Introduction: The objective of this study was to examine the association of military veteran socio-demographics and service-connected disability with civilian mechanism of traumatic brain injury and long-term Veterans Health Administration (VHA) costs. Methods: We conducted a 17-year retrospective longitudinal cohort study of veterans with a civilian-related traumatic brain injury from a Level 1 Trauma Center between 1999 and 2013, with VHA follow-up through 2016. We merged trauma center VHA data, and used logit to model mechanism of injury, and generalized linear model to model VHA costs. Results: African American race or Hispanic ethnicity veterans had a higher unadjusted rate of civilian assault/gun as mechanism of injury (15.38%) relative to non-Hispanic White (7.19%). African American race or Hispanic veterans who were discharged from the trauma center with traumatic brain injury and followed in VHA had more than twice the odds of assault/gun (OR 2.47; 95% CI 1.16:5.26), after adjusting for sex, age, and military service-connected disability. Veterans with service-connected disability ≥50% had more than twice the odds of assault/gun (OR 2.48; 95% CI 0.97:6.31). Assault/gun was associated with significantly higher annual VHA costs post-discharge ($16,807; 95% CI 672:32,941) among non-Hispanic White veterans. Military service-connected disability ≥50% was associated with higher VHA costs among both non-Hispanic White ($44,987; 95% CI $17,159:$72,816) and African American race or Hispanic ($37,901; 95% CI $4,543:$71,258) veterans. Conclusions: We found that African American race or Hispanic veterans had higher adjusted likelihood of assault/gun mechanism of traumatic brain injury, and non-Hispanic White veterans had higher adjusted annual VHA resource costs associated with assault/gun, post trauma center discharge. Veterans with higher than 50% service-connected disability had higher likelihood of assault/gun and higher adjusted annual VHA resource costs. Assault/gun prevention efforts may be indicated within the VHA, especially in minority and service-connected disability veterans. More data from Level 1 Trauma Centers are needed to assess the generalizability of these findings.
- Traumatic brain injury
- injury mechanism
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine