Gynecologists in the VA

Do They Enhance Availability of Sex-Specific Services and Policies in the Emergency Department?

Published in: Medical Care, v. 53, no. 4, suppl. 1, Apr. 2015, p. S76-S80

Posted on RAND.org on March 24, 2015

by Kristen E. Gray, Jodie G. Katon, Lisa S. Callegari, Kristina M. Cordasco, Laurie C. Zephyrin

OBJECTIVES: To examine the association between on-site gynecology and availability of sex-specific services and policies in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) emergency departments (EDs). RESEARCH DESIGN: Cross-sectional analysis using data from a VA national inventory of emergency services for women and gynecologist staffing information from the VA Office of Productivity, Efficiency, and Staffing. SUBJECTS: ED directors from all VA medical centers (N=120). MEASURES: We used logistic regression to evaluate the association between on-site gynecologist full-time equivalents (FTEs, <0.5 and ≥0.5), and availability of sex-specific ED services, such as consult and follow-up within VA by a gynecologist, emergency contraception, rho (D) immunoglobulin, pelvic ultrasound, and transfer policies for obstetric and gynecologic emergencies. All analyses were adjusted for number of ED encounters by women. RESULTS: Greater gynecologist FTE (≥0.5 vs. <0.5) was associated with increased odds of on-site availability of a gynecology consultation in the ED [odds ratio (OR)=10.9; 95% confidence interval (CI): 3.2, 36.6] and gynecologist follow-up within VA after an ED encounter (OR=2.5; 95% CI: 1.0, 6.2). A positive trend was seen in availability of rho (D) immunoglobulin (OR=1.4; 95% CI: 0.6, 3.5) and presence of transfer policies for obstetric (OR=1.7; 95% CI: 0.7, 4.5) and gynecologic emergencies (OR=1.6; 95% CI: 0.6, 4.2). Half of the facilities with <0.5 FTE did not have transfer policies in place or under development. CONCLUSIONS: On-site gynecologist FTE is associated with improved availability of sex-specific care in EDs. Development of transfer processes for obstetric and gynecologic emergencies in settings with limited on-site gynecology is needed.

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