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Raja PV, Gabrielian S, Doran N. Access to Care for Veterans With Serious Mental Illness During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.). 2021 Nov 1; 72(11):1324-1327.
OBJECTIVE: The authors examined access to care among persons with serious mental illness during the pandemic and disparities in use of virtual care among this population versus among individuals with other psychiatric diagnoses. METHODS: Data from the Veterans Health Administration were used to examine whether the number of visits for serious mental illness differed for January-September 2019 versus the same period in 2020. Mixed-effects regression analyses tested whether the post-COVID-19 rate of growth in virtual care differed for people with serious mental illnesses versus those with other diagnoses. RESULTS: Fewer visits for serious mental illnesses occurred during the initial weeks of the pandemic but not subsequently. The rate of growth in video visits during 2020 was slower for serious mental illnesses than for other psychiatric diagnoses. CONCLUSIONS: Several months after the pandemic's start, the total number of visits for serious mental illnesses was similar to 2019; however, adoption of video care was slower than for other psychiatric diagnoses.