Dual use of VA and non-VA services among primary care patients with depression.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Depression treatment requires close monitoring to achieve optimal, long-term control. Use of multiple sources of health care can affect coordination and continuity of treatment for depression. OBJECTIVES: To assess levels of non-Veterans Health Administration (VA) use among depressed primary care patients by service type and examine patient factors associated with non-VA use. DESIGN: Cross-sectional comparison of dual and VA-only users among depressed primary care patients. Depression was defined as PHQ-9 >or=10. SUBJECTS: Five hundred fifty depressed patients from the baseline sample of a group-randomized trial of collaborative care for depression in ten VA primary care practices. MEASUREMENTS: VA and non-VA outpatient utilization for physical and emotional health problems in the prior 6 months, patient demographics, and co-morbid conditions. All measures were self-reported and obtained at the baseline interview. RESULTS: Overall, 46.8% of VA depressed primary care patients utilized non-VA care. Dual users were more likely to use acute care services (emergency room or inpatient), especially for physical health problems. Dual users of physical health services had more total visits, but fewer VA visits than VA-only users, while dual users of emotional health services had fewer total and VA visits. Factors associated with dual use were urban clinic location, having other insurance coverage, and dissatisfaction with physical health care in general. CONCLUSIONS: Almost half of depressed primary care patients used non-VA care, with most of their non-VA use for physical rather than emotional health problems. Care management strategies for depressed patients should include communication and coordination with non-VA providers.
Project description:To determine associations between need, enabling, and predisposing factors with mental health service use among National Guard soldiers in the first year following a combat deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan.Primary data were collected between 2011 and 2013 from 1,426 Guard soldiers representing 36 units.Associations between Guard soldier factors and any mental health service use were assessed using multivariable logistic regression models in a cross-sectional study. Further analysis among service users (N = 405) assessed VA treatment versus treatment in other settings.Fifty-six percent of Guard soldiers meeting cutoffs on symptom scales received mental health services with 81 percent of those reporting care from the VA. Mental health service use was associated with need (mental health screens and physical health) and residing in micropolitan communities. Among service users, predisposing factors (middle age range and female gender) and enabling factors (employment, income above $50,000, and private insurance) were associated with greater non-VA services use.Overall service use was strongly associated with need, whereas sector of use (non-VA vs. VA) was insignificantly associated with need but strongly associated with enabling factors. These findings have implications for the recent extension of veteran health coverage to non-VA providers.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:VA and Medicare use among older Veterans has been considered fragmented care, however, it may represent access to needed care. METHODS:The population studied were Veterans with diabetes, age 66 years and older, dually enrolled in VA and Medicare. DATA SOURCE/STUDY SETTING:We conducted a dynamic retrospective cohort study with 2008, 2009, and 2010 as the outcome years (Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions Hospitalization (ACSC-H) or not). We analyzed administrative data to identify comorbidities; ambulatory care utilization to identify variations in use before hospitalization. We linked 2007 primary care (PC) survey data to assess if organizational factors were associated with ACSC-H. MEASURES AND ANALYSIS:We identified ACSC-Hs using a validated definition. We categorized VA/Medicare use as: single system; dual system: supplemental specialty care use; or primary care use. Using hierarchical logistic regression models, we tested for associations between VA/Medicare use, organizational characteristics, and ACSC-H controlling for patient-level, organizational-level, and area-level characteristics. RESULTS:Our analytic population was comprised of 210,726 Medicare-eligible Veterans; more than one quarter had an ACSC-H. We found that single system users had higher odds of ACSC-H compared with dual system specialty supplemental care use (odds ratio, 1.14; 95% confidence interval, 1.09-1.20), and no significant difference between dual-system users. Veterans obtaining care at sites where PC leaders reported greater autonomy (eg, authority over personnel issues) had lower odds of ACSC-H (odds ratio, 0.74; 95% confidence interval, 0.59-0.92). DISCUSSION:Our findings suggest that earlier assumptions about VA/Medicare use should be weighed against the possibility that neither VA nor Medicare may address complex Veterans' health needs. Greater PC leader autonomy may allow for tailoring of care to match local clinical contexts.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Compared to those with depression alone, depressed patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experience more severe psychiatric symptomatology and factors that complicate treatment. OBJECTIVE: To estimate PTSD prevalence among depressed military veteran primary care patients and compare demographic/illness characteristics of PTSD screen-positive depressed patients (MDD-PTSD+) to those with depression alone (MDD). DESIGN: Cross-sectional comparison of MDD patients versus MDD-PTSD+ patients. PARTICIPANTS: Six hundred seventy-seven randomly sampled depressed patients with at least 1 primary care visit in the previous 12 months. Participants composed the baseline sample of a group randomized trial of collaborative care for depression in 10 VA primary care practices in 5 states. MEASUREMENTS: The Patient Health Questionnaire-9 assessed MDD. Probable PTSD was defined as a Primary Care PTSD Screen > or = 3. Regression-based techniques compared MDD and MDD-PTSD+ patients on demographic/illness characteristics. RESULTS: Thirty-six percent of depressed patients screened positive for PTSD. Adjusting for sociodemographic differences and physical illness comorbidity, MDD-PTSD+ patients reported more severe depression (P < .001), lower social support (P < .001), more frequent outpatient health care visits (P < .001), and were more likely to report suicidal ideation (P < .001) than MDD patients. No differences were observed in alcohol consumption, self-reported general health, and physical illness comorbidity. CONCLUSIONS: PTSD is more common among depressed primary care patients than previously thought. Comorbid PTSD among depressed patients is associated with increased illness burden, poorer prognosis, and delayed response to depression treatment. Providers should consider recommending psychotherapeutic interventions for depressed patients with PTSD.
