Differences in Experiences with Care between Homeless and Nonhomeless Patients in Veterans Affairs Facilities with Tailored and Nontailored Primary Care Teams

Academic Article


  • Background: Homeless patients describe poor experiences with primary care. In 2012, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) implemented homeless-tailored primary care teams (Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team, HPACTs) that could improve the primary care experience for homeless patients. Objective: To assess differences in primary care experiences between homeless and nonhomeless Veterans receiving care in VHA facilities that had HPACTs available (HPACT facilities) and in VHA facilities lacking HPACTs (non-HPACT facilities). Research Design: We used multivariable multinomial regressions to estimate homeless versus nonhomeless patient differences in primary care experiences (categorized as negative/moderate/positive) reported on a national VHA survey. We compared the homeless versus nonhomeless risk differences (RDs) in reporting negative or positive experiences in 25 HPACT facilities versus 485 non-HPACT facilities. Subjects: Survey respondents from non-HPACT facilities (homeless: n=10,148; nonhomeless: n=309,779) and HPACT facilities (homeless: n=2022; nonhomeless: n=20,941). Measures: Negative and positive experiences with access, communication, office staff, provider rating, comprehensiveness, coordination, shared decision-making, and self-management support. Results: In non-HPACT facilities, homeless patients reported more negative and fewer positive experiences than nonhomeless patients. However, these patterns of homeless versus nonhomeless differences were reversed in HPACT facilities for the domains of communication (positive experience RDs in non-HPACT versus HPACT facilities=-2.0 and 2.0, respectively); comprehensiveness (negative RDs=2.1 and -2.3), shared decision-making (negative RDs=1.2 and -1.8), and self-management support (negative RDs=0.1 and -4.5; positive RDs=0.5 and 8.0). Conclusions: VHA facilities with HPACT programs appear to offer a better primary care experience for homeless versus nonhomeless Veterans, reversing the pattern of relatively poor primary care experiences often associated with homelessness.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Medical Care  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Jones AL; Hausmann LRM; Kertesz S; Suo Y; Cashy JP; Mor MK; Schaefer JH; Gundlapalli AV; Gordon AJ
  • Start Page

  • 610
  • End Page

  • 618
  • Volume

  • 56
  • Issue

  • 7