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16-01-2024 | Original Research

Health Conditions and Treatment Utilization Among Older Male Veterans Incarcerated in Prisons

Authors: Lance Washington, MA, Jennifer Bronson, PhD, Christine Timko, PhD, Benjamin Han, MD, Jessica Blue-Howells, MSW, Andrea K. Finlay, PhD

Published in: Journal of General Internal Medicine | Issue 8/2024

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Abstract

Background

More than 50,000 older male veterans incarcerated in prisons are expected to return to their communities and utilize the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and community healthcare systems. To support the continuity of healthcare and overall successful community reentry of older incarcerated veterans, an understanding of their health profiles and treatment utilization while in correctional care is needed.

Objective

To assess the health status of older male veterans incarcerated in state prisons and explore demographic, military, and VHA-related factors associated with medical conditions, disabilities, behavioral conditions, and medical and behavioral treatment utilization.

Design/Participants

Cross-sectional observational study of 880 male veterans aged 50 + incarcerated in state prisons using data from the 2016 Bureau of Justice Statistics Survey of Prison Inmates.

Main Measures

Veteran status, self-report health status, and treatment utilization since prison admission. Prevalence rates for conditions and treatment utilization were calculated. Logistic regression models were used to examine the association of characteristics with conditions and treatment utilization.

Key Results

Among the 880 older male veterans in state prisons, the majority reported having a current medical condition (79.3%) or disability (61.6%), almost half had history of a mental health condition (44.5%), and more than a quarter (29%) had a substance use disorder. Compared to White veterans, Black veterans were less likely to report a disability or mental health condition. Few demographic, military, and VA-related characteristics were associated with medical or behavioral conditions or treatment utilization.

Conclusion

Our results suggest that the VHA and community healthcare systems need to be prepared to address medical and disability conditions among the majority of older male veterans who will be leaving prison and returning to their communities. Integrated medical and behavioral healthcare delivery models may be especially important for these veterans as many did not receive behavioral health treatment while in prison.
Literature
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go back to reference Bronson J. Veterans in prison and jail, 2011-12. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Washington, DC. 2016. Bronson J. Veterans in prison and jail, 2011-12. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Washington, DC. 2016.
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Metadata
Title
Health Conditions and Treatment Utilization Among Older Male Veterans Incarcerated in Prisons
Authors
Lance Washington, MA
Jennifer Bronson, PhD
Christine Timko, PhD
Benjamin Han, MD
Jessica Blue-Howells, MSW
Andrea K. Finlay, PhD
Publication date
16-01-2024
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Published in
Journal of General Internal Medicine / Issue 8/2024
Print ISSN: 0884-8734
Electronic ISSN: 1525-1497
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-023-08587-5

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