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Women veterans' perceptions and decision-making about Veterans Affairs health care.

Washington DL, Kleimann S, Michelini AN, Kleimann KM, Canning M. Women veterans' perceptions and decision-making about Veterans Affairs health care. Military medicine. 2007 Aug 1; 172(8):812-7.

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The increase in women in the military is reshaping the veteran population and Veterans Affairs (VA) health care delivery imperatives. To determine women veterans' perspectives and decision-making about VA health care use, we conducted six focus groups (four VA users and two nonusers) and identified key themes. Barriers to VA use for both VA users and nonusers included lack of information about eligibility and available services. Nonusers often assumed the VA did not provide women's health care. All groups emphasized they required a health care system focused on quality and sensitivity to women's health issues. However, users and nonusers differed in perceptions of VA quality. VA environment and quality concerns led many women to limit their VA use to women's clinics. These qualitative findings provide a context to highlight where interventions and policies suggested by quantitative findings should focus. Dissemination of accurate information about VA eligibility and services, and continued responsiveness to women's perceptions of care are indicated.

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