A cluster randomized Hybrid Type III trial testing an implementation support strategy to facilitate the use of an evidence-based practice in VA homeless programs.
ABSTRACT: The Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program is one of the largest initiatives to end Veteran homelessness. However, mental health and substance use disorders continue to reduce client stability and impede program success. HUD-VASH programs do not consistently employ evidence-based practices that address co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. This paper presents a study protocol to evaluate the implementation of an evidence-based, co-occurring disorder treatment called Maintaining Independence and Sobriety Through Systems Integration, Outreach, and Networking-Veterans Edition (MISSION-Vet) in HUD-VASH using an implementation strategy called Getting To Outcomes (GTO).In three large VA Medical Centers, this Hybrid Type III trial will randomize case managers and their clients by HUD-VASH sub-teams to receive either MISSION-Vet Implementation as Usual (IU-standard training and access to the MISSION-Vet treatment manuals) or MISSION-Vet implementation augmented by GTO. In addition to testing GTO, effectiveness of the treatment (MISSION-Vet) will be assessed using existing Veteran-level data from the HUD-VASH data monitoring system. This project will compare GTO and IU case managers and their clients on the following variables: (1) fidelity to the MISSION-Vet intervention; (2) proportion of time the Veteran is housed; (3) mental health, substance use, and functional outcomes among Veterans; and (4) factors key to the successful deployment of a new treatment as specified by the Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance (RE-AIM) model.This project is an important step for developing an implementation strategy to increase adoption of evidence-based practice use in VA homeless programs, and to further examine efficacy of MISSION-Vet in HUD-VASH. This project has important implications for program managers, policy makers, and researchers within the homelessness field. VA Central IRB approval for this study was granted in October 2011. The three sites were trained on MISSION-Vet and GTO in the first half of 2013. The first GTO planning meetings began after training occurred, between January 2013 and November 2013, across the three sites. The data collection-via a fidelity measure embedded into the VA Computerized Patient Record System-began as each site initiated MISSION-Vet, between April 2013 and January 2014.ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01430741.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Evidence-based treatment for co-occurring disorders is needed within programs that serve homeless Veterans to assist with increasing engagement in care and to prevent future housing loss. A specialized co-occurring disorders treatment engagement intervention called Maintaining Independence and Sobriety Through Systems Integration, Outreach and Networking - Veterans Edition (MISSION-Vet) was implemented within the Housing and Urban Development - Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Programs with and without an implementation strategy called Getting To Outcomes (GTO). While implementation was modest for the GTO group, no one adopted MISSION in the non-GTO group. This paper reports Veteran level outcome data on treatment engagement and select behavioral health outcomes for Veterans exposed to the MISSION-Vet model compared to Veterans without access to MISSION-Vet. METHODS:This hybrid Type III trial compared 81 Veterans in the GTO group to a similar group of 87 Veterans with mental health and substance use disorders from the caseload of staff in the non-GTO group. Comparisons were made on treatment engagement, negative housing exits, drug and alcohol abuse, inpatient hospitalizations, emergency department visits and income level over time, using mixed-effect or Cox regression models. RESULTS:Treatment engagement, as measured by the overall number of case manager contacts with Veterans and others (e.g. family members, health providers), was significantly higher among Veterans in the GTO group (B?=?2.30, p?=?.04). Supplemental exploratory analyses between Veterans who received "higher" and "lower" intensity MISSION-Vet services in the GTO group failed to show differences in alcohol and drug use, inpatient hospitalization and emergency department use. CONCLUSIONS:Despite modest MISSION-Vet fidelity among staff treating Veterans in the GTO group, differences were found in treatment engagement. However, this study failed to show differences in alcohol use, drug use, mental health hospitalizations and negative housing exits over time among those Veterans receiving higher intensity MISSION-Vet services versus low intensity services. This project suggests that MISSION-Vet could be used in HUD-VASH to increase engagement among Veterans struggling with homelessness, a group often disconnected from care. TRIAL REGISTRATION:Clinicaltrials.gov, registration number: NCT01430741 , registered July 26, 2011.
