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Psychological Services - Vol 14, Iss 1

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Psychological Services Psychological Services is an American Psychological Association Division publication. The official publication of the Division of Psychologists in Public Service (Division 18), Psychological Services publishes high-quality data-based articles on the broad range of psychological services. While the Division’s focus is on psychologists in "public service," usually defined as being employed by a governmental agency, Psychological Services covers the full range of psychological services provided in any service delivery setting.
Copyright 2017 American Psychological Association
  • Measurement-based management of mental health quality and access in VHA: SAIL mental health domain.
    We outline the development of a Mental Health Domain to track accessibility and quality of mental health care in the United States Veterans Health Administration (VHA) as part of a broad-based performance measurement system. This domain adds an important element to national performance improvement efforts by targeting regional and facility leadership and providing them a concise yet comprehensive measure to identify facilities facing challenges in their mental health programs. We present the conceptual framework and rationale behind measure selection and development. The Mental Health Domain covers three important aspects of mental health treatment: Population Coverage, Continuity of Care, and Experience of Care. Each component is a composite of existing and newly adapted measures with moderate to high internal consistency; components are statistically independent or moderately related. Development and dissemination of the Mental Health Domain involved a variety of approaches and benefited from close collaboration between local, regional, and national leadership and from coordination with existing quality-improvement initiatives. During the first year of use, facilities varied in the direction and extent of change. These patterns of change were generally consistent with qualitative information, providing support for the validity of the domain and its component measures. Measure maintenance remains an iterative process as the VHA mental health system and potential data resources continue to evolve. Lessons learned may be helpful to the broader mental health-provider community as mental health care consolidates and becomes increasingly integrated within healthcare systems. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Using organizational and clinical performance data to increase the value of mental health care.
    U.S. health systems, policy makers, and patients increasingly demand high-value care that improves health outcomes at lower cost. This study describes the initial design and analysis of the Mental Health Management System (MHMS), a performance data and quality improvement tool used by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to increase the value of its mental health care. The MHMS evaluates access to and quality of mental health care, organizational structure and efficiency, implementation of innovative treatment options, and, in collaboration with management, resource needs for delivering care. Performance on 31 measures was calculated for all U.S. VHA facilities (N = 139). Pearson correlations revealed that better access to care was significantly associated with fewer mental health provider staffing vacancies (r = −.24) and higher staff-to-patient ratios for psychiatrists (r = .19) and other outpatient mental health providers (r = .27). Higher staff-to-patient ratios were significantly associated with higher performance on a number of patient and provider satisfaction measures (range of r = .18–.51) and continuity of care measures (range of r = .26–.43). Relationships observed between organizational and clinical performance measures suggest that the MHMS is a robust informatics and quality improvement tool that can serve as a model for health systems planning to adopt a value perspective. Future research should expand the MHMS framework to measure patient and health systems costs and psychosocial outcomes, as well as evaluate whether quality improvement solutions implemented as a result of using organizational information leads to higher-value mental health care. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • VA eScreening program: Technology to improve care for post-9/11 veterans.
    The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) provides health care services to a growing number of veterans. There is ample support for the use of technology-based self-screening to support health care delivery. We developed the VA eScreening program for veterans to directly provide self-report mental and physical health information through a veteran-facing portal that communicates with the electronic medical records system. A total of 1,372 newly enrolling veterans in 2 cohorts participated in a study to assess veteran satisfaction, determine accessibility and clinical processes, measure screening differences, and examine connection to care between eScreening and paper screening. Veterans who completed eScreening were slightly more satisfied with screening than those who completed paper screening. Accessibility, rate of screening completion, and clinical processes were significantly better with eScreening than paper screening. Except for higher alcohol use in the paper-based cohort, veterans who completed paper and eScreening were similar in the rates of positive health screens. Connection to VA services, rate and speed of vesting in the health care system, and time to document required suicide risk assessments were better with the VA eScreening program than paper screening. The VA eScreening program is a unique and promising tool that may leverage limited resources to improve screening and care for veterans. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Development and applications of the Veterans Health Administration’s Stratification Tool for Opioid Risk Mitigation (STORM) to improve opioid safety and prevent overdose and suicide.
