3.8%-6.1%). There were no statistically significant differences in the presence of antibody based on gender, age, frontline worker status, job title, performance of aerosol-generating procedures, or exposure to known patients with coronavirus infectious disease 2019 (COVID-19) within the hospital. Employees who reported exposure to a known COVID-19 case outside work had a significantly higher seroprevalence at 14.8% (23 of 155) compared to those who did not 3.7% (48 of 1,296; OR, 4.53; 95% CI, 2.67-7.68; P < .0001). Notably, 29% of seropositive employees reported no history of symptoms for SARS-CoV-2 infection. CONCLUSIONS: The seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 among employees was not significantly different among those who provided direct patient care and those who did not, suggesting that facility-wide infection control measures were effective. Employees who reported direct personal contact with COVID-19-positive persons outside work were more likely to have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Employee exposure to SARS-CoV-2 outside work may introduce infection into hospitals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Personnel/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroepidemiologic Studies , United States Department of Veterans Affairs/statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , Adult , COVID-19/etiology , Female , Humans , Male , Michigan/epidemiology , Middle Aged , Occupational Exposure/statistics & numerical data , Risk Factors , United States/epidemiology , Young Adult
3.
Health Expect ; 25(5): 2548-2556, 2022 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2084613

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is building a Whole Health system of care that aspires to empower and equip each Veteran to pursue a personally meaningful vision of health and well-being. As part of this effort, VHA has developed Taking Charge of My Life and Health (TCMLH), a peer-led, group-based programme that seeks to support Veterans in setting and pursuing health and well-being goals. Prior research showed TCMLH groups to positively impact Veteran outcomes; yet, little is known about Veterans' own experiences and perspectives. METHODS: We completed semi-structured telephone interviews with 15 Veterans across 8 sites who had participated in TCMLH groups offered by the VHA in the virtual format between Summer 2020 and Fall 2021. Inductive thematic analysis was applied to interview transcripts to generate themes. FINDINGS: We identified five themes regarding Veterans' experiences with TCMLH: (1) navigating the virtual format; (2) internalizing the value of health engagement; (3) making healthy lifestyle changes; (4) forging social connections; and (5) taking on a more active role in healthcare. CONCLUSION: Veterans perceived virtual TCMLH groups as meaningful and beneficial, yet also highlighted several challenges. Their perspectives speak to the need to supplement time-limited programmes like TCMLH with ongoing, community-based support. Virtual group-based well-being programmes are a promising innovation. Other healthcare systems may draw on VHA's experience while tailoring format and content to the needs of their patient populations. PATIENT OR PUBLIC CONTRIBUTION: Veterans were involved as evaluation participants. A Veteran consultant, who is a coauthor on this paper, was engaged through the conceptualization of the evaluation, development of data collection materials (interview guide) and writing.


Subject(s)
Veterans , United States , Humans , United States Department of Veterans Affairs , Qualitative Research , Peer Group , Delivery of Health Care
4.
J Grad Med Educ ; 14(5): 593-598, 2022 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2080697

ABSTRACT

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic altered learning experiences of residents and fellows worldwide, including at the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Because the VA is the largest training provider in the United States, understanding VA trainee experiences is vital to understanding the pandemic's impact on graduate medical education nationwide. Additionally, understanding the pandemic's potential impacts on future employment allows for a better understanding of any future disruptions in the supply of physicians. Objective: To examine whether COVID-19 affected the satisfaction with VA training experiences and likelihood to consider future VA employment among residents and fellows. Methods: Responses from the VA Trainee Satisfaction Survey were collected for 3 academic years (2018-2021). Quantitative analysis (bivariate logistic regression) and qualitative content analysis were conducted to determine COVID-19's impact on satisfaction and likelihood of future VA employment. Results: Across 3 academic years, 17 900 responses from a total of 140 933 physician trainees were analyzed (12.7%). Following COVID-19, respondents expressed decreased satisfaction (84.58% vs 86.01%, P=.008) and decreased likelihood to consider future VA employment compared to prior to the pandemic (53.42% vs 55.32%, P=.013). COVID-19-related causes of dissatisfaction included the onboarding process, which slowed due to the pandemic, limited workspace that precluded social distancing, and reduced learning opportunities. Conclusions: Since the pandemic, physician trainees expressed decreased training satisfaction and decreased likelihood to seek future VA employment. Causes of dissatisfaction included increased difficulties with onboarding, further limitations to accessible workspaces, and the direct obstruction of learning opportunities including decreased patient volume or case mix.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Internship and Residency , United States , Humans , Personal Satisfaction , Pandemics , United States Department of Veterans Affairs , Employment
5.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(20)2022 Oct 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2071483

