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1.
PLoS Med ; 18(10): e1003807, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1484840

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: We examined whether key sociodemographic and clinical risk factors for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and mortality changed over time in a population-based cohort study. METHODS AND FINDINGS: In a cohort of 9,127,673 persons enrolled in the United States Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system, we evaluated the independent associations of sociodemographic and clinical characteristics with SARS-CoV-2 infection (n = 216,046), SARS-CoV-2-related mortality (n = 10,230), and case fatality at monthly intervals between February 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. VA enrollees had a mean age of 61 years (SD 17.7) and were predominantly male (90.9%) and White (64.5%), with 14.6% of Black race and 6.3% of Hispanic ethnicity. Black (versus White) race was strongly associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 5.10, [95% CI 4.65 to 5.59], p-value <0.001), mortality (AOR 3.85 [95% CI 3.30 to 4.50], p-value < 0.001), and case fatality (AOR 2.56, 95% CI 2.23 to 2.93, p-value < 0.001) in February to March 2020, but these associations were attenuated and not statistically significant by November 2020 for infection (AOR 1.03 [95% CI 1.00 to 1.07] p-value = 0.05) and mortality (AOR 1.08 [95% CI 0.96 to 1.20], p-value = 0.21) and were reversed for case fatality (AOR 0.86, 95% CI 0.78 to 0.95, p-value = 0.005). American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN versus White) race was associated with higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection in April and May 2020; this association declined over time and reversed by March 2021 (AOR 0.66 [95% CI 0.51 to 0.85] p-value = 0.004). Hispanic (versus non-Hispanic) ethnicity was associated with higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and mortality during almost every time period, with no evidence of attenuation over time. Urban (versus rural) residence was associated with higher risk of infection (AOR 2.02, [95% CI 1.83 to 2.22], p-value < 0.001), mortality (AOR 2.48 [95% CI 2.08 to 2.96], p-value < 0.001), and case fatality (AOR 2.24, 95% CI 1.93 to 2.60, p-value < 0.001) in February to April 2020, but these associations attenuated over time and reversed by September 2020 (AOR 0.85, 95% CI 0.81 to 0.89, p-value < 0.001 for infection, AOR 0.72, 95% CI 0.62 to 0.83, p-value < 0.001 for mortality and AOR 0.81, 95% CI 0.71 to 0.93, p-value = 0.006 for case fatality). Throughout the observation period, high comorbidity burden, younger age, and obesity were consistently associated with infection, while high comorbidity burden, older age, and male sex were consistently associated with mortality. Limitations of the study include that changes over time in the associations of some risk factors may be affected by changes in the likelihood of testing for SARS-CoV-2 according to those risk factors; also, study results apply directly to VA enrollees who are predominantly male and have comprehensive healthcare and need to be confirmed in other populations. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we found that strongly positive associations of Black and AI/AN (versus White) race and urban (versus rural) residence with SARS-CoV-2 infection, mortality, and case fatality observed early in the pandemic were ameliorated or reversed by March 2021.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , Population Surveillance , Rural Population/trends , United States Department of Veterans Affairs/trends , Urban Population/trends , Aged , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/economics , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Mortality/trends , Population Surveillance/methods , Risk Factors , Socioeconomic Factors , United States/epidemiology
2.
Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken) ; 73(7): 998-1003, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1017881