Project description:Veterans commonly receive care from both Veterans Health Administration (VA) and non-VA sources (i.e., dual use). A major challenge in comparing health outcomes between dual users and VA-predominant users is applying an accurate method of risk adjustment.To determine how different comorbidity indices affect the association between patterns of dual use and health outcomes.Retrospective cohort.A total of 316,775 community-dwelling Veterans (?65 years) with type 2 diabetes who were enrolled in VA and fee-for-service Medicare from 2008 to 2010.We determined the associations between dual use and death or diabetes-related hospitalization in FY 2010 using multivariable models incorporating claims-based (Elixhauser) or medication-based (RxRisk-V) risk adjustment. Dual use was classified using four previously identified groups of health services users: 1) VA-predominant, 2) VA + Medicare visits and labs, 3) VA + Medicare test strips, and 4) VA + Medicare medications.Controlling for Elixhauser comorbidities, dual-use groups 2-4 had significantly decreased odds of death or hospitalization compared to VA-predominant users. Controlling for RxRisk-V comorbidities, groups 2-4 had increased odds of death compared to VA-predominant users, but variable odds of hospitalization, with group 2 having increased odds (OR 1.06, CI 1.04-1.09), while groups 3 (OR 0.96, CI 0.94-0.99) and 4 (OR 0.93, CI 0.89-0.97) had decreased odds.The method of risk adjustment drastically influences the direction of effect in health outcomes among dual users of VA and Medicare. These findings underscore the need for standardized and reliable risk adjustment methods that are not susceptible to measurement differences across different health systems.
Project description:In response to widespread concerns regarding Veterans' access to VA care, Congress enacted the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, which required VA to establish the Veterans Choice Program (VCP). Since the inception of VCP, more than two million Veterans have received care from community providers, representing approximately 25% of Veterans enrolled in VA care. However, expanded access to non-VA care has created challenges in care coordination between VA and community health systems. In March 2018, the VA Health Services Research & Development Service hosted a VA State of the Art conference (SOTA) focused on care coordination. The SOTA convened VA researchers, program directors, clinicians, and policy makers to identify knowledge gaps regarding care coordination within the VA and between VA and community systems of care. This article provides a summary and synthesis of relevant literature and provides recommendations generated from the SOTA about how to evaluate cross-system care coordination. Care coordination is typically evaluated using health outcomes including hospital readmissions and death; however, in cross-system evaluations of care coordination, measures such as access, cost, Veteran/patient and provider satisfaction (including with cross-system communication), comparable quality metrics, context (urban vs. rural), and patient complexity (medical and mental health conditions) need to be included to fully evaluate care coordination effectiveness. Future research should examine the role of multiple individuals coordinating VA and non-VA care, and how these coordinators work together to optimize coordination.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Not much is known about nonelderly veterans and their reliance on care from the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system when they have access to non-VA care. OBJECTIVES:To estimate VA reliance for nonelderly veterans enrolled in VA and Medicaid. RESEARCH DESIGN:Retrospective, longitudinal analysis of Medicaid claims data and VA administrative data to compare patients' utilization of VA and Medicaid services 12 months before and for up to 12 months after Medicaid enrollment began. SUBJECTS:Nonelderly veterans (below 65?y) receiving VA care and newly enrolled in Medicaid, calendar years 2006-2010 (N=19,890). MEASURES:VA reliance (proportion of care received in VA) for major categories of outpatient and inpatient care. RESULTS:Patients used VA outpatient care at similar levels after enrolling in Medicaid with the exceptions of emergency department (ED) and obstetrics/gynecology care, which decreased. VA inpatient utilization was similar after Medicaid enrollment for most types of care. VA-adjusted outpatient reliance was highest for mental health care (0.99) and lowest for ED care (0.02). VA-adjusted inpatient reliance was highest for respiratory (0.80) and cancer stays (0.80) and lowest for musculoskeletal stays (0.20). Associations between VA reliance and distance to VA providers varied by type of care. CONCLUSIONS:Veterans dually enrolled in Medicaid received most of their outpatient care from the VA except ED, obstetrics/gynecology, and dental care. Patients received most of their inpatient care from Medicaid except mental health, respiratory, and cancer care. Sensitivity to travel distance to VA providers explained some of these differences.
