Dual utilization of Medicare and VA outpatient care among Veterans with spinal cord injuries and disorders

Maya N. Hatch*, Bella Etingen, Jason Raad, Sameer Siddiqui, Kevin T. Stroupe, Bridget M. Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Veterans with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D) utilizing Veterans Affairs healthcare facilities are also Medicare eligible. Use of multiple health care systems potentially duplicates or fragments care in this population; yet little is known about those using multiple systems. This study describes dual use of services paid for by VA and Medicare among Veterans with SCI/D. Design: Retrospective, cross-sectional, observational study. Participants: Veterans with SCI/D (n = 13,902) who received healthcare services within the VA SCI System of Care and were eligible for or enrolled in Medicare in 2011. Interventions: N/A. Outcome Measures: Patient characteristics, average number of visits and patient level frequencies of reasons for visits were determined for individuals within healthcare utilization (VA only, Medicare only, or dual VA/Medicare) groups. Multinomial logistic regression analyses were used to investigate associations of patient variables on dual use. Results: 65.3% of Veterans with SCI/D were VA only users for outpatient encounters, 4.4% had encounters paid for by Medicare only, and 30.3% were dual users. Veterans were less likely to be VA only users if they were older than 69 and if they had been injured for greater than ten years. African American Veterans with SCI (compared to white) were more likely to be VA only users. Conclusion: A substantial number (∼30%) of Veterans with SCI/D are dual users. These numbers highlight the importance of improved strategies to coordinate care and increase health information sharing across systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Spinal Cord Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Coordination of care
  • Healthcare utilization
  • Medicare
  • Spinal cord injuries and disorders
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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