Cross-System Service Use Among VA Mental Health Patients Living in Philadelphia

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There are few published studies of cross-system use of multiple systems of mental health care. This study examines use of VA and non-VA services in Philadelphia County. Results indicated that rates of cross-system use overall are fairly low (16 to 17% of patients across all years), are generally declining over time, and account for a small proportion of total all-system costs (4%). Veterans who used more VA inpatient services also used more non-VA services, and veterans who used fewer VA outpatient services used more non-VA services, indicating that cross-system use may be a quality indicator for the accessibility or acceptability of outpatient care.