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'1-stop' clinic ups mental health, social work visits for veterans
Date:6/10/2011

higher under the integrated care model than under standard care.

"We are really good at initial engagement, but unfortunately, we are not as successful at helping veterans stay with and complete a course of mental health treatment," said Seal. "We need to learn how to help veterans stick with the more difficult first few sessions of PTSD treatment, so they can get through to the other side when they really start to feel better." Seal explained that successful PTSD treatment usually takes nine to 12 sessions.

The study examined the medical records of 526 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who came to SFVAMC between 2005 and 2009 for their first primary care visit after returning from combat deployment. Veterans who visited after April 1, 2007 the date that the Integrated Care Clinic was founded were given an appointment at either the Integrated Care Clinic or a conventional care clinic.

The 30-day mental health evaluation rate was 92 percent for the integrated care patients versus 59 percent for standard care patients. The rate for social work evaluation was 77 percent versus 56 percent.

For women veterans, the rate of initial mental health evaluations in integrated care was three times the conventional care rate. "This is good news, because women veterans have a high burden of mental health problems, and, at the same time, a disproportionate number of barriers to care, such as child care issues and other logistical constraints," said Seal.

Seal noted that the overall rate of initial mental health evaluations was higher in the integrated care model even after allowing for an overall VA systemwide improvement in first-time mental health evaluations that occurred after 2007.

She speculated that one promising approach to helping veterans complete their course of PTSD treatment might be the VA Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) model, a new team-based method of providing primary care in the VA system. "One member of the p
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Contact: Steve Tokar
steve.tokar@ncire.org
415-221-4810 x5202
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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