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore perspectives of Whole Health (WH) coaches at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) on meeting the needs of rural Veterans during the COVID-19 pandemic. The evaluation design employed a qualitative description approach, employing focus groups and in-depth interviews with a convenience sample of WH coaches across the VHA system. Fourteen coaches who work with rural Veterans participated in either one of three focus groups, individual interviews, or both. The focus group data and in-depth interviews were analyzed separately using thematic analysis, and findings were then merged to compare themes across both datasets. Four primary themes were identified: bridging social risk factors for rural Veterans, leveraging technology to stay connected with Veterans at-a-distance, redirecting Veterans to alternate modes of self-care, and maintaining flexibility in coaching role during COVID-19. One overarching theme was also identified following a post-hoc analysis driven by interdisciplinary team discussion: increased concerns for Veteran mental health during COVID-19. Coaches reported using a variety of strategies to respond to the wide-ranging needs of rural Veterans during the pandemic. Implications of findings for future research and practice are discussed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Mental Health Services , Veterans , United States/epidemiology , Humans , Veterans/psychology , United States Department of Veterans Affairs , COVID-19/epidemiology , Pandemics , Qualitative Research
8.
BMC Prim Care ; 23(1): 245, 2022 09 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2038662

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic caused widespread changes to healthcare, but few studies focus on ambulatory care during the early phase of the pandemic. We characterize veterans' ambulatory care experience, specifically access and satisfaction, early in the pandemic. METHODS: We employed a semi-structured telephone interview to capture quantitative and qualitative data from patients scheduled with a primary care provider between March 1 - June 30, 2020. Forty veterans were randomly identified at a single large urban Veterans Health Administration (VHA) medical center. The interview guide utilized 56 closed and open-ended questions to characterize veterans' perceptions of access to and satisfaction with their primary care experience at VHA and non-VHA primary care sources. We also explored the context of veterans' daily lives during the pandemic. We analyzed quantitative data using descriptive statistics and verbatim quotes using a matrix analysis. RESULTS: Veterans reported completing more appointments (mean 2.6 (SD 2.2)) than scheduled (mean 2.3 (SD 2.2)) mostly due to same-day or urgent visits, with a shift to telephone (mean 2.1 (SD 2.2)) and video (mean 1.5 (SD 0.6)). Among those who reported decreased access to care early in the pandemic (n = 27 (67%)), 15 (56%) cited administrative barriers ("The phone would hang up on me") and 9 (33%) reported a lack of provider availability ("They are not reaching out like they used to"). While most veterans (n = 31 (78%)) were highly satisfied with their VHA care (mean score 8.6 (SD 2.0 on a 0-10 scale), 9 (23%) reported a decrease in satisfaction since the pandemic. The six (15%) veterans who utilized non-VHA providers during the period of interest reported, on average, higher satisfaction ratings (mean 9.5 (SD 1.2)). Many veterans reported psychosocial effects such as the worsening of mental health (n = 6 (15%)), anxiety concerning the virus (n = 12 (30%)), and social isolation (n = 8 (20%), "I stay inside and away from people"). CONCLUSIONS: While the number of encounters reported suggest adequate access and satisfaction, the comments regarding barriers to care suggest that enhanced approaches may be warranted to improve and sustain veteran perceptions of adequate access to and satisfaction with primary care during times of crisis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Veterans , Ambulatory Care , COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Services Accessibility , Humans , Pandemics , Personal Satisfaction , Primary Health Care , United States/epidemiology , United States Department of Veterans Affairs , Veterans/psychology
10.
J Gen Intern Med ; 37(Suppl 3): 778-785, 2022 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2007240

