VA community-based outpatient clinics: performance measures based on patient perceptions of care

Med Care. 2002 Jul;40(7):578-86. doi: 10.1097/00005650-200207000-00004.


Background: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently initiated a system of Community- Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) to enhance delivery of primary care to veterans.

Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the effect of CBOCs on patients' perceptions of care.

Research design: The study design is a cross-sectional survey.

Subjects: This study compares 4,980 patients from 44 geographically diverse CBOCs to 4,159 patients from 36 parent VA Medical Center primary care clinics administratively and geographically associated with the CBOCs studied.

Measures: Survey data were obtained from the 1998 VA National Outpatient Customer Satisfaction Survey which assesses eight multiitem scales addressing access and timeliness of care, education/information, patient preferences, emotional support, coordination of care, courtesy, and specialty care access. Each scale was evaluated based upon item responses that indicate a problem with care. The survey also contained SF-12 health status measures used for case-mix adjustment.

Results: Multivariate logistic regression controlling for patient health status measures revealed that CBOC patients reported fewer problems with care than VA-based patients on 7 of 8 scales though the absolute differences were small for most of the scales. The largest difference was observed for the access/timeliness scale. Significant differences between VA-staff and contract CBOCs were not observed.

Conclusions: These results suggest that veterans participating in VA's initiative to provide primary care in community-based settings report no more than, and in some dimensions fewer problems with care compared with veterans who receive care in VAMC clinics.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Community Health Centers / standards*
  • Community Health Centers / statistics & numerical data
  • Continuity of Patient Care / standards
  • Continuity of Patient Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / standards
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Services Accessibility / standards
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitals, Veterans / standards*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital / standards*
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Quality of Health Care / standards*
  • Quality of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • United States
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs*