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Self-rated health and health care utilization after military deployments

Self-rated health and health care utilization after military deployments

Military Medicine 171(7): 662-668

Self-rated general health is one element of the standard health assessment required of U.S. military service members upon completion of major deployments. A cohort study of 22,229 male U.S. Army and Air Force personnel returning from Europe or Southwest Asia in 2000 used survival analysis methods and Cox proportional hazard models to examine postdeployment self-rated health (SRH) status and subsequent hospitalization, separation, and ambulatory care visits. Self-rated health was fair/poor for 1.5% and good for 20.4%; 11% documented at least one health concern. During 30,433 person-years of follow-up (median, 1.5 person-years), there were 22.8 hospitalizations per 1,000 person-years and 4.0 ambulatory care visits per person-years. After adjustment, deployers with fair/poor SRH had an increased risk for hospitalization (hazard ratio [HRI, 1.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0,2.7); the risk was lower for those with good SRH (HR, 1.3; 95% CI,1.1,1.5). Deployers with fair/poor SRH health had an increased risk for illness-related ambulatory care visits (HR, 1.8, 95%; CI, 1.6,2.1) and administrative visits (HR, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.1,1.7), but not injury-related visits (HR, 1.2; 95% CI, 0.8,1.7). Self-reported low health status and other health concerns identify military members with higher levels of health care needs following return from major deployments.

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Accession: 050276240

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PMID: 16895138

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