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Depression care following psychiatric hospitalization in the veterans health administration.

Pfeiffer PN, Ganoczy D, Bowersox NW, McCarthy JF, Blow FC, Valenstein M. Depression care following psychiatric hospitalization in the veterans health administration. The American journal of managed care. 2011 Sep 1; 17(9):e358-64.

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Objectives: To assess quality of depression care during the high-risk period following a psychiatric hospitalization. Study Design: Retrospective administrative data analysis. Methods: Using Veterans Health Administration (VHA) administrative data, we assessed mental health follow-up within 7 and 30 days of psychiatric hospitalizations for major depression from 2004 to 2008. Adequate antidepressant medication coverage and number of psychotherapy visits were assessed within 90 days of discharge. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify patient demographic and clinical characteristics associated with each quality indicator. Results: Of the 45,587 patients discharged from a psychiatric inpatient stay with a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, 39.4% and 75.8% received an outpatient visit within 7 and 30 days of discharge, respectively; 58.7% of patients received adequate antidepressant coverage (72 of 90 days) and 12.9% received adequate psychotherapy encounters (8 visits). Receipt of outpatient mental health visits and of adequate psychotherapy were less likely among patients who were male, aged > 35 or < 65 years, had > 3 major general medical comorbidities, lived > 30 miles from a VHA clinic, or whose hospital length of stay was < 7 days. Patients with comorbid substance use disorders were less likely to receive adequate antidepressant treatment. Conclusions: To optimize evidence-based depression care after a psychiatric hospitalization, health systems might increase receipt of psychotherapy by considering potential barriers related to age, medical condition, and distance. Patients with comorbid substance use disorders or their providers may need additional services to support antidepressant treatment.

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