Preventive Care Delivery After the Veterans Choice Program


      The Veterans Choice Program expanded Veteran access to community care. The Veterans Choice Program may negatively impact the receipt of preventive care services owing to care fragmentation. This study assesses 10 measures of preventive care in Veterans with the Department of Veterans Affairs coverage before and after the Veterans Choice Program.


      The study population included Veterans who responded to the National Health Interview Survey during the 2 time periods before and after Veterans Choice Program implementation: January 2011–October 2014 and November 2015–December 2018. Outcomes were preventive care services categorized as cardiovascular risk reduction (cholesterol monitoring, blood pressure monitoring, aspirin use), infectious disease prevention (influenza vaccination and HIV testing), and diabetes care (fasting blood glucose monitoring, podiatry visits, ophthalmology visits, influenza vaccination, and pneumonia vaccination). Two different analyses were conducted: (1) unadjusted and multivariable-adjusted pre–post analysis and (2) difference-in-differences analyses. Analyses were conducted in 2019.


      Measures of cardiovascular risk reduction and influenza vaccination were not statistically different before and after Veterans Choice Program implementation using the 2 different analytic approaches. In unadjusted pre–post analysis, after Veterans Choice Program implementation, Veterans with Veterans Affairs coverage had increased HIV testing (66.1%‒75.4%, p=0.008), podiatry visits (22.4%‒38.3%, p=0.01), and ophthalmology visits (62.2%‒77.2%, p=0.02). Using multivariable adjustment for participant sociodemographic factors, Veterans Choice Program implementation was associated with higher odds of podiatry visits (AOR=2.28, 95% CI=1.24, 4.20, p=0.009) and ophthalmology visits (AOR=2.11, 95% CI=1.13, 3.94, p=0.02) among Veterans with diabetes. In difference-in-differences analyses, Veterans Choice Program implementation was associated with increased podiatry visits (AOR=2.95, 95% CI=1.49, 5.83, p=0.002) among Veterans with diabetes and Veterans Affairs coverage compared with that among those with other coverage types, but no statistically significant effect was observed for ophthalmology visits.


      Veterans with Veterans Affairs coverage and diabetes had an increase in podiatry visits after Veterans Choice Program implementation. There was no evidence that Veterans Choice Program implementation had a negative impact on the receipt of preventive care services among Veterans with Veterans Affairs coverage.
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