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Utilization of VA mental health and primary care services among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with depression: the influence of gender and ethnicity status.
Davis TD, Deen TL, Fortney JC, Sullivan G, Hudson TJ. Utilization of VA mental health and primary care services among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with depression: the influence of gender and ethnicity status. Military medicine. 2014 May 1; 179(5):515-20.
The objective of this study is to examine gender and ethnic differences in Veterans Affairs (VA) health services utilization among Iraq and Afghanistan military Veterans diagnosed with depression. With VA administrative data, sociodemographics, utilization of outpatient primary care, specialty mental health and mental health treatment modalities (psychotherapy and antidepressant prescriptions) were collected from electronic medical records of 1,556 depressed Veterans treated in one VA regional network from January 2008 to March 2009. Health care utilization patterns were examined 90 days following being diagnosed with depression. ?(2) and t-tests were used to evaluate unadjusted differences in VA service use by gender and ethnicity. Logistic regression was used to fit study models predicting VA service utilization. Study results indicate no ethnic or gender differences in the use of specialty mental health services or in the use of mental health treatments. However, women Veterans, especially those from ethnic minority groups, were less likely to use primary care than white and nonwhite male Veterans. Collectively, these findings signal a decrease in historically documented disparities within VA health care, especially in the use of mental health services.