Implementation of Primary Care-Mental Health Integration Services in the Veterans Health Administration: Program Activity and Associations with Engagement in Specialty Mental Health Services

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Abstract

This paper describes the status of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Primary Care-Mental Health Integration (PC-MHI) services implementation and presents an assessment of associations between receipt of PC-MHI services and likelihood of receiving a second specialty mental health (SMH) appointment following an initial SMH encounter. The total PC-MHI service recipients and encounters/month rose substantially between October 2007 and April 2011. Adjusting for important covariates, the likelihood of receiving a second SMH encounter within 3 months of an index SMH appointment was 1.37 times greater among individuals who had received a PC-MHI encounter within 3 months of the initial SMH appointment. Implementation of VHA PC-MHI services has substantially increased VHA capacity to deliver mental health services in primary care and findings indicate that PC-MHI services are associated with greater engagement in SMH treatment. Implementation of VHA PC-MHI services is progressing with new technical assistance strategies being deployed.

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