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Improving Access to Collaborative Behavioral Health Care for Rural-Dwelling Older Adults.

Gerlach LB, Mavandadi S, Maust DT, Streim JE, Oslin DW. Improving Access to Collaborative Behavioral Health Care for Rural-Dwelling Older Adults. Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.). 2018 Jan 1; 69(1):117-120.

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OBJECTIVE: This study examined whether a telephone-delivered collaborative care intervention (SUpporting Seniors Receiving Treatment And INtervention [SUSTAIN]) improved access to mental health services similarly among older adults in rural areas and those in urban-suburban areas. METHODS: This cohort study of 8,621 older adults participating in the SUSTAIN program, a clinical service provided to older adults in Pennsylvania newly prescribed a psychotropic medication by a primary care or non-mental health provider, examined rural versus urban-suburban differences in rates of initial clinical interview completion, patient clinical characteristics, and program penetration. RESULTS: Participants in rural counties were more likely than those in urban-suburban counties to complete the initial clinical interview (27.0% versus 24.0%, p = .001). Program penetration was significantly higher in rural than in urban-suburban counties (p = .02). CONCLUSIONS: Telephone-based care management programs such as SUSTAIN may be an effective strategy to facilitate access to collaborative mental health care regardless of patients' geographic location.

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