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J Ambul Care Manage. 2004 Jul-Sep;27(3):249-62.

Comparing the health status of VA and non-VA ambulatory patients: the veterans' health and medical outcomes studies.

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1
Department of Clinical Care Research, New England Medical Center, 750 Washington St, Box 345, Boston, MA 02111, USA.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to compare health status and disease profiles of ambulatory patients in specific Veterans Administration (VA) and civilian healthcare settings. A random sample of 2425 male veterans seeking care at 4 Boston-area VA outpatient clinics, who took part in the Veterans Health Study (VHS) in 1993-1995, were compared to 1318 male patients seeking civilian outpatient care in 3 major metropolitan areas covered in the Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) in 1986. The MOS sampled patients who had 1 of 5 conditions--hypertension, noninsulin-dependent diabetes, recent myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, or depression. These 2 samples were age adjusted and compared in terms of the SF-36 Health Status/Quality of Life measures, and a list of 100 clinical variables (diagnostic, symptom, and medical event reports) collected with comparable instruments by a trained clinical observer. Individual odds ratios (VHS to MOS) were calculated for each measure and clinical variables. SF-36 measures of patient health in the VHS were lower than those in the MOS by more than one half of a standard deviation (SD) on 4 of 8 scales, by more than one quarter of a SD on the other 4, by 58% of a SD on the physical health summary scale, and by 37% of a SD on the mental health summary scale (P < .0001 in all cases). The median odds ratio was 2.2 among the SF-36 scales and 1.9 among clinical variables. Outpatients in the 4 VA clinics had more than twice the illness burden than did patients in the MOS. Current economic condition and service-connected disability explain most, if not all, of the differences. The differences were clinically and socially meaningful and would be consistent with substantially higher expected healthcare use.

PMID:
15287215
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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