The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has released a report that shows
improvement in gender disparities in 12 out of 14 Healthcare
Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) measures in VA since 2008.
HEDIS measures are used by 90 percent of America's health plans to
measure performance on important dimensions of care and service, such as
screening, prevention and chronic disease management. VA consistently
scores higher than private sector health care on both gender-specific
and gender-neutral HEDIS measures.
"We have a solemn obligation to provide high-quality health care to all
Veterans, regardless of gender. Although we are encouraged by the
progress we have achieved, we are not going to stop working until all
gaps are eliminated," said Secretary Eric K. Shinseki.
VA began a national initiative to eliminate gender gaps in preventive
care in 2008. In 2011, VA asked each health care region across the
country to review gender disparity data and create and implement an
improvement plan. The Comparing the Care of Men and Women Veterans in
the Department of Veterans Affairs report released by VA's Office of
Informatics and Analytics (OIA) indicates progress. The report shows
that VA improved gender disparities in six performance measures specific
to VA, including the screening rate for persistence of Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms.
Other findings from the report include:
VA has improved rates of screening women Veterans for depression, PTSD
and colorectal cancer.
VA has improved disease prevention for women Veterans through
increased vaccination rates.
VA has improved chronic disease management for women Veterans in
hypertension, diabetes and hyperlipidemia, all significant risk
factors for cardiac disease.
Although the gender gaps have narrowed, care remains better for men
than women in cholesterol control, diabetes management and flu
The OIA report includes results of Veterans' inpatient and outpatient
satisfaction surveys, which show that men and women Veterans reported
similar satisfaction except in the Getting Care Quickly and Getting
Needed Care outpatient sections.
VA has implemented a national initiative to improve care for women
Veterans. Some of the components include training VA providers in basic
and advanced women's health care, implementation of women's health
primary care teams at VA facilities nationwide and ramped-up
communications efforts. The Women Veterans Health Strategic Health Care
Group, which leads the initiative, also issued a report looking at
gender disparities. That report, Gender Differences in Performance
Measures, VHA 2008-2011, identifies best practices for eliminating
gender gaps based on success in VA networks.
"We're looking at what works and trying to replicate it throughout VA's
system," said Patricia Hayes, chief consultant for the Women Veterans
Health Strategic Health Care Group. "We want to sustain this trend
toward shrinking gender disparities and become a model for all other
health care systems on how to eliminate gender disparities. Most
importantly, we want to give every Veteran the best health care."
Department of Veterans Affairs