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Veteran knowledge, perceptions, and receipt of care following visits to VA emergency departments for ambulatory care sensitive conditions.

Cordasco KM, Gable AR, Tan GJ, Yuan AH, Yip K, Khafaf M, Hays RD, Faiz JP, Chawla N, Ganz DA. Veteran knowledge, perceptions, and receipt of care following visits to VA emergency departments for ambulatory care sensitive conditions. Academic emergency medicine : official journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine. 2023 Apr 1; 30(4):252-261.

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OBJECTIVE: Receipt of follow-up care after emergency department (ED) visits for chronic ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSCs)-asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure, diabetes, and/or hypertension-is crucial. We assessed Veterans' follow-up care knowledge, perceptions, and receipt of care after visits to Veterans Health Administration (VA) EDs for chronic ACSCs. METHODS: Using explanatory sequential mixed methods, we interviewed Veterans with follow-up care needs after ACSC-related ED visits, and manually reviewed ED notes, abstracting interviewees' documented follow-up needs and care received. RESULTS: We interviewed and reviewed ED notes of 35 Veterans, 12-27 (mean 19) days after ED visits. Follow-up care was completely received/scheduled in 20, partially received/scheduled in eight, and not received in seven Veterans. Among those who received care, it was received within specified time frames half the time. However, interviewees often did not recall these time frames or reported them to be longer than specified in the ED notes. Veterans who had not yet received or scheduled follow-up care commonly did not recall follow-up care instructions, believed that they did not need this care since they were not currently having symptoms, or thought that such care would be difficult to obtain due to appointment unavailability and/or difficulties communicating with follow-up care providers. Among the 28 Veterans in whom all or some follow-up care had been received/scheduled, for 25 cases VA staff reached out to the Veteran or the appointment was scheduled prior to or during the ED visit. CONCLUSIONS: VA should prioritize implementing processes for EDs to efficiently communicate Veterans' needs to follow-up care providers and systems for reaching out to Veterans and/or arranging for care prior to Veterans leaving the ED. VA should also enhance practices using multimodal approaches for educating Veterans about recommended ED follow-up care and improve mechanisms for Veterans to communicate with follow-up care providers.

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