Use of VA and Medicare services by dually eligible veterans with psychiatric problems

Health Services Research
Kathleen CareyS L Ettner


To examine how service accessibility measured by geographic distance affects service sector choices for veterans who are dually eligible for veterans affairs (VA) and Medicare services and who are diagnosed with mental health and/or substance abuse (MH/SA) disorders. Primary VA data sources were the Patient Treatment (acute care), Extended Care (long-term care), and Outpatient Clinic files. VA cost data were obtained from (1) inpatient and outpatient cost files developed by the VA Health Economics and Resource Center and (2) outpatient VA Decision Support System files. Medicare data sources were the denominator, Medicare Provider Analysis Review (MEDPAR), Provider-of-Service, Outpatient Standard Analytic and Physician/Supplier Standard Analytic files. Additional sources included the Area Resource File and Census Bureau data. We identified dually eligible veterans who had either an inpatient or outpatient MH/SA diagnosis in the VA system during fiscal year (FY)'99. We then estimated one- and two-part regression models to explain the effects of geographic distance on both VA and Medicare total and MH/SA costs. Results provide evidence for substitution between the VA and Medicare, demonstrating that poorer geographic access to VA ...Continue Reading


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