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Increasingly, women are serving in the military and seeking care at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Women veterans face unique challenges and barriers in seeking mental health (MH) care within VHA. VA Video Connect (VVC), which facilitates video-based teleconferencing between patients and providers, can reduce barriers while maintaining clinical effectiveness. OBJECTIVE: Primary aims were to examine gender differences in VVC use, describe changes in VVC use over time (including pre-COVID and 6 months following the beginning of COVID), and determine whether changes over time differed by gender. DESIGN: A retrospective cohort investigation of video-to-home telehealth for MH care utilization among veterans having at least 1 MH visit from October 2019 to September 2020. PARTICIPANTS: Veterans (236,268 women; 1,318,024 men). INTERVENTIONS (IF APPLICABLE): VVC involves face-to-face, synchronous, video-based teleconferencing between patients and providers, enabling care at home or another private location. MAIN MEASURES: Percentage of MH encounters delivered via VA Video Connect. KEY RESULTS: Women veterans were more likely than men to have at least 1 VVC encounter and had a greater percentage of MH care delivered via VVC in FY20. There was an increase in the percentage of MH encounters that were VVC over FY20, and this increase was greater for women than men. Women veterans who were younger than 55 (compared to those 55 and older), lived in urban areas (compared to those in rural areas), or were Asian (compared to other races) had a greater percentage of MH encounters that were VVC since the start of the pandemic, controlling for the mean percentage of VVC MH encounters in the 6 months pre-pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: VVC use for MH care is greater in women veterans compared to male veterans and may reduce gender-specific access barriers. Future research and VVC implementation efforts should emphasize maximizing patient choice and satisfaction.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Telemedicine , Veterans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Patient Acceptance of Health Care , Retrospective Studies , United States/epidemiology , United States Department of Veterans Affairs , Veterans/psychology , Veterans Health
11.
J Prim Care Community Health ; 13: 21501319221112585, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1933055

ABSTRACT

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides essential care through transitional housing and healthcare for Veterans experiencing homelessness through the Grant and Per Diem (GPD) program and the Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team (HPACT), respectively. At the onset of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, GPD organizations and HPACT clinics faced the challenge of being essential providers tasked with ensuring the well-being of Veterans under their care. Through semi-structured interviews with 13 providers (6 HPACT health care providers representing 2 HPACT programs, and 7 GPD staff members) across the U.S., this study explored their experiences navigating the tasks of keeping Veterans safe and providing ongoing care from the start of the pandemic up to the 2021 interview dates. Both GPD and HPACT providers reported amplified safety concerns about COVID-19 infection among staff at the start of the pandemic, which diminished to a lower, stable level after a few months as adaptations made for safety became embedded in their routines. However, ongoing challenges included isolation and mental health challenges among Veterans, inherent limitations of telehealth as a care delivery avenue, provider frustration and burnout due to increased workload and frequent change, and the logistics of administering testing for Veterans to enter GPD housing. Enhanced pandemic preparedness planning for GPD organizations, funding for personal protective equipment (PPE) and providing technology to facilitate Veterans' telehealth access, and strategies for preventing provider burnout are critical to both sustaining homeless providers' capabilities during this pandemic and enhancing readiness to respond to the next public health emergency.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Homeless Persons , Veterans , Delivery of Health Care , Housing , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology , United States Department of Veterans Affairs
12.
Am J Orthopsychiatry ; 92(5): 590-598, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1900444

