It remains unclear whether cardiovascular risk factors and access to healthcare for veterans with cardiovascular disease (CVD) vary among US regions. This study sought to determine the extent of regional variations in cardiovascular risk factors and access to medical care in a cohort of veterans with CVD in the USA.
The 2016 Centers for Disease Control Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey was utilized to identify a cohort of veteran patients with CVD. Participants were classified based on four US regions: (1) Northeast, (2) Midwest, (3) South, and (4) West. We compared demographic data, medical history, and access to care for veterans of each US region. The outcomes of interest included financial barriers to medical care and annual medical checkup.
Among the 13 835 veterans, 18.3% were from the Northeast, while 23.5, 37.1, and 21.1% were from the Midwest, South, and West, respectively. Veterans of each region differed significantly with respect to demographic characteristics, prior medical history, and access to care. Rates of financial barriers to medical care were similar across the four regions (7.3 vs. 7.1 vs. 8.0 vs. 6.9%, P = 0.203). Veterans from the West had the lowest rates of medical checkup within the past year (91.7 vs. 89.5 vs. 91.4 vs. 86.6%). On multivariate analysis, the Midwest [odds ratio (OR) 0.69; 95% CI, 0.53–0.89] and West (OR 0.53; 95% CI 0.41–0.68) regions were independently associated with lower rates of medical checkup within the past year compared to the Northeast.
In this observational study involving US veterans with CVD, cardiovascular risk factors and frequency of annual medical checkup differed amongst each US region. Further large-scale studies examining the prevalence of impaired access to care and quality of care in US veterans with CVD are warranted.