Office of Research & Development

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VA RESEARCH QUARTERLY UPDATE
 

New Initiatives

Improving rural Veteran access to mental health care; boosting primary care communication


 VA social worker Amy Mitchell, seen here with James Love, helps conduct outreach as part of the Alabama Veterans Rural Health Initiative. <em>(Photo by Joe DeSciose)</em>
VA social worker Amy Mitchell, seen here with James Love, helps conduct outreach as part of the Alabama Veterans Rural Health Initiative. (Photo by Joe DeSciose)

VA social worker Amy Mitchell, seen here with James Love, helps conduct outreach as part of the Alabama Veterans Rural Health Initiative. (Photo by Joe DeSciose)

In 2013, HSR&D developed an innovative funding initiative called Collaborative Research to Enhance and Advance Transformation and Excellence (CREATE). The goal is to encourage HSR&D investigators to work with VA partners—such as national clinical program offices—in studying high-priority issues that affect the health and health care of Veterans.

Two new CREATEs that will help ensure high-quality care for Veterans are:

Improving Rural Veterans' Access/Engagement in Evidence-Based Healthcare: Veterans living in rural areas make up 41 percent of all VA enrollees. The majority of them receive care in VA community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs). This CREATE seeks to learn more about access to and engagement in evidence-based mental health services delivered in CBOCs.

One project in this CREATE aims to develop a patient-centered survey to measure rural Veterans' perceived access to mental health services. This is important because if Veterans don't know about certain services, they are unlikely to use them.

A second will evaluate ways to increase engagement in mental healthcare at CBOCs, and a third will test clinical interventions to improve the quality and outcomes of mental health care at CBOCs.

Operational partners for this CREATE include stakeholders in VISN 16, in the nation's central Southern region, and VA's Office of Mental Health Services.

 Dr. Laura Petersen directs a Houston-based CREATE focused on communication within the PACT setting. <em>(Photo courtesy of Baylor College of Medicine)</em>
Dr. Laura Petersen directs a Houston-based CREATE focused on communication within the PACT setting. (Photo courtesy of Baylor College of Medicine)

Dr. Laura Petersen directs a Houston-based CREATE focused on communication within the PACT setting. (Photo courtesy of Baylor College of Medicine)

Improving Quality and Safety Through Better Communication in PACTs: VA has adopted a patient-centered care model called the Patient-Aligned Care Team (PACT). The PACT model involves a team of health care professionals, led by a primary care provider, who work collaboratively with Veterans to address their personal health care needs.

One focus of this CREATE will be patient safety within the PACT setting. For example, some projects will address breakdowns in communication and coordination among providers that might put patients at risk.

Operational partners for this CREATE include stakeholders in VISN 12 (the Great Lakes area), VISN 16, and the VA Primary Care Program Office.

HSR&D has funded eight other CREATEs in critical areas that include posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), long-term care, women's health, pain management, and substance use disorders. Learn more here.


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Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.