242985 Collaboration between the Department of Veterans Affairs and rural community health centers

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 2:50 PM

Hilda Heady, MSW, ACSW , Atlas Research LLC, Washington, DC
Veronica Jackson, MHSA , Atlas Research LLC, Washington, DC
Jason Ormsby, PhD, MBA, MHSA , Department of Health Systems Administration, Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies, Washington, DC
Wendy Opsahl, MA , Atlas Research, Washington, DC
Ryung Suh, MD MPH MPP MBA , Department of Health Systems Administration, SNHS, Georgetown University, Vienna, VA
Since 2008, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) actively seeks to better understand the number of Community Health Center (CHC) patients who are Veterans. Despite efforts to gain this insight, the exact number of Veterans, both enrolled and non-enrolled in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), served by CHCs remains unclear. This innovative pilot project seeks to identify rural Veteran CHC patients within the Capitol Health Care Network, increase rural Veteran enrollment, and better coordinate rural Veteran care between VHA and CHCs. Through a baseline assessment and telephone interviews of roughly 200 Veteran patients of participating rural CHC pilot sites, this project analyzed a geographically diverse CHC population, assessing data trends, such as age, gender, market penetration, service connection, and priority status, and developed specific recommendations for improved data collection on rural Veterans among all CHCs. According to the baseline assessment, in 2008 and 2009 an aggregate total of 2,500 Veterans were served by these CHCs. Although most are male, the women Veterans have unique health care needs. The male Veteran population is largely over the age of 65, suggesting a need for geriatric specialty care and home health services. Finally, given the high number of enrolled Veterans who have incomes below the VA national income threshold, it is likely that much of the non-enrolled Veteran population may also need financial support to obtain needed health care. Based upon the results of this assessment, the project team will select a number of CHC sites to participate in a four-month pilot project that will focus on: increasing VHA enrollment, improving the CHC intake process, developing outreach and education materials, establishing communication channels, and building a framework for clinical collaboration between the VHA and CHCs. This project has the potential to serve a framework for a collaborative care pilot developed around the clinical needs of rural Veterans who have access to both systems of health care. The project could also serve as a national model for VA and other Veterans Integrated Service Networks to collaborate with CHCs.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
Assess the factors influencing a Veteranís decision to use CHCs in addition to, or instead of VHA services. Assess the factors influencing a Veteranís decision to enroll in the VHA system. Identify strategies for how to foster and improve collaboration between VHA and CHCs nationwide.

Keywords: Community Collaboration, Rural Health Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Principal investigator
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
Atlas Research Management Consulting Employment (includes retainer) and Stock Ownership

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.