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disproportionately impact people of color and individuals experiencing psychosis and homelessness. However, it is unclear whether there are differences by race in psychosocial responses to the pandemic in vulnerable populations. The double jeopardy hypothesis posits that multiply marginalized individuals would experience worse psychosocial outcomes. The present study investigated the clinical and functional initial responses to the pandemic in both Black (n = 103) and White veterans (n = 98) with psychosis (PSY), recent homelessness (RHV), and in a control group (CTL) enrolled in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare services. Clinical interviews were administered via phone at two time points: baseline (mid-May through mid-August 2020) and follow-up (mid-August through September 2020). The baseline interview also included retrospective measures of pre-COVID status from January 2020. There were no significant differences between Black and White veterans in depression, anxiety, or loneliness. However, Black veterans did endorse more fears of contamination, F(1, 196.29) = 9.48, p = .002. Across all groups, Black veterans had better family integration compared to White veterans, F(1, 199.98) = 7.62, p = .006. There were no significant differences by race in social integration, work/role productivity, or independent living. In sum, there were few significant differences between Black and White veterans in initial psychosocial response to the pandemic. The lack of racial disparities might reflect the presence of VA's wrap-around services. The findings also highlight the robust nature of social support in Black veterans, even in the context of a global pandemic. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Homeless Persons , Psychotic Disorders , Veterans , Homeless Persons/psychology , Humans , Pandemics , Race Factors , Retrospective Studies , United States/epidemiology , United States Department of Veterans Affairs , Veterans/psychology
14.
J Gen Intern Med ; 37(7): 1737-1747, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1859099

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In August 2021, up to 30% of Americans were uncertain about taking the COVID-19 vaccine, including some healthcare personnel (HCP). OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to identify barriers and facilitators of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) HCP vaccination program. DESIGN: We conducted key informant interviews with employee occupational health (EOH) providers, using snowball recruitment. PARTICIPANTS: Participants included 43 VHA EOH providers representing 29 of VHA's regionally diverse healthcare systems. APPROACH: Thematic analysis elucidated 5 key themes and specific strategies recommended by EOH. KEY RESULTS: Implementation themes reflected logistics of distribution (supply), addressing any vaccine concerns or hesitancy (demand), and learning health system strategies/approaches for shared learnings. Specifically, themes included the following: (1) use interdisciplinary task forces to leverage diverse skillsets for vaccine implementation; (2) invest in processes and align resources with priorities, including creating detailed processes, addressing time trade-offs for personnel involved in vaccine clinics by suspending everything non-essential, designating process/authority to shift personnel where needed, and proactively involving leaders to support resource allocation/alignment; (3) expect and accommodate vaccine buy-in occurring over time: prepare for some HCP's slow buy-in, align buy-in facilitation with identities and motivation, and encourage word-of-mouth and hyper-local testimonials; (4) overcome misinformation with trustworthy communication: tailor communication to individuals and address COVID vaccines "in every encounter," leverage proactive institutional messaging to reinforce information, and invite bi-directional conversations about any vaccine concerns. A final overarching theme focused on learning health system needs and structures: (5) use existing and newly developed communication channels to foster shared learning across teams and sites. CONCLUSIONS: Expecting deliberation allows systems to prepare for complex distribution logistics (supply) and make room for conversations that are trustworthy, bi-directional, and identity aligned (demand). Ideally, organizations provide time for conversations that address individual concerns, foster bi-directional shared decision-making, respect HCP beliefs and identities, and emphasize shared identities as healthcare providers.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Delivery of Health Care , Health Personnel , Humans , United States , United States Department of Veterans Affairs , Vaccination
15.
Psychiatry Res ; 312: 114570, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1799752

