OBJECTIVE: Many veterans undergo cancer surgery outside of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). We assessed to what extent these patients obtained care in the VHA before surgery.
ATA SOURCES: VHA-Medicare data, VHA administrative data, and Veterans Affairs Central Cancer Registry data.
STUDY DESIGN: We identified patients aged ≥65 years in the VHA-Medicare cohort who underwent lung or colon cancer resection outside the VHA and assessed VHA visits in the year before surgery.
PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Over 60% of patients in the VHA-Medicare cohort who received lung or colon cancer surgeries outside the VHA did not receive any care in VHA before surgery.
CONCLUSIONS:Veterans' receipt of major cancer surgery outside the VHA probably reflects usual private sector care among veterans who are infrequent VHA users.