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Chuang E, Brunner J, Mak S, Hamilton AB, Canelo I, Darling J, Rubenstein LV, Yano EM. Challenges with Implementing a Patient-Centered Medical Home Model for Women Veterans. Women's health issues : official publication of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health. 2017 Mar 1; 27(2):214-220.
BACKGROUND: The Veterans Health Administration (VA) Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) initiative aims to ensure that all patients receive care consistent with medical home principles. Women veterans' unique care needs and minority status within the VA pose challenges to delivery of equitable, comprehensive primary care for this population. Currently, little is known about whether and/or how PACT should be tailored to better meet women veterans' needs. METHODS: In 2014, we conducted semistructured interviews with 73 primary care providers and staff to examine facilitators and barriers encountered in providing PACT-principled care to women veterans. Respondents were located in eight VA medical centers in eight different states across the United States. RESULTS: Respondents perceived PACT as improving continuity of care for patients and as increasing ability of nursing staff to practice at the top of their license. However, the implementation of core medical home features and team huddles was inconsistent and varied both within and across medical centers. Short staffing, inclusion of part-time providers on teams, balancing performance requirements for continuity and same-day access, and space constraints were identified as ongoing barriers to PACT implementation. Challenges unique to care of women veterans included a higher prevalence of psychosocial needs, the need for specialized training of primary care personnel, and short staffing owing to additional sharing of primary care support staff with specialist providers. CONCLUSION: Providers and staff face unique challenges in delivering comprehensive primary care to women veterans that may require special policy, practice, and management action if benefits of PACT are to be fully realized for this population.