The Veterans Health Administration spent $78 billion in the 2019 fiscal year. (CBO)
More than nine million veterans are currently enrolled in the VA health care program.
The number of PCORI-funded comparative effectiveness research studies that involve or are recruiting veterans, are based at the VA health centers, or focus on conditions on topics highly relevant to veterans and those who care or them. (As of December 2021)
Veterans Health Study Spotlights
As the country pauses this week to honor our nation’s veterans, learn how PCORI’s resources are helping teams at the Denver VA Medical Center and Boston VA Research Institute make their research with former service members more patient-centered.
Through the Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Awards, veterans and their families participated in driving research on health issues that mattered to them, ranging from posttraumatic stress disorder to familial interpersonal strain. PCORI stakeholders listened to veterans and their families, built the tools to support their engagement, and developed a network to sustain this support.
People who have a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, often have sleep apnea, which can make TBI symptoms worse and recovery difficult. In this study, the research team is comparing different ways of diagnosing sleep apnea in patients being treated for TBI. The project uses two types of diagnostic tools—portable equipment used at the patient’s bedside and equipment monitored by a technician while the patient sleeps in a lab. The team is trying to determine how to improve screening of patients at high risk for apnea to improve TBI care outcomes.
Posttraumatic stress disorder is the most common mental illness among veterans. People with PTSD have a higher risk of long-term physical illness, problems in social situations, and even death compared to those without PTSD. PCORI-funded researchers in California are reviewing the medical records of veterans with PTSD to gauge the benefits and risks of “second-line” medicines for PTSD—those that clinicians prescribe when drugs known to work best for most people are not effective.
Many doctors prescribe opioids for people living with chronic pain, including veterans. But these drugs might not work as well as other pain management approaches and can have serious side effects and long-term risks. PCORI-funded researchers in Minnesota are working with patients who go to VA health facilities and have chronic pain even though they use opioids. The researchers are comparing different treatment options to see if they can help these patients control their pain while reducing their use of opioids.