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Characterization and Comparison of Physical and Mental Health Profiles and Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Utilization Patterns among Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom Women Veterans in Puerto Rico versus the United States.

Weitlauf JC, Ortiz A, Kroll-Desrosiers AR, Quiñones Vázquez ME, Cannell B, Hernandez MNB, Brandt C, Mattocks K. Characterization and Comparison of Physical and Mental Health Profiles and Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Utilization Patterns among Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom Women Veterans in Puerto Rico versus the United States. Women's health issues : official publication of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health. 2020 Jan 1; 30(1):49-56.

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Research on the physical and mental health profiles and patterns of health care use among women veterans receiving health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on the island of Puerto Rico is lacking. METHODS: This cross-sectional study examines differences in physical and mental health conditions, and patterns of VA health care use, between women veterans of the Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) era who were using VA facilities in Puerto Rico (n  =  897) and those using U.S.-based VA facilities (n  =  117,216) from 2002 to 2015. RESULTS: Results of fully adjusted logistic regression models revealed that OIF/OEF women in Puerto Rico had heightened risk for global pain-related disorders (i.e., any pain) (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.45; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.22-1.71), back pain (AOR, 1.83; 95% CI, 1.56-2.14), diabetes (AOR, 1.42; 95% CI, 1.03-1.95), hyperlipidemia (AOR, 3.34; 95% CI, 2.80-3.98), major depression (AOR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.53-2.06), and bipolar depression (AOR, 1.66; 95% CI, 1.34-2.04). They also evidenced greater risk for a host of reproductive health conditions and had higher average annual use of VA health care than their U.S. counterparts. CONCLUSIONS: OIF/OEF women receiving VA health care in Puerto Rico evidenced a greater burden of physical illness, depression, and heightened use of VA health care services relative to their U.S. counterparts. Providers'' increased awareness of the physical and mental health care needs of this population is warranted. Research efforts that help to identify efficient and effective strategies to provide culturally tailored and/or personalized health care for this population could also be useful.





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