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Factors associated with emergency department useamong veteran psychiatric patients.
Blonigen DM, Macia KS, Bi X, Suarez P, Manfredi L, Wagner TH. Factors associated with emergency department useamong veteran psychiatric patients. The Psychiatric quarterly. 2017 Dec 1; 88(4):721-732.
Frequent utilization of emergency department (ED) services contributes substantially to the cost of healthcare nationally and is often driven by psychiatric factors. Using national-level data from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the present study examined patient-level factors associated with ED use among veteran psychiatric patients. Veterans who had at least one ED visit with a psychiatric diagnosis in fiscal years 2011-2012 (n = 226,122) were identified in VHA administrative records. Andersen''s behavioral model of healthcare utilization was used to identify need, enabling, and predisposing factors associated with frequency of ED use (primary outcome) in multivariate regression models. Greater ED use was primarily linked with need (psychotic, anxiety, personality, substance use, and bipolar disorders) and enabling (detoxification-related service utilization and homelessness) factors. Chronic medical conditions, receipt of an opioid prescription, and predisposing factors (e.g., younger age) were also linked to greater ED use; however, the effect sizes for these factors were markedly lower than those of most psychiatric and psychosocial factors. The findings suggest that intensive case management programs aimed reducing frequent ED use among psychiatric patients may require greater emphasis on homelessness and other psychosocial deficits that are common among these patients, and future research should explore cost-effective approaches to implementing these programs.