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Psychotherapy Utilization Among Rural and Urban Veterans From 2007 to 2010.

Mott JM, Grubbs KM, Sansgiry S, Fortney JC, Cully JA. Psychotherapy Utilization Among Rural and Urban Veterans From 2007 to 2010. The Journal of rural health : official journal of the American Rural Health Association and the National Rural Health Care Association. 2014 Dec 3; 31(3):235-43.

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Abstract:

PURPOSE: This study evaluated change in rural and urban veterans' psychotherapy use during a period of widespread effort within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to engage rural veterans in mental health care. METHODS: National VHA administrative databases were queried for patients receiving a new diagnosis of depression, anxiety, or posttraumatic stress disorder in fiscal years (FY) 2007 and 2010. Using the US Department of Agriculture Rural-Urban Continuum Codes, we identified urban (FY 2007: n = 192,347; FY 2010: n = 231,471) and rural (FY 2007: n = 72,923; FY 2010: n = 81,905) veterans. Veterans' psychotherapy use during the 12 months following diagnosis was assessed. FINDINGS: From FY 2007 to 2010, the proportion of veterans receiving any psychotherapy increased from 17% to 22% for rural veterans and 24% to 28% for urban veterans. Rural veterans were less likely to receive psychotherapy across both fiscal years; however, the magnitude of this disparity decreased significantly from 2007 (odds ratio [OR] = 1.51) to 2010 (OR = 1.41). Similarly, although urban veterans received more psychotherapy sessions, urban-rural disparities in the receipt of 8 or more psychotherapy sessions decreased over the study period (2007: OR = 2.32; 2010: OR = 1.69). CONCLUSIONS: Rural and urban veterans are increasingly making use of psychotherapy, and rural-urban gaps in psychotherapy use are shrinking. These improvements suggest that recent VHA efforts to engage rural veterans in care have been successful at reducing differences between rural and urban veterans with respect to access and engagement in psychotherapy.





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