Funding: This research was funded by the Veterans Rural Health Resource Center—Western Region, Salt Lake City, Utah—Field Office for the Office of Rural Health. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs. This manuscript was reviewed by the Office of Rural Health, Department of Veterans Affairs, prior to submission.
Rural Native Veterans in the Veterans Health Administration: Characteristics and Service Utilization Patterns
Article first published online: 14 JAN 2013
© 2013 National Rural Health Association
The Journal of Rural Health
Volume 29, Issue 3, pages 304–310, Summer 2013
How to Cite
Kaufman, C. E., Brooks, E., Kaufmann, L. J., Noe, T., Nagamoto, H. T., Dailey, N., Bair, B. and Shore, J. (2013), Rural Native Veterans in the Veterans Health Administration: Characteristics and Service Utilization Patterns. The Journal of Rural Health, 29: 304–310. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-0361.2012.00450.x
- Issue published online: 26 JUN 2013
- Article first published online: 14 JAN 2013
- Veterans Rural Health Resource Center—Western Region, Salt Lake City, Utah
- Native American;
- utilization of health services;
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Indian Health Service (IHS) signed a Memo of Understanding in 2010 to strengthen their partnership in improving health care services for Native veterans, who are disproportionately rural. This paper describes the demographic and service use profile of rural Native veterans who access VA health care.
Data were abstracted from the 2008 Veteran Health Administration (VHA) medical dataset, and the characteristics of rural Native veterans were compared to rural non-Native veterans.
Rural Native veterans were more rural (41% vs 35%) and more highly rural (8% vs 2%) compared to non-Native veterans. Rural Native veterans were younger, more likely to be female, and earned about the same median income compared to rural non-Native veterans. Although rural Native veterans had fewer diagnoses on average, they were more likely to have served in combat areas and to have higher levels of service-connected disability compared to other rural veterans.
Demographic and service-related characteristics of rural Native veterans who accessed VA care differ from those of rural non-Native veterans. Identifying specific health care and service use characteristics will assist in the development of appropriate policy and programs to serve rural Native veterans.