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Utilization patterns of substance abuse and mental health resources at an urban VA Hospital

Candace Tannis, Sritha Rajupet.

Background: Over 10% of the 610,000 homeless persons in the United States are veterans. Homelessness is associated with more substance abuse and mental health diagnoses, and higher hospitalization rates. We assessed the mental health (MH) and substance abuse (SA) burden and use of outpatient MH and SA resources in a homeless veteran population.

Methods: Electronic medical record data were obtained on all homeless PACT team (HPACT) and non-homeless patients during fiscal years 2016 &2017. MH and SA prevalence, and related outpatient resource use were compared in three sub-populations: HPACT patients, non-HPACT patients with a homelessness ICD-10 code, and non-homeless PACT patients. Chi-square analyses and t-testing were performed to identify between-group differences during fiscal year 2018.

Results: HPACT and homeless, non-HPACT patients had higher MH and SA disorder prevalence, and MH/SA comorbidity in both years (p

Key words: Substance Abuse Mental Health Veterans Homeless

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