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Care Retention Among Veterans with Serious Mental Illness who were once lost-to-Veterans Health Administration care.

Psychiatric Quarterly 2023 September 8
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate care retention among Veterans with serious mental illness (SMI) who were lost to Veterans Health Administration (VHA) care for at least one year and subsequently returned to VHA care via the SMI Re-Engagement program, an outreach program for Veterans with SMI who are lost-to-care.

METHODS: For the 410 Veterans with SMI who returned to care via SMI Re-Engagement between April 4th, 2016 and January 31, 2018, we assessed VHA in-person and telehealth utilization (overall, primary care, mental health care) for two years following the date of return to care.

RESULTS: Care retention was common: 70.2% of Veterans had at least one encounter in each year of the two-year follow-up period and an additional 22.7% had at least one encounter during one of the two years. During the two-year follow-up period, 72.4% of Veterans had at least one primary care encounter and 70.7% of Veterans had at least one mental health care encounter. Adjusted binomial logistic regression analyses found a return-to-care encounter in primary care (OR = 2.70; 95% CI: 1.34, 5.42) predicted primary care retention, and a return-to-care encounter in mental health care (OR = 4.01; 95% CI: 2.38, 6.75) predicted mental health care retention.

CONCLUSION: Most Veterans who return to care via the SMI Re-Engagement program remain in VHA care for the subsequent two years.

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