Recommendations for the Evaluation of Cross-System Care Coordination from the VA State-of-the-art Working Group on VA/Non-VA Care.J Gen Intern Med. 2019 05; 34(Suppl 1):18-23.JG
In response to widespread concerns regarding Veterans' access to VA care, Congress enacted the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, which required VA to establish the Veterans Choice Program (VCP). Since the inception of VCP, more than two million Veterans have received care from community providers, representing approximately 25% of Veterans enrolled in VA care. However, expanded access to non-VA care has created challenges in care coordination between VA and community health systems. In March 2018, the VA Health Services Research & Development Service hosted a VA State of the Art conference (SOTA) focused on care coordination. The SOTA convened VA researchers, program directors, clinicians, and policy makers to identify knowledge gaps regarding care coordination within the VA and between VA and community systems of care. This article provides a summary and synthesis of relevant literature and provides recommendations generated from the SOTA about how to evaluate cross-system care coordination. Care coordination is typically evaluated using health outcomes including hospital readmissions and death; however, in cross-system evaluations of care coordination, measures such as access, cost, Veteran/patient and provider satisfaction (including with cross-system communication), comparable quality metrics, context (urban vs. rural), and patient complexity (medical and mental health conditions) need to be included to fully evaluate care coordination effectiveness. Future research should examine the role of multiple individuals coordinating VA and non-VA care, and how these coordinators work together to optimize coordination.