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Utilization of whole health services among veterans with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D): Early insights from the VA SCI/D system of care.

Wallen ES, Sippel JL, Park ME, Etingen B, Weaver FM, Hogan TP, Smith BM, Bokhour BG, Wickremasinghe IM. Utilization of whole health services among veterans with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D): Early insights from the VA SCI/D system of care. The journal of spinal cord medicine. 2023 May 30; 1-10.

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CONTEXT/OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to describe early participation in Whole Health programs across the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Spinal Cord Injuries and Disorders (SCI/D) System of Care. DESIGN: Retrospective analysis of VHA administrative data. SETTING: The VHA SCI/D System of Care. PARTICIPANTS: Veterans with SCI/D included in the FY2019 cumulative VHA SCI/D Registry cohort with living status during FY2017, FY2018, and FY2019. INTERVENTIONS: N/A. OUTCOME MEASURES: We assessed the number of encounters and unique Veterans with SCI/D, and the percent of Veterans with SCI/D, who utilized each Whole Health (WH) program available in VA. RESULTS: Utilization of WH Pathway and well-being Programs increased from 62 encounters to 1703 encounters between FY2017 and FY2019 (representing 0.09% to 3.13% of Veterans with SCI/D). Utilization of chiropractic care rose from 130 encounters to 418 encounters during the same time period. Similarly, utilization of complementary and integrative health programs increased from 886 encounters to 2655 encounters (representing 1.09% to 3.11% of Veterans; FY2017 to 2019). We also report utilization of specific WH programs. CONCLUSION: Participation in WH services has been increasing among Veterans with SCI/D who receive health care from the VHA SCI/D System of Care. However, utilization among Veterans with SCI/D remains low overall, and targeted efforts to increase WH program reach are needed. Additional information about the relative effectiveness of different strategies to support WH implementation is also needed, to ensure strategies likely to have the most impact are prioritized.

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