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Chen S, Smith MW, Wagner TH, Barnett PG. Spending for specialized mental health treatment in The VA: 1995-2001. Health affairs (Project Hope). 2003 Nov 1; 22(6):256-63.
The mid-1990s saw dramatic changes in mental health care in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the largest provider of such care in the United States. Spending for specialized inpatient mental health care fell 21 percent from 1995 to 2001, while spending for specialized outpatient care rose 63 percent. The shift from inpatient to outpatient care was accompanied by rapid increases in outpatient medication costs. Overall, the VA reduced the average cost (per VA user) of specialized mental health care by 22 percent while it increased the number of users of these services by 35 percent.