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To assess the experience, views, and opinions of rheumatology providers at Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities about rheumatic disease health care issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: We performed an anonymized cross-sectional survey, conducted from April 16 to May 18, 2020, of VA rheumatology providers. We assessed provider perspectives on COVID-19 issues and resilience. RESULTS: Of the 153 eligible VA rheumatologists, 103 (67%) completed the survey. A significant proportion of providers reported a ≥50% increase related to COVID-19 in visits by telephone (53%), video-based VA video connect (VVC; 44%), and clinical video telehealth with a facilitator (29%). A majority of the responders were somewhat or very comfortable with technology for providing health care to established patients during the COVID-19 pandemic using telephone (87%), VVC (64%), and in-person visits (54%). A smaller proportion were comfortable with technology providing health care to new patients. At least 65% of rheumatologists considered telephone visits appropriate for established patients with gout, osteoporosis, polymyalgia rheumatica, stable rheumatoid arthritis, stable spondyloarthritis, or osteoarthritis; 32% reported a rheumatology medication shortage. Adjusted for age, sex, and ethnicity, high provider resilience was associated with significantly higher odds ratios (ORs) of comfort with technology for telephone (OR 3.1 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.1-9.7]) and VVC visits for new patients (OR 4.7 [95% CI 1.4-15.7]). CONCLUSION: A better understanding of COVID-19 rheumatic disease health care issues using a health-system approach can better inform providers, improve provider satisfaction, and have positive effects on the care of veterans with rheumatic disease.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Practice Patterns, Physicians'/trends , Rheumatic Diseases/therapy , Rheumatologists/trends , Rheumatology/trends , Telemedicine/trends , United States Department of Veterans Affairs/trends , Attitude of Health Personnel , Attitude to Computers , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Health Care Surveys , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Rheumatic Diseases/diagnosis , Time Factors , United States
3.
JCO Oncol Pract ; 17(1): 22-29, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-792410

ABSTRACT

The Veterans Health Administration system is one of the largest integrated health care providers in the United States, delivering medical care to > 9 million veterans. Barriers to delivering efficient health care include geographical limitations as well as long wait times. Telehealth has been used as a solution by many different health care services. However, it has not been as widely used in cancer care. In 2018, the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Pittsburgh Healthcare System expanded the use of telehealth to provide antineoplastic therapies to rural patients by creating a clinical video telehealth clinic of the Virtual Cancer Care Network. This allows oncologists located at the tertiary center to virtually deliver care to remote sites. The recent COVID-19 pandemic forced oncologists across the VA system to adopt telehealth to provide continuity of care. On the basis of our review and personal experience, we have outlined opportunities for telehealth to play a role in every step of the cancer care journey from diagnosis to therapy to surveillance to clinical trials for medical, surgical, and radiation oncology. There are many advantages, such as decreased travel time and potential cost savings; however, there continues to be challenges with veterans having access to devices and the Internet as well as understanding how to use telehealth equipment. The lessons learned from this assessment of the VA telehealth system for cancer care can be adopted and integrated into other health systems. In the future, there needs to be evaluation of how telehealth can be further incorporated into oncology, satisfaction of veterans using telehealth services, overcoming telehealth barriers, and defining metrics of success.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/therapy , Neoplasms/therapy , Pandemics , Telemedicine , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Delivery of Health Care , Female , Humans , Male , Neoplasms/complications , Neoplasms/epidemiology , Neoplasms/virology , Rural Population , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , United States , United States Department of Veterans Affairs/trends , Veterans
4.
Psychiatry Res ; 293: 113394, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-716924

ABSTRACT

People in need of mental health treatment do not access care at high rates or in a timely manner, inclusive of Veterans at Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA) medical centers. Barriers to care have been identified, and one potential solution is the use of technology-based interventions within primary care. This study evaluated the Cognitive Anxiety Sensitivity Treatment (CAST), a previously developed computerized treatment that has shown efficacy in community samples for mental health symptoms including: anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, and suicidal ideation. VA primary care patients with elevated anxiety sensitivity (N = 25) were recruited to participate in a mixed-method open pilot to examine acceptability, usability, and preliminary effectiveness in a VA primary care setting. Participants completed an initial visit, that included the intervention, and a one-month follow-up. Veterans found CAST to be generally acceptable, with strong usability ratings. Qualitative analyses identified areas of strength and areas for improvement for use with VA primary care Veterans. Repeated measures ANCOVAs revealed significant effects for symptoms of anxiety, depression, traumatic-stress, and suicidal ideation. CAST could potentially have a large public health impact if deployed across VA medical centers as a first-step intervention for a range of mental health presenting concerns.


Subject(s)
Anxiety/diagnosis , Hospitals, Veterans/trends , Primary Health Care/trends , Stress, Psychological/diagnosis , Therapy, Computer-Assisted/trends , Veterans/psychology , Adult , Anxiety/psychology , Anxiety/therapy , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pilot Projects , Stress, Psychological/psychology , Stress, Psychological/therapy , Therapy, Computer-Assisted/methods , United States/epidemiology , United States Department of Veterans Affairs/trends
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