Providence VA Medical Center, Rhode Island
Geriatric and Extended Care/Data Analysis Center at PVAMC
Did you know that in 2010 the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) provided long-term services and supports (LTSS) to more than 800,000 Veterans? LTSS are also known as “extended care” and encompass various formal services that support the needs of people unable to complete on their own a range of critical daily activities, such as bathing and dressing. People residing in nursing homes customarily have these needs but many others who require LTSS receive them in their homes. During the next decade alone, over 700,000 Veterans enrolled for health care and services with VHA will be over the age of 85, and this age group has a greater need for LTSS than any other age group. Yet contrary to popular belief, extended care is not only for aging populations. Younger Veterans, including disabled Veterans serving in Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn, are also increasingly using them, although at lower rates.
The Office of Geriatrics and Extended Care (GEC) is responsible for the scope and quality of the VHA programs focusing on the clinical and support needs of Veterans requiring geriatric care or LTSS. This Office strives to provide these services in a patient centered, integrated manner that is informed by individual preferences. VHA supports providing care in settings that are safe, affordable, and as home-like as possible. GEC employs state-of-the-art and proven strategies in its delivery of geriatric and extended care. But in order to continuously improve these services for Veterans, GEC must collect a range of information about its programs, services, and clients; as well as how a Veteran’s status changes when he or she receives care.
Recently, under the direction of Dr. Orna Intrator (Dr. Intrator is a long-term care researcher with both the Providence VA Medical Center and Brown University), GEC established a Data and Analysis Center (GEC DAC) located on the campus of the Providence VA Medical Center. GEC DAC Associate Directors are Ciaran Phibbs, Ph.D. from the Health Economics Research Center (HERC) at the Palo Alto VAMC, and Bruce Kinosian, M.D. from Philadelphia VAMC.
The GEC DAC will evaluate VA geriatric and extended care programs and provide evidence-based information to serve GEC’s programmatic, planning, and policy needs. Because the majority of older Veterans receive care both from VA and outside the VA, this evaluation must take into account not just VA services but the full range of health care Veterans receive. The GEC DAC will use a new method that integrates VA data with Medicare and Medicaid data. This data is able to anonymously track individuals’ health care utilization and identify patterns of care. Summaries of these patterns of care across various populations (and not individuals) is important information for GEC. Applied nationally for all Veterans receiving geriatric and extended care, this approach will provide information that can be used to compare care received in different VA Medical Centers, examine how it has changed over the past several years, and assist in the continuous improvement of extended care that our Veterans will receive.
For more information about GEC DAC, please contact the GEC DAC coordinator at vhaproGECDAC@va.gov.