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J Behav Health Serv Res. 2001 Feb;28(1):58-66.

Impact of VA bed closures on use of state psychiatric services.

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Department of Veterans Affairs Northeast Program Evaluation Center, West Haven, CT, USA. Robert.Rosenheck@Yale.EDU


This study examined whether inpatient bed reductions at a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical center increased VA patients' use of state mental health agency services. Veterans residing in two Connecticut cities who used VA psychiatric services during fiscal years 1993 through 1998 (n = 2,943) were identified from computerized files. Then their records were merged with state files. Coinciding with the time of VA bed closures, the proportion of VA patients who used any state services increased from 2.6%, 2.8%, and 2.7% from 1993 through 1995 to 3.6%, 3.5%, and 3.6% from 1996 through 1998 (p < .03). These changes reflect increased likelihood of state outpatient service use, but not inpatient services. No statistically significant changes occurred in the cost of state services used by VA patients. Bed closure impact may be reflected in increased cross-system service use, which may be a useful indicator of unmet needs resulting from system changes.

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