Posttraumatic stress disorder screening status is associated with increased VA medical and surgical utilization in women.
ABSTRACT Women with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) report poor health, but associations with health care utilization are understudied.
To determine associations between medical/surgical utilization and PTSD in female Veterans Affairs (VA) patients.
Prospective comparison of utilization rates between women screening positive or negative for PTSD on a mailed survey.
Women receiving care at an urban VA medical center between October 1996 and January 2000.
Survey responses, including a validated screen for PTSD (PCL-C), and VA utilization data through September 2002.
Two thousand five hundred and seventy-eight (2,578) women (78% of those eligible) completed the PCL-C; 858 (33%) of them screened positive for PTSD (PTSD+). In unadjusted models, PTSD+ women had higher rates of medical/surgical hospitalizations and surgical inpatient procedures. Among women ages 35 to 49, mean days hospitalized/100 patients/year was 43.4 (95% CI 26 to 61) for PTSD+ women versus 17.0 (16 to 18) for PTSD negative (PTSD-) women. More PTSD+ women underwent surgical procedures (P<.001). Mean annual outpatient visits were significantly higher among PTSD+ women, including: emergency department (ED) (1.1 [1.0 to 1.2] vs 0.6 [0.5 to 0.6]), primary care (3.2 [3.0 to 3.4] vs 2.2 [2.1 to 2.3]), medical/surgical subspecialists (2.1 [1.9 to 2.3] vs 1.5 [1.4 to 1.6]), ancillary services (4.1 [3.7 to 4.5] vs 2.4 [2.2 to 2.6]), and diagnostic tests (5.6 [5.1 to 6.1] vs 3.7 [3.4 to 4.0]). In multivariate models adjusted for demographics, smoking, service access, and medical comorbidities, PTSD+ women had greater likelihood of medical/surgical hospitalization (OR=1.37 [1.04 to 1.79]) and of being among the top quartile of patients for visits to the ED, primary care, ancillary services, and diagnostic testing.
Female veterans who screen PTSD+ receive more VA medical/surgical services. Appropriateness of that care deserves further study.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Daniel Kivlahan, Jul 15, 2014
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ABSTRACT: Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) The primary objective of this pilot study was to understand the military experiences of OEF/OIF women veterans. Seven women veterans described accounts of sexual harassment and sexual assault, also known in the Veteran Health Administration (VHA) context as Military Sexual Trauma (MST). The prevalence and dialogue of MST both explicitly and implicitly throughout all the interviews justified examining MST on its own. As an alternative to tracking new cases of MST, this thesis provides an examination of the rhetoric of betrayal and suggests that objective knowledge of MST does not exist apart from such social conditions and one’s interpretations of them. Betrayal emerged as the way in which women veterans understood and made meaning of their MST experiences during the claims-making process. Women veterans incorporated strategies to manage the sexual harassment and sexual assault they experienced while in the military environment, since reporting MST was actively discouraged. Findings from this study suggest that the way we approach and understand MST as a social problem needs to be reconsidered and further examined.
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ABSTRACT: Over 35% of returned Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in VA care have received mental health diagnoses; the most prevalent is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Little is known about these patients' use of non-mental health medical services and the impact of mental disorders on utilization. To compare utilization across three groups of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans: those without mental disorders, those with mental disorders other than PTSD, and those with PTSD. National, descriptive study of 249,440 veterans newly utilizing VA healthcare between October 7, 2001 and March 31, 2007, followed until March 31, 2008. We used ICD9-CM diagnostic codes to classify mental health status. We compared utilization of outpatient non-mental health services, primary care, medical subspecialty, ancillary services, laboratory tests/diagnostic procedures, emergency services, and hospitalizations during veterans' first year in VA care. Results were adjusted for demographics and military service and VA facility characteristics. Veterans with mental disorders had 42-146% greater utilization than those without mental disorders, depending on the service category (all P < 0.001). Those with PTSD had the highest utilization in all categories: 71-170% greater utilization than those without mental disorders (all P < 0.001). In adjusted analyses, compared with veterans without mental disorders, those with mental disorders other than PTSD had 55% higher utilization of all non-mental health outpatient services; those with PTSD had 91% higher utilization. Female sex and lower rank were also independently associated with greater utilization. Veterans with mental health diagnoses, particularly PTSD, utilize significantly more VA non-mental health medical services. As more veterans return home, we must ensure resources are allocated to meet their outpatient, inpatient, and emergency needs.Journal of General Internal Medicine 09/2009; 25(1):18-24. DOI:10.1007/s11606-009-1117-3 · 3.42 Impact Factor