Project description:Incorporating evidence-based integrated treatment for dual disorders into typical care settings has been challenging, especially among those serving Veterans who are homeless. This paper presents an evaluation of an effort to incorporate an evidence-based, dual disorder treatment called Maintaining Independence and Sobriety Through Systems Integration, Outreach, and Networking-Veterans Edition (MISSION-Vet) into case management teams serving Veterans who are homeless, using an implementation strategy called Getting To Outcomes (GTO).This Hybrid Type III, cluster-randomized controlled trial assessed the impact of GTO over and above MISSION-Vet Implementation as Usual (IU). Both conditions received standard MISSION-Vet training and manuals. The GTO group received an implementation manual, training, technical assistance, and data feedback. The study occurred in teams at three large VA Medical Centers over 2 years. Within each team, existing sub-teams (case managers and Veterans they serve) were the clusters randomly assigned. The trial assessed MISSION-Vet services delivered and collected via administrative data and implementation barriers and facilitators, via semi-structured interview.No case managers in the IU group initiated MISSION-Vet while 68% in the GTO group did. Seven percent of Veterans with case managers in the GTO group received at least one MISSION-Vet session. Most case managers appreciated the MISSION-Vet materials and felt the GTO planning meetings supported using MISSION-Vet. Case manager interviews also showed that MISSION-Vet could be confusing; there was little involvement from leadership after their initial agreement to participate; the data feedback system had a number of difficulties; and case managers did not have the resources to implement all aspects of MISSION-Vet.This project shows that GTO-like support can help launch new practices but that multiple implementation facilitators are needed for successful execution of a complex evidence-based program like MISSION-Vet.ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01430741.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In an effort to reduce the high rate of suicide among post-9/11 veterans, a collaborative team within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has developed a holistic community-based health promotion program designed to facilitate social and self-connectedness. The purpose of this study was to elicit veteran and stakeholder feedback to prepare the program for piloting and implementation. METHODS:Focus groups and interviews were conducted with post-9/11 veterans and veteran stakeholders (e.g., VA clinicians) to elicit feedback regarding the health promotion program. Focus groups and interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Qualitative thematic analysis identified key themes emerging from the focus groups and interviews. RESULTS:Seven focus groups (3 Veteran groups, 4 stakeholder groups) and 3 interviews (2 Veterans, 1 stakeholder) were conducted with 41 participants (14 veterans, 27 stakeholders). Overall, participants had a positive perception of the program. Thematic analysis revealed shared perspectives that provided insight into 1) enhancing program recruitment and retention, 2) the perceived ability of a health promotion program to provide more holistic, veteran-centered care, and 3) using health promotion programs to help veterans establish structure in their daily lives. CONCLUSIONS:Findings indicated an overall acceptance of the program, and participants' perspectives on how to reduce barriers and enhance facilitators can inform the development of a larger-scale health promotion program that can be tested through future research. While discussion questions were specifically focused on the program in this study, findings can be considered more broadly for the design and implementation of related programs to effectively improve the health and wellness of post-9/11 veterans.
