Factors Associated with Delayed Care Among Women Veterans Actively Engaged in Primary Care

Kimberly S. Clair, Bevanne Bean-Mayberry, C. Amanda Schweizer, Catherine Chanfreau, La Shawnta Jackson, Claire T. Than, Erin P. Finley, Alison Hamilton, Melissa M. Farmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Delaying needed medical care contributes to greater health risks and higher long-term medical costs. Women Veterans with complex medical and mental health needs face increased barriers to timely care access. Objectives: In a sample of women Veterans with recent engagement in Veterans Administration (VA) primary care, we aimed to compare characteristics of women Veterans who delayed care in the past 6 months with those who did not and examine factors associated with self-reported delayed care. Our study aims to inform interventions focused on eliminating health care access disparities among women Veterans. Materials and Methods: An innovation to improve women Veterans’ engagement and retention in evidence-based health care for cardiovascular (CV) risk reduction (CV Toolkit) was implemented across five primary care sites within the VA. Women Veterans who were exposed to at least one CV Toolkit component participated in a mailed survey (n = 253). We used multivariate logistic regression to model factors associated with delaying care, including trust in VA providers, positive mental health screening (i.e., positive screen for either depression or anxiety), traumatic experience, self-rated health, and age. Results: Women with any mental health symptoms (odds ratio [OR] 2.42, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.23–4.74) and women who had experienced a traumatic event (OR 2.61, 95%CI: 1.11–6.14) were significantly more likely to report delaying care. Conclusions: Our study identified high rates of delayed care—over one-third of respondents—among women Veterans with recent primary care engagement. Mental health symptoms were the most common reported reason for delay among those who delayed care. Clinical Trial registration: NCT02991534.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Women's Health
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • health services accessibility
  • mental health
  • Veterans
  • women’s health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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