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Care coordination for pregnant veterans: VA's Maternity Care Coordinator Telephone Care Program.

Cordasco KM, Katzburg JR, Katon JG, Zephyrin LC, Chrystal JG, Yano EM. Care coordination for pregnant veterans: VA's Maternity Care Coordinator Telephone Care Program. Translational behavioral medicine. 2018 May 23; 8(3):419-428.

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Coordinating care between Veterans Health Administration (VA) and community providers is essential for providing high-quality comprehensive maternity care to women veterans, particularly those with chronic medical or mental health issues. We iteratively developed and assessed feasibility, as well as facilitators and barriers, of implementing the VA Maternity Care Coordinator Telephone Care Program, and identified specific health needs of pregnant women Veterans served by the program. We used three Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles. The final program consisted of materials supporting seven structured phone calls spanning initiation of pregnancy care through six weeks postpartum. We used logs to measure veteran uptake and surveys and field notes to capture care-coordinator perceptions about potential program value and facilitators and barriers to implementing it. We conducted a medical record review assessing pregnant veterans' need for coordination of services for physical and mental health problems and health behaviors. Veterans' uptake was 60%. Implementation facilitators included conducting training sessions for program coordinators and tailoring materials to address differences across VA facilities. Implementation barriers included limited information and communication technology tools to support the program and lack of coordinator time for delivering the telephone care. Among 244 pregnant veterans, 41% had pre-pregnancy chronic physical problem(s); 34% mental health problem(s); 18% actively or recently smoked. Implementation of a telephone-based care coordination program for pregnant veterans was feasible. Effective program spread required tailoring for local variations in resources and processes, investing in information and communication technology tools and allocating coordinator time to deliver care. Pregnant women veterans have a substantial burden of physical health, mental health, and risky health behaviors needing care coordination.

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