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Veterans Using Home Healthcare have Higher Rates of Outpatient, Inpatient, and Nursing Home Care


Since 2000, the number of veterans using VA services for long-term care (LTC) increased by nearly 25%, with a shift from institutional LTC to less expensive community-based care such as home health care (HHC). Thus, the VA healthcare system is in the process of significantly expanding HHC nationwide. This case-controlled study sought to describe individual and organization characteristics associated with using HHC, as well as HHC use across a broad spectrum of healthcare services. Using VA data, investigators identified the full cohort of male veterans using HHC (n=24,169) in 2002, as well as a sample of non-HHC users (n=53,356). Use of healthcare services was measured for 2003 and included VA and Medicare outpatient, inpatient, nursing home, and hospice use, in addition to VA home-based primary care, respite care, and adult day health care. Findings show that veterans receiving VA home health care in 2002 increased their absolute chance of using VA outpatient care by 3%, inpatient care by nearly 12%, and nursing home care by 5% in 2003. Moreover, although utilization rates were low, VA HHC users were about 10 times more likely to have used hospice, adult day health care, or respite care in the VA system than non-users.

PubMed Logo Van Houtven C, Jeffreys A, and Coffman C. Home health care and patterns of subsequent VA and Medicare health care utilization for veterans. The Gerontologist 2008 October;48(5):668-78.

Dr. Van Houtven is part of HSR&D’s Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care, Durham, NC.

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What are HSR&D Publication Briefs?

HSR&D requires notification by HSR&D-funded investigators about all articles accepted for publication. These journal articles are reviewed by HSR&D and publication briefs or summaries are written for a select number of articles that are then forwarded to VHA Central Office leadership to keep them informed about important findings or information. Articles to be summarized are selected by HSR&D based on timeliness of the findings, interest of leadership, or potential impact on the organization. Publication briefs are written for only a small number of HSR&D published articles. Visit the HSR&D citations database for a complete listing of HSR&D articles and presentations.