Spotlight on RAND’s work on veterans | Web version

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May 2018

Veterans

In the News

A veteran talks to a counselor

KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images

Few Civilian Health Providers in New York Ready to Provide Timely, Quality Care to Veterans

Only about 2 percent of physicians and other health care providers in New York State are equipped to provide timely and quality care to veterans in the community. Of providers surveyed in a new RAND study, most have the capacity to accommodate new patients, but as other measures across the health workforce are applied, such as screening for conditions common amongst veterans or familiarity with military culture, the proportion of providers prepared to care for veterans falls sharply. These findings suggest that training programs for private health providers are needed to increase military cultural competence and knowledge of the VA.

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Featured Research

Comparing Quality of Care in Veterans Affairs and Non-Veterans Affairs Settings

African American medical care provider meets with veteran

Steve Debenport/Getty Images

According to a new RAND study, the VA health care system performs similar to or better than non-VA providers on most measures of inpatient and outpatient care quality.

The study found wide variation in the quality of care provided across the VA health system, but the variation is smaller than what researchers observed among non-VA health providers.

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Bridging Gaps in Veterans Mental Health Care: Lessons Learned from the Welcome Back Veterans Initiative

An Army National Guardsman embraces a loved one upon returning to Virginia, July 10, 2017, from a deployment to the Middle East supporting Task Force Spartan Shield.

Sgt. 1st Terra C. Gatti/U.S. Army National Guard

Over the past decade, there have been a growing number of efforts designed to support service members, veterans, and their families as they cope with deployments and their aftermath. Addressing mental health consequences associated with these deployments has been a priority across governmental and nongovernmental sectors.

A collaborative network approach across government and private-sector mental health systems may help programs like these to build capacity and have a positive effect going forward. The study also found that continuous performance improvement focuses on processes and service and can help programs more effectively collaborate with external partners, enhance quality of care and service delivery, improve job satisfaction for health care personnel, and establish more efficient processes.

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Balancing Demand and Supply for Veterans’ Health Care: A Summary of Three RAND Assessments Conducted Under the Veterans Choice Act

A young man in a wheelchair

Peter Atkins/Fotolia

In response to concerns that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has faced about veterans’ access to care and the quality of care delivered, Congress enacted the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (“Veterans Choice Act”) in August 2014. The law called for a series of independent assessments of the VA health care system with reference to a broad array of topics.

RAND conducted three of these assessments that looked at veteran demographics and health care needs, VA health care capabilities, and VA authorities and mechanisms for purchasing care. These findings showed, among other things, that the nation’s veterans population on average is older and has elevated rates of many health conditions compared to the population of nonveterans; veterans who live far from the VA also live far from other health services; and demand for VA services will continue to increase until the end of the decade. The findings suggest that policymakers should make decisions about the future of the VA health care system with an eye toward how the size and demographics of the patient population is changing.

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Commentary

Comparing Suicide Rates: Making an Apples to Apples Comparison

As the national suicide rate continues to rise, an increasing number of stakeholders are looking within their own communities and asking, “Do we have a suicide problem?” It's a difficult question to answer.

Rajeev Ramchand, The Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention

RAND Congressional Resources Staff

Jayme Fuglesten
Director, Office of Congressional Relations

Jared Carter Perkins
Legislative Analyst

RAND Office of Congressional Relations
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