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Severe Maternal Morbidity Among a Cohort of Post-9/11 Women Veterans.

Combellick JL, Bastian LA, Altemus M, Womack JA, Brandt CA, Smith A, Haskell SG. Severe Maternal Morbidity Among a Cohort of Post-9/11 Women Veterans. Journal of women's health (2002). 2020 Apr 1; 29(4):577-584.

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Maternal morbidity and mortality are key indicators of women''s health status and quality of care. Maternal morbidity and mortality are high and rising in the United States. There has been no evaluation of severe maternal morbidity and mortality among veteran women, although population characteristics suggest that they may be at risk. This study aimed to evaluate a surveillance methodology at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and describe the characteristics of women veterans who experienced severe maternal morbidity events. The study sample derived from a national sample of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn veterans who were enrolled for care at the VA. The surveillance methodology followed a recommended process of case identification and chart review following a standardized guide. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) International Classification of Diseases codes for maternal morbidity were applied to billing, inpatient, and outpatient data for 9,829 pregnancies among 91,061 veteran women between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2016. Descriptive statistics is reported. One hundred twenty-seven pregnancies with severe maternal morbidity events were identified, 66 of which were confirmed after chart review. The positive predictive value of CDC indicators to identify cases was 0.52. High rates of mental health problems, obesity, rurality, maternal conditions, and racial discrepancies were noted among veterans who experienced severe maternal morbidity events. Severe maternal morbidity affects a significant number of veteran women. Systematic reporting of pregnancy outcomes and a multidisciplinary review committee would improve surveillance and case management at the VA. The VA is uniquely positioned to develop innovative comanagement strategies, especially in the area of perinatal mental health.

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