Project description:BACKGROUND:To address concerns about Veterans' access to care at US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare facilities, the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act was enacted to facilitate Veterans' access to care in non-VA settings, resulting in the "Veterans Choice Program" (VCP). OBJECTIVES:To assess the characteristics of Veterans who used or planned to use the VCP, reasons for using or planning to use the VCP, and experiences with the VCP. DESIGN:Mixed-methods. SUBJECTS:After sampling Veterans in the Midwest census region receiving care at VA healthcare facilities, we included 4521 Veterans in the analyses. Of these, 60 Veterans participated in semi-structured qualitative interviews. APPROACH:Quantitative data were derived from VA's administrative and clinical data and a survey of Veterans including Veteran characteristics and self-reported use of VCP. Associations between Veterans' characteristics and use or planned use of the VCP were assessed using logistic regression analysis. Interview data were analyzed using thematic analysis. KEY RESULTS:Veterans with a higher odds of reporting use or intended use of the VCP were women, lived further distances from VA facilities, or had worse health status than other Veterans (P???0.01). Key themes included positive experiences with the VCP (timeliness of care, location of care, access to services, scheduling improvements, and coverage of services), and negative experiences with the VCP (complicated scheduling processes, inconveniently located appointments, delays securing appointments, billing confusion, and communication breakdowns). DISCUSSION:Our findings suggest that Veterans value access to care close to their home and care that addresses the needs of women and Veterans with poor health status. The Mission Act was passed in June 2018 to restructure the VCP and consolidate community care into a single program, continuing VA's commitment to support access to community care into the future.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Organizational culture and climate are considered key factors in implementation efforts but have not been examined as moderators of implementation strategy comparative effectiveness. We investigated organizational culture and climate as moderators of comparative effectiveness of two sequences of implementation strategies (Immediate vs. Delayed Enhanced Replicating Effective Programs [REP]) combining Standard REP and REP enhanced with facilitation on implementation of an outreach program for Veterans with serious mental illness lost to care at Veterans Health Administration (VA) facilities nationwide.<h4>Methods</h4>This study is a secondary analysis of the cluster-randomized Re-Engage implementation trial that assigned 3075 patients at 89 VA facilities to either the Immediate or Delayed Enhanced REP sequences. We hypothesized that sites with stronger entrepreneurial culture, task, or relational climate would benefit more from Enhanced REP than Standard REP. Veteran- and site-level data from the Re-Engage trial were combined with site-aggregated measures of entrepreneurial culture and task and relational climate from the 2012 VA All Employee Survey. Longitudinal mixed-effects logistic models examined whether the comparative effectiveness of the Immediate vs. Delayed Enhanced REP sequences were moderated by culture or climate measures at 6 and 12 months post-randomization. Three Veteran-level outcomes related to the engagement with the VA system were assessed: updated documentation, attempted contact by coordinator, and completed contact.<h4>Results</h4>For updated documentation and attempted contact, Veterans at sites with higher entrepreneurial culture and task climate scores benefitted more from Enhanced REP compared to Standard REP than Veterans at sites with lower scores. Few culture or climate moderation effects were detected for the comparative effectiveness of the full sequences of implementation strategies.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Implementation strategy effectiveness is highly intertwined with contextual factors, and implementation practitioners may use knowledge of contextual moderation to tailor strategy deployment. We found that facilitation strategies provided with Enhanced REP were more effective at improving uptake of a mental health outreach program at sites with stronger entrepreneurial culture and task climate; Veterans at sites with lower levels of these measures saw more similar improvement under Standard and Enhanced REP. Within resource-constrained systems, practitioners may choose to target more intensive implementation strategies to sites that will most benefit from them.<h4>Trial registration</h4>ISRCTN: ISRCTN21059161 . Date registered: April 11, 2013.
Project description:Approximately 600,000 persons are released from prison annually in the United States. Relatively few receive sufficient re-entry services and are at risk for unemployment, homelessness, poverty, substance abuse relapse and recidivism. Persons leaving prison who have a mental illness and/or a substance use disorder are particularly challenged. This project aims to create a peer mentor program to extend the reach and effectiveness of reentry services provided by the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA). We will implement a peer support for reentry veterans sequentially in two states. Our outcome measures are 1) fidelity of the intervention, 2) linkage to VA health care and, 3) continued engagement in health care. The aims for this project are as follows: (1) Conduct contextual analysis to identify VA and community reentry resources, and describe how reentry veterans use them. (2) Implement peer-support, in one state, to link reentry veterans to Veterans' Health Administration (VHA) primary care, mental health, and SUD services. (3) Port the peer-support intervention to another, geographically, and contextually different state.This intervention involves a 2-state sequential implementation study (Massachusetts, followed by Pennsylvania) using a Facilitation Implementation strategy. We will conduct formative and summative analyses, including assessment of fidelity, and a matched comparison group to evaluate the intervention's outcomes of veteran linkage and engagement in VHA health care (using health care utilization measures). The study proceeds in 3 phases.We anticipate that a peer support program will be effective at improving the reentry process for veterans, particularly in linking them to health, mental health, and SUD services and helping them to stay engaged in those services. It will fill a gap by providing veterans with access to a trusted individual, who understands their experience as a veteran and who has experienced justice involvement. The outputs from this project, including training materials, peer guidebooks, and implementation strategies can be adapted by other states and regions that wish to enhance services for veterans (or other populations) leaving incarceration. A larger cluster-randomized implementation-effectiveness study is planned.This protocol is registered with clinicaltrials.gov on November 4, 2016 and was assigned the number NCT02964897 .