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: The goal of our study was to evaluate the development of new mental health diagnoses up to 6-months following COVID-19 hospitalization for in a large, national sample. METHOD: Data were extracted for all Veterans hospitalized at Veterans Health Administration hospitals for COVID-19 from March through August of 2020 utilizing national administrative data. After identifying the cohort, follow-up data were linked through six months post-hospitalization. Data were analyzed using logistic regression. RESULTS: Eight percent of patients developed a new mental health diagnosis following hospitalization. The most common new mental health diagnoses involved depressive, anxiety, and adjustment disorders. Younger and rural patients were more likely to develop new mental health diagnoses. Women and those with more comorbidities were less likely to develop new diagnoses. CONCLUSION: A subpopulation of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 developed new mental health diagnoses. Unique demographics predictors indicate the potential need for additional outreach and screening to groups at elevated risk of post-hospitalization, mental health sequelae.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Mental Disorders , Veterans , Adjustment Disorders , Comorbidity , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Mental Disorders/diagnosis , Mental Disorders/epidemiology , Mental Disorders/therapy , United States/epidemiology , United States Department of Veterans Affairs , Veterans/psychology
16.
J Prim Care Community Health ; 13: 21501319221091430, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1794055

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Same-day referrals from primary care to mental health increase subsequent mental health treatment engagement. VA Primary Care-Mental Health Integration (PC-MHI) clinics offer integrated mental health services embedded in primary care clinics, providing a key entry point to mental health care. Although telehealth use expanded rapidly after the onset of COVID-19, the impact of telehealth on same-day primary care access among new PC-MHI mental health patients is unknown. To address this knowledge gap, we examined associations between telehealth use and same-day primary care access in VA PC-MHI. METHODS: We examined electronic health record data to identify same-day primary care appointments among PC-MHI patients who initiated care during 3/1/2018 to 10/29/2021. We used logistic regression analyses to evaluate the effect of telehealth on same-day primary care access. Time, demographic characteristics, mental health diagnoses (PTSD and depression), and substance use disorder diagnosis were evaluated as covariates. RESULTS: New PC-MHI patients who were seen via telehealth were less likely to receive same-day primary care access than patients seen in person (OR: 0.54; 95% CI: 0.41-0.71; P < .001). CONCLUSIONS: Despite the potential advantages of using telehealth to increase access, VA patients with an initial PC-MHI visit via telehealth were less likely than patients seen in person to be referred from primary care. Telehealth may adversely affect primary care referrals to mental health services, an outcome that could ultimately reduce specialty mental health care continuity. There is an urgent need to identify strategies to facilitate PC-MHI care coordination in the telehealth context.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Delivery of Health Care, Integrated , Telemedicine , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , Humans , Mental Health , Primary Health Care , United States , United States Department of Veterans Affairs
17.
Int J Health Plann Manage ; 37(4): 2461-2467, 2022 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1787662

ABSTRACT

Resurgences of COVID-19 cases are a grave public health concern. Hence, there is an urgent need for health care systems to rapidly and systematically learn from their responses to earlier waves of COVID-19. To meet this need, this article delineates how we adapted the World Health Organization's After Action Review (AAR) framework to use within our health care system of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. An AAR is a structured, methodical evaluation of actions taken in response to an event (e.g., recent waves of COVID-19). It delivers an actionable report regarding (i) what was expected, (ii) what actually happened, (iii) what went well, and (iv) what could have been done differently, and thus what changes are needed for future situations. We share as an example our examination of Mental Health Residential Rehabilitation and Treatment Programs in Massachusetts (a COVID-19 hotspot). Our work can be further adapted, beyond residential treatment, as a consistent framework for reviewing COVID-19 responses across multiple health care programs. This will identify both standardized and tailored preparations that the programs can make for future waves of the pandemic. Given the expected resurgences of COVID-19 cases, the time to apply AAR is now.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Residential Treatment , Delivery of Health Care , Humans , Pandemics , United States/epidemiology , United States Department of Veterans Affairs
18.
J Gen Intern Med ; 37(Suppl 1): 80-82, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1782928

ABSTRACT

In 2017, ten veteran patients with the shared experience of living with chronic pain united to form a Veteran Engagement Panel (VEP) to support the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute® (PCORI®)funded Veterans Pain Care Organizational Improvement Comparative Effectiveness (VOICE) Study. The study, conducted at ten Veterans Affairs (VA) sites, compares two team-based approaches to improve pain management and reduce potential harms of opioid therapy. The panel shares ten best practices for sustaining a successful engagement partnership.


