Jennifer Humensky,1,2,3 Henry Carretta,1,4 Kristin de Groot,1 Melissa M. Brown,1 Elizabeth Tarlov,1,2 Denise M. Hynes1,2,5
1VA Information Resource Center, Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital 2Center for Management of Complex Chronic Care, Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital 3New York State Psychiatric Institute 4Florida State University 5University of Illinois
Objective: To examine care system choices for Veterans dually-eligible for VA and Medicare FFS following changes in VA eligibility policy, which expanded availability of VA health care services. Data Sources: VA and Medicare FFS enrollment and outpatient utilization databases in 1999 and 2004. Study Design: Multinomial logistic regression was used to examine odds of VA-only and Medicare-only utilization, relative to dual utilization, in 1999 and 2004. Observational cohort comprising a 5% random sample of dually-eligible Veterans: 73,721 in 1999 and 125,042 in 2004. Principal Findings: From 1999 to 2004, persons with the highest HCC risk scores had decreasing odds of exclusive VA reliance (OR=0.26 in 1999 and 0.17 in 2004, p<0.05), but had increasing odds of exclusive Medicare reliance (OR=0.43 in 1999 and 0.56 in 2004, p<0.05).Persons in high VA priority groups had decreasing odds of exclusive VA reliance, as well as decreasing odds of exclusive Medicare reliance, indicating increasing odds of dual use. Newly eligible Veterans with the highest HCC risk scores had higher odds of dual system use, while newly eligible Black Veterans had lower odds of dual system use. Conclusions: Veterans newly eligible for VA healthcare services, particularly those with the highest risk scores, had higher odds of dual system use compared to earlier eligibles. Providers should ensure coordination of care for Veterans who may be receiving care from multiple sources. Provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act may help to ensure care coordination for persons receiving care from multiple systems.
Keywords: Veterans, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Medicare, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), dual utilization, enrollment, eligibility