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Impact of Implementation Facilitation on the REACH VET Clinical Program for Veterans at Risk for Suicide.

Landes SJ, Matarazzo BB, Pitcock JA, Drummond KL, Smith BN, Kirchner JE, Clark KA, Gerard GR, Jankovsky MC, Brenner LA, Reger MA, Eagan AE, Raciborski R, Painter J, Townsend JC, Jegley SM, Singh RS, Trafton JA, McCarthy JF, Katz IR. Impact of Implementation Facilitation on the REACH VET Clinical Program for Veterans at Risk for Suicide. Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.). 2024 Mar 6; appips20230277.

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OBJECTIVE: In 2017, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) implemented a national suicide prevention program, called Recovery Engagement and Coordination for Health-Veterans Enhanced Treatment (REACH VET), that uses a predictive algorithm to identify, attempt to reach, assess, and care for patients at the highest risk for suicide. The authors aimed to evaluate whether facilitation enhanced implementation of REACH VET at VHA facilities not meeting target completion rates. METHODS: In this hybrid effectiveness-implementation type 2 program evaluation, a quasi-experimental pre-post design was used to assess changes in implementation outcome measures evaluated 6 months before and 6 months after onset of facilitation of REACH VET implementation at 23 VHA facilities. Measures included percentages of patients with documented coordinator and provider acknowledgment of receipt, care evaluation, and outreach attempt. Generalized estimating equations were used to compare differences in REACH VET outcome measures before and after facilitation. Qualitative interviews were conducted with personnel and were explored via template analysis. RESULTS: Time had a significant effect in all outcomes models (p < 0.001). An effect of facilitation was significant only for the outcome of attempted outreach. Patients identified by REACH VET had significantly higher odds of having a documented outreach attempt after facilitation of REACH VET implementation, compared with before facilitation. Site personnel felt supported and reported that the external facilitators were helpful and responsive. CONCLUSIONS: Facilitation of REACH VET implementation was associated with an improvement in outreach attempts to veterans identified as being at increased risk for suicide. Outreach is critical for engaging veterans in care.

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