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Enhancing Primary Care Experiences for Homeless Patients with Serious Mental Illness: Results from a National Survey.

Gabrielian S, Jones AL, Hoge AE, deRussy AJ, Kim YI, Montgomery AE, Blosnich JR, Gordon AJ, Gelberg L, Austin EL, Pollio D, Holmes SK, Varley AL, Kertesz SG. Enhancing Primary Care Experiences for Homeless Patients with Serious Mental Illness: Results from a National Survey. Journal of primary care & community health. 2021 Jan 1; 12:2150132721993654.

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OBJECTIVES: Patients experiencing homelessness (PEH) with serious mental illness (SMI) have poor satisfaction with primary care. We assessed if primary care teams tailored for homeless patients (Homeless-Patient Aligned Care Teams (H-PACTs)) provide this population with superior experiences than mainstream primary care and explored whether integrated behavioral health and social services were associated with favorable experiences. METHODS: We surveyed VA PEH with SMI (n? = 1095) to capture the valence of their primary care experiences in 4 domains (Access/Coordination, Patient-Clinician Relationships, Cooperation, and Homeless-Specific Needs). We surveyed clinicians (n? = 52) from 29 H-PACTs to elucidate if their clinics had embedded mental health, addiction, social work, and/or housing services. We counted these services in each H-PACT (0-4) and classified H-PACTs as having high (3-4) versus low (0-2) service integration. We controlled for demographics, housing history, and needs in comparing H-PACT versus mainstream experiences; and experiences in high versus low integration H-PACTs. RESULTS: Among respondents, 969 (91%) had complete data and 626 (62%) were in H-PACTs. After covariate adjustment, compared to mainstream respondents, H-PACT respondents were more likely (? < .01) to report favorable experiences (AORs? = 1.7-2.1) and less likely to report unfavorable experiences (AORs? = 0.5-0.6) in all 4 domains. Of 29 H-PACTs, 27.6% had high integration. High integration H-PACT respondents were twice as likely as low integration H-PACT respondents to report favorable access/coordination experiences (AOR? = 1.7). CONCLUSIONS: Homeless-tailored clinics with highly-integrated services were associated with better care experiences among PEH with SMI. These observational data suggest that tailored primary care with integrated services may improve care perceptions among complex patients.

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