Volume 46 Number 8, 2009
Pages 1003 — 1010
Abstract — In an attempt to increase understanding regarding the nonacute healthcare needs of veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI), we examined the outpatient utilization and cost patterns of 72 patients with TBI who were at least 4 years postinjury. We selected participants from a clinical database of veterans receiving care at a western Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical center. We extracted data from national utilization databases maintained by the VA and examined data from primary care and internal medicine, psychiatry and substance use, rehabilitation, and other services (e.g., ancillary, diagnostic, prosthetic, dental, nursing home, and home care). We extracted data for fiscal years 2002 to 2007. In addition to descriptive statistics, we modeled visits per year as a function of time since injury. The data show that this sample of patients with TBI consistently used a wide array of outpatient services over time with considerable variation in cost. Further study regarding economic aspects of care for patients with TBI is warranted.
Key words: aging, costs, Department of Veterans Affairs, healthcare, nonacute care, outpatient services, rehabilitation, traumatic brain injury, utilization, veterans.