Project description:The concurrent use of multiple health care systems may duplicate or fragment care. We assessed the characteristics of veterans who were dually enrolled in both the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system and a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan, and compared intermediate quality outcomes among those exclusively receiving care in the VA with those receiving care in both systems.VA and MA quality and administrative data from 2008 to 2009.We used propensity score methods to test the association between dual use and five intermediate outcome quality measures. Outcomes included control of cholesterol, blood pressure, and glycosylated hemoglobin among persons with coronary heart disease (CHD), hypertension, and diabetes.VA and MA data were merged to identify VA-only users (n = 1,637) and dual-system users (n = 5,006).We found no significant differences in intermediate outcomes between VA-only and dual-user populations. Differences ranged from a 3.2 percentage point (95 percent CI: -1.8 to 8.2) greater rate of controlled cholesterol among VA-only users with CHD to a 2.2 percentage point (95 percent CI: -2.4 to 6.6) greater rate of controlled blood pressure among dual users with diabetes.For the five measures studied, we did not find evidence that veterans with dual use of VA and MA care experienced improved or worsened outcomes as compared with veterans who exclusively used VA care.
Project description:Depression contributes to disability and there are ethnic/racial disparities in access and outcomes of care. Quality improvement (QI) programs for depression in primary care improve outcomes relative to usual care, but health, social and other community-based service sectors also support clients in under-resourced communities. Little is known about effects on client outcomes of strategies to implement depression QI across diverse sectors.To compare the effectiveness of Community Engagement and Planning (CEP) and Resources for Services (RS) to implement depression QI on clients' mental health-related quality of life (HRQL) and services use.Matched programs from health, social and other service sectors were randomized to community engagement and planning (promoting inter-agency collaboration) or resources for services (individual program technical assistance plus outreach) to implement depression QI toolkits in Hollywood-Metro and South Los Angeles.From 93 randomized programs, 4,440 clients were screened and of 1,322 depressed by the 8-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-8) and providing contact information, 1,246 enrolled and 1,018 in 90 programs completed baseline or 6-month follow-up.Self-reported mental HRQL and probable depression (primary), physical activity, employment, homelessness risk factors (secondary) and services use.CEP was more effective than RS at improving mental HRQL, increasing physical activity and reducing homelessness risk factors, rate of behavioral health hospitalization and medication visits among specialty care users (i.e. psychiatrists, mental health providers) while increasing depression visits among users of primary care/public health for depression and users of faith-based and park programs (each p < 0.05). Employment, use of antidepressants, and total contacts were not significantly affected (each p > 0.05).Community engagement to build a collaborative approach to implementing depression QI across diverse programs was more effective than resources for services for individual programs in improving mental HRQL, physical activity and homelessness risk factors, and shifted utilization away from hospitalizations and specialty medication visits toward primary care and other sectors, offering an expanded health-home model to address multiple disparities for depressed safety-net clients.
Project description:People in need of mental health treatment do not access care at high rates or in a timely manner, inclusive of Veterans at Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA) medical centers. Barriers to care have been identified, and one potential solution is the use of technology-based interventions within primary care. This study evaluated the Cognitive Anxiety Sensitivity Treatment (CAST), a previously developed computerized treatment that has shown efficacy in community samples for mental health symptoms including: anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, and suicidal ideation. VA primary care patients with elevated anxiety sensitivity (N = 25) were recruited to participate in a mixed-method open pilot to examine acceptability, usability, and preliminary effectiveness in a VA primary care setting. Participants completed an initial visit, that included the intervention, and a one-month follow-up. Veterans found CAST to be generally acceptable, with strong usability ratings. Qualitative analyses identified areas of strength and areas for improvement for use with VA primary care Veterans. Repeated measures ANCOVAs revealed significant effects for symptoms of anxiety, depression, traumatic-stress, and suicidal ideation. CAST could potentially have a large public health impact if deployed across VA medical centers as a first-step intervention for a range of mental health presenting concerns.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system aims to provide high-quality medical care to veterans in the USA, but the quality of VA care has recently drawn the concern of Congress. The objective of this study was to systematically review published evidence examining the quality of care provided at VA health care facilities compared to quality of care in other facilities and systems.<h4>Methods</h4>Building on the search strategy and results of a prior systematic review, we searched MEDLINE (from January 1, 2005, to January 1, 2015) to identify relevant articles on the quality of care at VA facilities compared to non-VA facilities. Articles from the prior systematic review published from 2005 and onward were also included and re-abstracted. Studies were classified, analyzed, and summarized by the Institute of Medicine's quality dimensions.<h4>Results</h4>Sixty-nine articles were identified (including 31 articles from the prior systematic review and 38 new articles) that address one or more Institute of Medicine quality dimensions: safety (34 articles), effectiveness (24 articles), efficiency (9 articles), patient-centeredness (5 articles), equity (4 articles), and timeliness (1 article). Studies of safety and effectiveness indicated generally better or equal performance, with some exceptions. Too few articles related to timeliness, equity, efficiency, and patient-centeredness were found from which to reliably draw conclusions about VA care related to these dimensions.<h4>Discussion</h4>The VA often (but not always) performs better than or similarly to other systems of care with regard to the safety and effectiveness of care. Additional studies of quality of care in the VA are needed on all aspects of quality, but particularly with regard to timeliness, equity, efficiency, and patient-centeredness.