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An Examination of the Association Between Patient Experience and Quality of Mental Health Care Among Women Veterans

Abstract

Improving patient experience is one strategy that may increase the quality of mental health care if better experience is linked to the likelihood of a potentially therapeutic dose (PTD) of treatment. This study sought to examine: (1) the proportion of women veterans who obtained a PTD of mental health treatment; and (2) the association between women’s experiences with Veterans Health Administration (VHA) mental health services and obtaining a PTD of mental health treatment. We assessed patient experience via a survey that measured experiences with gender-sensitive care, ease of getting care, perceived quality of care, and extent to which care met needs. We used VHA administrative data to determine mental health utilization across a national sample of 2109 women veterans with episodes of mental health care that included psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy. Results indicated that 71% of women received a PTD. Positive ratings regarding perceived quality of care and whether care met needs were associated with higher odds of receiving a PTD of treatment. Findings provide supporting evidence for the continued necessity  of offering patient-centered mental health care to women veterans. Careful consideration of women veterans’ mental health care experiences may be crucial in promoting high value mental health care for this population in VHA.

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Funding

This study was funded by the VA HSR&D SDR 12-196. This study is also supported in part by the VA Office of Academic Affiliations and Health Services Research and Development Service Research funds. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States Government.

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Correspondence to Fernanda S. Rossi.

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Rossi, F.S., Javier, S.J. & Kimerling, R. An Examination of the Association Between Patient Experience and Quality of Mental Health Care Among Women Veterans. Adm Policy Ment Health 48, 61–69 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10488-020-01046-x

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Keywords

  • Women
  • Veterans
  • Mental health care
  • Quality of care
  • Patient experience