Subject(s)
Chronic Pain , Veterans , Chronic Pain/therapy , Humans , Pain Management , Patient Outcome Assessment , United States , United States Department of Veterans Affairs
19.
J Am Med Dir Assoc ; 23(6): 917-922, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1773433

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Describe how Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Home Based Primary Care (HBPC) team members discussed the COVID-19 vaccine with Veteran patients and their caregivers; describe HBPC team members' experiences providing care during the pandemic; identify facilitators and barriers to vaccinating HBPC Veterans during the COVID-19 pandemic. DESIGN: Online survey that included 3 open-ended COVID-19 vaccine-related questions. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: HBPC Program Directors from 145 VA Medical Centers were invited to participate and share the survey invitation with team members. The survey was open from March to May 2021. We collected N = 573 surveys from 73 sites. METHODS: We analyzed demographic data using descriptive frequencies and open-ended questions using thematic analysis. RESULTS: Respondents from all HBPC roles were included in the study: Registered Nurses, Psychologists, Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners, Social Workers, Dieticians, Occupational Therapists, Pharmacists, Physical Therapists, HBPC Program Directors, HBPC Medical Directors, MDs, Physician Assistants, Other. Qualitative thematic analysis revealed 3 themes describing VA HBPC team members' experiences discussing and administering the COVID-19 vaccine: communication and education, advocating for prioritization of HBPC Veterans to receive the vaccine, and logistics of delivering and administering the vaccine. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Our study findings highlight the multifaceted experiences of VA HBPC team members discussing and administering initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to primarily homebound Veterans. Although the VA's HBPC program offers an example of a singular health care system, insights from more than 70 sites from across the United States reveal key lessons around the internal and external structures required to successfully support programs and their staff in providing these key activities. These lessons include proactively addressing the needs of homebound populations in national vaccine rollouts and developing vaccine education and training programs for HBPC team members specifically aligned to HBPC program needs. These lessons can extend to non-VA organizations who care for similar homebound populations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Home Care Services , Veterans , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Pandemics , Patient Care Team , Primary Health Care , United States , United States Department of Veterans Affairs , Vaccination
20.
Public Health Nutr ; 25(4): 819-828, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1758097

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Food insecurity is associated with numerous adverse health outcomes. The US Veterans Health Administration (VHA) began universal food insecurity screening in 2017. This study examined prevalence and correlates of food insecurity among Veterans screened. DESIGN: Retrospective cross-sectional study using VHA administrative data. Multivariable logistic regression models were estimated to identify sociodemographic and medical characteristics associated with a positive food insecurity screen. SETTING: All US Veterans Administration (VA) medical centres (n 161). PARTICIPANTS: All Veterans were screened for food insecurity since screening initiation (July 2017-December 2018). RESULTS: Of 3 304 702 Veterans screened for food insecurity, 44 298 were positive on their initial screen (1·3 % of men; 2·0 % of women). Food insecurity was associated with identifying as non-Hispanic Black or Hispanic. Veterans who were non-married/partnered, low-income Veterans without VA disability-related compensation and those with housing instability had higher odds of food insecurity, as did Veterans with a BMI < 18·5, diabetes, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Prior military sexual trauma (MST) was associated with food insecurity among both men and women. Women screening positive, however, were eight times more likely than men to have experienced MST (48·9 % v. 5·9 %). CONCLUSIONS: Food insecurity was associated with medical and trauma-related comorbidities as well as unmet social needs including housing instability. Additionally, Veterans of colour and women were at higher risk for food insecurity. Findings can inform development of tailored interventions to address food insecurity such as more frequent screening among high-risk populations, onsite support applying for federal food assistance programs and formal partnerships with community-based resources.


Subject(s)
Veterans , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Food Insecurity , Humans , Male , Retrospective Studies , Risk Factors , United States , United States Department of Veterans Affairs
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