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Determinants of contraceptive availability at medical facilities in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Cope JR, Yano EM, Lee ML, Washington DL. Determinants of contraceptive availability at medical facilities in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Journal of general internal medicine. 2006 Mar 1; 21 Suppl 3:S33-9.

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OBJECTIVE: To describe the variation in provision of hormonal and intrauterine contraception among Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities. DESIGN: Key informant, cross-sectional survey of 166 VA medical facilities. Data from public use data sets and VA administrative databases were linked to facility data to further characterize their contextual environments. PARTICIPANTS: All VA hospital-based and affiliated community-based outpatient clinics delivering services to at least 400 unique women during fiscal year 2000. MEASUREMENTS: Onsite availability of hormonal contraceptive prescription and intrauterine device (IUD) placement. RESULTS: Ninety-seven percent of facilities offered onsite prescription and management of hormonal contraception whereas 63% offered placement of IUDs. After adjusting for facility caseload of reproductive-aged women, 3 organizational factors were independently associated with onsite IUD placement: (1) onsite gynecologist (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 20.35; 95% confidence interval [CI], 7.02 to 58.74; P < .001); (2) hospital-based in contrast to community-based practice (adjusted OR, 5.49; 95% CI, 1.16 to 26.10; P = .03); and (3) availability of a clinician providing women's health training to other clinicians (adjusted OR, 3.40; 95% CI 1.19 to 9.76; P = .02). CONCLUSIONS: VA's provision of hormonal and intrauterine contraception is in accordance with community standards, although onsite availability is not universal. Although contraception is a crucial component of a woman's health maintenance, her ability to obtain certain contraceptives from the facility where she obtains her primary care is largely influenced by the availability of a gynecologist. Further research is needed to determine how fragmentation of women's care into reproductive and nonreproductive services impacts access to contraception and the incidence of unintended pregnancy.

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