Project description:BACKGROUND:As the veteran population ages, more veterans are receiving post-acute care in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). However, the outcomes of these transitions across Veterans Affairs (VA) and non-VA settings are unclear. OBJECTIVE:To measure adverse outcomes in veterans transitioning from hospital to SNF in VA and non-VA hospitals and SNFs. DESIGN:Retrospective observational study using the 2012 to 2014 Residential History File, which concatenates VA, Medicare, and Medicaid data into longitudinal episodes of care for veterans. SETTING:VA and non-VA hospitals and SNFs in four categories: non-VA SNFs, VA-contracted SNFs, VA Community Living Centers (CLCs), and State Veterans Homes. PARTICIPANTS:Veterans, aged 65 years or older, who were acutely hospitalized and discharged to an SNF; one transition was randomly selected per patient. MEASUREMENTS:Adverse "transitional care" outcomes were a composite of hospital readmission, emergency department visit, or mortality within 7 days of hospital discharge. RESULTS:More than four in five veteran transitions (81.7%) occurred entirely outside the VA system. The overall 7-day outcome rate was 10.7% in the 388 339 veterans included. Adverse outcomes were lowest in VA hospital-CLC transitions (7.5%; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 7.1%-7.8%) and highest in non-VA hospital to VA-contracted nursing home transitions (17.5%; 95% CI = 16.0%-18.9%) in unadjusted analysis. In multivariate analyses adjusted for patient and hospital characteristics, VA hospitals had lower adverse outcome rates than non-VA hospitals (odds ratio [OR] = 0.80; 95% CI = 0.74-0.86). In comparison to VA hospital-VA CLC transitions, non-VA hospital to VA-contracted nursing homes (OR = 2.51; 95% CI = 2.09-3.02) and non-VA hospital to CLC (OR = 2.25; 95% CI = 1.81-2.79) had the highest overall adverse outcome rates. CONCLUSION:Most veteran hospital-SNF transitions occur outside the VA, although adverse transitional care outcomes are lowest inside the VA. These findings raise important questions about the VA's role as a provider and payer of post-acute care in SNFs. J Am Geriatr Soc 67:1820-1826, 2019.
Project description:The program "Implementing Goals of Care Conversations with Veterans in VA LTC Settings" is proposed in partnership with the US Veterans Health Administration (VA) National Center for Ethics in Health Care and the Geriatrics and Extended Care Program Offices, together with the VA Office of Nursing Services. The three projects in this program are designed to support a new system-wide mandate requiring providers to conduct and systematically record conversations with veterans about their preferences for care, particularly life-sustaining treatments. These treatments include cardiac resuscitation, mechanical ventilation, and other forms of life support. However, veteran preferences for care go beyond whether or not they receive life-sustaining treatments to include issues such as whether or not they want to be hospitalized if they are acutely ill, and what kinds of comfort care they would like to receive.Three projects, all focused on improving the provision of veteran-centered care, are proposed. The projects will be conducted in Community Living Centers (VA-owned nursing homes) and VA Home-Based Primary Care programs in five regional networks in the Veterans Health Administration. In all the projects, we will use data from context and barrier and facilitator assessments to design feedback reports for staff to help them understand how well they are meeting the requirement to have conversations with veterans about their preferences and to document them appropriately. We will also use learning collaboratives-meetings in which staff teams come together and problem-solve issues they encounter in how to get veterans' preferences expressed and documented, and acted on-to support action planning to improve performance.We will use data over time to track implementation success, measured as the proportions of veterans in Community Living Centers (CLCs) and Home-Based Primary Care (HBPC) who have a documented goals of care conversation soon after admission. We will work with our operational partners to spread approaches that work throughout the Veterans Health Administration.