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Treatment of Veterans with Psychiatric Diagnoses Nationally in the Veterans Health Administration: A Comparison of Service Delivery by Mental Health Specialists and Other Providers

Authors
  • Gupta, Nikhil1, 2
  • Bhalla, Ish P.1, 2
  • Rosenheck, Robert A.1, 2
  • 1 Education and Clinical Center, Department of Veterans Affairs-New England Mental Illness Research, West Haven, CT, USA , West Haven (United States)
  • 2 Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, New Haven, CT, USA , New Haven (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research
Publisher
Springer US
Publication Date
Jan 31, 2019
Volume
46
Issue
3
Pages
380–390
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10488-018-00920-z
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

Patients with psychiatric disorders are treated by both mental health specialists and non-specialists. We use national data from the Veterans Health Administration to evaluate changing proportions of patients seen exclusively by non-specialists during the study year (FY 2012) limit as well as differences in socio-demographic, clinical and service use characteristics. There has been a five-fold increase in veterans with mental disorders seen by non-specialists over 20 years from 7 to 38%, findings similar to those in non-VA settings. Veterans treated by mental health specialists were younger, more likely to have been homeless and disabled, and had more severe and more numerous psychiatric diagnoses. There is a need to maintain specialty services and to strengthen non-specialty care through education and research.

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