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Medical Care Supplement Features HSR&D Research on Health Equity

August 16, 2017


VA supports a number of organizational, clinical, and research initiatives explicitly focused on advancing health equity for Veterans. Toward these efforts, HSR&D's Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP) and the Health Equity and Rural Outreach Innovation Center (HEROIC) hosted a state-of-the-science conference in 2016. This field-based meeting to "Engage Diverse Stakeholders and Operational Partners in Advancing Health Equity in the VA Healthcare System" brought together health equity investigators, representatives of vulnerable Veteran populations, and operational leaders to identify strategies to advance the implementation of evidence-based interventions to improve the quality and equity of health and healthcare. The conference focused on three specific vulnerable Veteran populations: racial and ethnic minorities, homeless Veterans, and Veterans from the LGBT community. This Medical Care supplement features articles that emanated from this meeting, including but not limited to:

  • Brignone and colleagues examined the association between military sexual trauma (MST) and healthcare use and costs–and how they vary by sex–in a cohort of 485,884 OEF/OIF Veterans receiving VA healthcare. They found that a positive MST screen was associated with significantly greater healthcare use and costs overall, and that male Veterans had nearly twice the healthcare encounters and costs of female Veterans.
  • Lehavot and colleagues conducted a national survey of 298 transgender Veterans to examine their satisfaction with VA medical and mental healthcare, the prevalence of delaying care, and correlates of these outcomes. They found that while most of the respondents who used VA healthcare were satisfied with their medical and mental healthcare, low income was associated with dissatisfaction with medical care–and being a transgender man was associated with dissatisfaction with mental healthcare.
  • Gundlapalli and colleagues assessed the impact of a patient-aligned care team tailored for homeless Veterans (H-PACT) on emergency department (ED) utilization. Compared to usual care, H-PACT enrollees had a significant decrease in ED use among the highest ED utilizers.

Medical Care Supplement: Health Equity. September 2017;55(9, Suppl 2);S1-120.