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Access to high-quality healthcare, including mental healthcare, is a high priority for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Meaningful monitoring of progress will require patient-centered measures of access. To that end, we developed the Perceived Access Inventory focused on access to VA mental health services (PAI-VA). However, VA is purchasing increasing amounts of mental health services from community mental health providers. In this paper, we describe the development of a PAI for users of VA-funded community mental healthcare that incorporates access barriers unique to community care service use and compares the barriers most frequently reported by veterans using community mental health services to those most frequently reported by veterans using VA mental health services. MATERIALS AND METHODS:We conducted mixed qualitative and quantitative interviews with 25 veterans who had experience using community mental health services through the Veterans Choice Program (VCP). We used opt-out invitation letters to recruit veterans from three geographic regions. Data were collected on sociodemographics, rurality, symptom severity, and service satisfaction. Participants also completed two measures of perceived barriers to mental healthcare: the PAI-VA adapted to focus on access to mental healthcare in the community and Hoge's 13-item measure. This study was reviewed and approved by the VA Central Institutional Review Board. RESULTS:Analysis of qualitative interview data identified four topics that were not addressed in the PAI-VA: veterans being billed directly by a VCP mental health provider, lack of care coordination and communication between VCP and VA mental health providers, veterans needing to travel to a VA facility to have VCP provider prescriptions filled, and delays in VCP re-authorization. To develop a PAI for community-care users, we created items corresponding to each of the four community-care-specific topics and added them to the 43-item PAI-VA. When we compared the 10 most frequently endorsed barriers to mental healthcare in this study sample to the ten most frequently endorsed by a separate sample of current VA mental healthcare users, six items were common to both groups. The four items unique to community-care were: long waits for the first mental health appointment, lack of awareness of available mental health services, short appointments, and providers' lack of knowledge of military culture. CONCLUSIONS:Four new barriers specific to veteran access to community mental healthcare were identified. These barriers, which were largely administrative rather than arising from the clinical encounter itself, were included in the PAI for community care. Study strengths include capturing access barriers from the veteran experience across three geographic regions. Weaknesses include the relatively small number of participants and data collection from an early stage of Veteran Choice Program implementation. As VA expands its coverage of community-based mental healthcare, being able to assess the success of the initiative from the perspective of program users becomes increasingly important. The 47-item PAI for community care offers a useful tool to identify barriers experienced by veterans in accessing mental healthcare in the community, overall and in specific settings, as well as to track the impact of interventions to improve access to mental healthcare.
Project description:Some veterans face multiple barriers to VA mental healthcare service use. However, there is limited understanding of how veterans' experiences and meaning systems shape their perceptions of barriers to VA mental health service use. In 2015, a participatory, mixed-methods project was initiated to elicit veteran-centered barriers to using mental healthcare services among a diverse sample of US rural and urban veterans. We sought to identify veteran-centric barriers to mental healthcare to increase initial engagement and continuation with VA mental healthcare services.Cultural Domain Analysis, incorporated in a mixed methods approach, generated a cognitive map of veterans' barriers to care. The method involved: 1) free lists of barriers categorized through participant pile sorting; 2) multi-dimensional scaling and cluster analysis for item clusters in spatial dimensions; and 3) participant review, explanation, and interpretation for dimensions of the cultural domain. Item relations were synthesized within and across domain dimensions to contextualize mental health help-seeking behavior.Participants determined five dimensions of barriers to VA mental healthcare services: concern about what others think; financial, personal, and physical obstacles; confidence in the VA healthcare system; navigating VA benefits and healthcare services; and privacy, security, and abuse of services.These findings demonstrate the value of participatory methods in eliciting meaningful cultural insight into barriers of mental health utilization informed by military veteran culture. They also reinforce the importance of collaborations between the VA and Department of Defense to address the role of military institutional norms and stigmatizing attitudes in veterans' mental health-seeking behaviors.