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Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2013 Jan-Feb;35(1):66-70. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2012.09.002. Epub 2012 Oct 9.

Continuation of care following an initial primary care visit with a mental health diagnosis: differences by receipt of VHA Primary Care-Mental Health Integration services.

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Department of Veterans Affairs, Serious Mental Illness Treatment Resource and Evaluation Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.



For patients with an initial primary care (PC) encounter in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) that included a mental health diagnosis, we evaluate whether same-day receipt of Primary Care-Mental Health Integration (PC-MHI) services is associated with the likelihood of receiving a subsequent mental-health-related encounter in the following 90 days.


Using VHA administrative data, we identified 9046 patients who received VHA care for the first time in fiscal year 2009, received a PC encounter that included a mental health diagnosis on the first day of their VHA services and initiated care at a VHA facility that provided PC-MHI services. Using multivariable generalized estimating equations logistic regression, we examined whether receipt of same-day PC-MHI was associated with receipt of a subsequent encounter with a mental health diagnosis within 90 days. Analyses adjusted for Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran status, demographic characteristics, service-connected disability, psychiatric and non-psychiatric diagnoses, and psychotropic medication initiation on the index day of service use.


Receipt of same-day PC-MHI services was positively associated with having a mental-health-related encounter in the following 90 days (adjusted odds ratio=2.05; 95% confidence interval=1.66-2.54).


PC-MHI services may enhance mental health continuation of care among PC patients with mental health conditions who initiate VHA services.

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