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Veterans' health and access to care in the year after September 11, 2001.

Copeland LA, Fletcher CE, Patterson JE. Veterans' health and access to care in the year after September 11, 2001. Military medicine. 2005 Jul 1; 170(7):602-6.

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Abstract:

OBJECTIVE: The goal was to explore veterans' perceptions of their health care in the year after September 11, 2001. METHODS: A random sample of outpatients seen at a Manhattan (New York City) or Midwestern Veterans Affairs facility between September 12, 2001, and September 30, 2002, received a mailed questionnaire. Regression assessed the effects of site, demographic features, military service, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on health status, care-seeking, and satisfaction with health care among 490 patients. RESULTS: Veterans from New York City reported better health and more satisfaction that their providers listened to them. Patients with more PTSD symptoms reported poorer health, more September 11-related symptoms, and less satisfaction with care and were more likely to seek care outside the Veterans Affairs system. CONCLUSIONS: Proximity to the September 11 terrorist attacks had little relationship to patients' perceptions of their health and health care, whereas PTSD symptoms had a pervasive effect. Patients with PTSD symptoms may require outreach programs to assist them in dealing with catastrophic events, regardless of their proximity to the events.





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