INTRODUCTION: Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions are commonly seen among military service members (SM) and Veterans. We explored correlates of award of MSK-related service-connected disability benefits (SCDB) among SM seeking care in Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Department of Defense data on SM who separated from October 1, 2001 to May 2017 were linked to VA administrative data. Using adjusted logistic regression models, we determined the odds of receiving MSK SCDB.
RESULTS: A total of 1,558,449 (79% of separating SM) had at least one encounter in VA during the study period (7.8% disability separations). Overall, 51% of this cohort had at least one MSK SCDB (88% among disability separations, 48% among normal). Those with disability separations (as compared to normal separations) were significantly more likely to receive MSK SCDB (odds ratio 2.37) as were females (compared to males, odds ratio 1.15).
CONCLUSIONS: Although active duty SM with disability separations were more likely to receive MSK-related service-connected disability ratings in the VA, those with normal separations also received such awards. Identifying those at highest risk for MSK-related disability could lead to improved surveillance and prevention strategies in the Department of Defense and VA health care systems to prevent further damage and disability.
- Afghan Campaign 2001-
- Disability Evaluation
- Disabled Persons/rehabilitation
- Iraq War, 2003-2011
- Logistic Models
- Middle Aged
- Military Personnel/statistics & numerical data
- Musculoskeletal Diseases/complications
- United States
- United States Department of Veterans Affairs/organization & administration
- Veterans/statistics & numerical data