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National Veterans Health Administration MOVE! Weight Management Program Participation During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Gray KE, Hoerster KD, Spohr SA, Breland JY, Raffa SD. National Veterans Health Administration MOVE! Weight Management Program Participation During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Preventing chronic disease. 2022 Mar 10; 19:E11.

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INTRODUCTION: In response to COVID-19, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) converted appropriate outpatient visits to virtual care, including MOVE! Weight Management Program for Veterans (MOVE!) visits. Before the pandemic, most veterans participated in MOVE! in person, with several telehealth modalities available. We sought to describe national trends in MOVE! participation during the pandemic (March 2020-January 2021) overall and by modality and to compare participation to prepandemic levels. METHODS: We conducted a national retrospective cohort study of veterans who participated in MOVE! from January 2018 through January 2021. We examined MOVE! participation across VHA aggregated at the national level by month, including the number of visits, participants, and new participants in person and via telehealth, including telephone, clinic-to-clinic synchronous video, anywhere-to-anywhere (eg, provider home to patient home) synchronous video, and remote education and monitoring. We also determined the percentage of all MOVE! visits attributable to each modality and the monthly percentage change in participation during the pandemic compared with monthly averages in prior years. RESULTS: Before March 2020, 20% to 30% of MOVE! was delivered via telehealth, which increased to 90% by April 2020. Early in the pandemic, telephone-delivered MOVE! was the most common modality, but anywhere-to-anywhere synchronous video participation increased over time. Compared with the same months in prior years, total monthly MOVE! participation remained 20% to 40% lower at the end of 2020 and into January 2021. CONCLUSION: The VHA MOVE! program rapidly shifted to telehealth delivery of weight management services in response to the pandemic. However, a gap remained in the number of veterans receiving these services compared with prior years, suggesting potential unmet needs for weight management.

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