    Concerns about opioid-related adverse events, including overdose, prompted the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to launch an Opioid Safety Initiative and Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution program. To mitigate risks associated with opioid prescribing, a holistic approach that takes into consideration both risk factors (e.g., dose, substance use disorders) and risk mitigation interventions (e.g., urine drug screening, psychosocial treatment) is needed. This article describes the Stratification Tool for Opioid Risk Mitigation (STORM), a tool developed in VHA that reflects this holistic approach and facilitates patient identification and monitoring. STORM prioritizes patients for review and intervention according to their modeled risk for overdose/suicide-related events and displays risk factors and risk mitigation interventions obtained from VHA electronic medical record (EMR)-data extracts. Patients’ estimated risk is based on a predictive risk model developed using fiscal year 2010 (FY2010: 10/1/2009–9/30/2010) EMR-data extracts and mortality data among 1,135,601 VHA patients prescribed opioid analgesics to predict risk for an overdose/suicide-related event in FY2011 (2.1% experienced an event). Cross-validation was used to validate the model, with receiver operating characteristic curves for the training and test data sets performing well (>.80 area under the curve). The predictive risk model distinguished patients based on risk for overdose/suicide-related adverse events, allowing for identification of high-risk patients and enrichment of target populations of patients with greater safety concerns for proactive monitoring and application of risk mitigation interventions. Results suggest that clinical informatics can leverage EMR-extracted data to identify patients at-risk for overdose/suicide-related events and provide clinicians with actionable information to mitigate risk. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Provider perceptions of an integrated primary care quality improvement strategy: The PPAQ toolkit.
    The Primary Care Behavioral Health (PCBH) model of integrated primary care is challenging to implement with high fidelity. The Primary Care Behavioral Health Provider Adherence Questionnaire (PPAQ) was designed to assess provider adherence to essential model components and has recently been adapted into a quality improvement toolkit. The aim of this pilot project was to gather preliminary feedback on providers’ perceptions of the acceptability and utility of the PPAQ toolkit for making beneficial practice changes. Twelve mental health providers working in Department of Veterans Affairs integrated primary care clinics participated in semistructured interviews to gather quantitative and qualitative data. Descriptive statistics and qualitative content analysis were used to analyze data. Providers identified several positive features of the PPAQ toolkit organization and structure that resulted in high ratings of acceptability, while also identifying several toolkit components in need of modification to improve usability. Toolkit content was considered highly representative of the (PCBH) model and therefore could be used as a diagnostic self-assessment of model adherence. The toolkit was considered to be high in applicability to providers regardless of their degree of prior professional preparation or current clinical setting. Additionally, providers identified several system-level contextual factors that could impact the usefulness of the toolkit. These findings suggest that frontline mental health providers working in (PCBH) settings may be receptive to using an adherence-focused toolkit for ongoing quality improvement. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Community-based implementation of trauma-focused interventions for youth: Economic impact of the learning collaborative model.
    This study investigated the economics of the learning collaborative (LC) model in the implementation of Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), an evidence-based intervention for traumatic stress in youth. We evaluated the cost-effectiveness of the LC model based on data from 13 LCs completed in the southeastern United States. Specifically, we calculated cost-effectiveness ratios (CERs) for 2 key service outcomes: (a) clinician TF-CBT competence, based on pre- and post-LC self-ratings (n = 574); and (b) trauma-related mental health symptoms (i.e., traumatic stress and depression), self- and caregiver-reported, for youth who received TF-CBT (n = 1,410). CERs represented the cost of achieving 1 standard unit of change on a measure (i.e., d = 1.0). The results indicated that (a) costs of $18,679 per clinician were associated with each unit increase in TF-CBT competency and (b) costs from $5,318 to $6,548 per youth were associated with each unit decrease in mental health symptoms. Thus, although the impact of LC participation on clinician competence did not produce a favorable CER, subsequent reductions in youth psychopathology demonstrated high cost-effectiveness. Clinicians and administrators in community provider agencies should consider these findings in their decisions about implementation of evidence-based interventions for youth with traumatic stress disorders. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Youth psychotherapy outcomes in usual care and predictors of outcome group membership.
    Improving mental health services for youth in usual care (UC) is one of the most critical issues in mental health services research. Identification of change groups in UC (e.g., recovery, improvement, no response, deterioration) can help researchers gain a richer understanding of UC and facilitate efforts to tailor UC to individuals who may not be responding well to treatment. This study used the reliable change index (RCI; Jacobson & Truax, 1991) to examine change groups within youth UC on two parent report outcome measures—symptom severity and functioning—using a large, naturalistic sample of youth (N = 672) treated in UC served at four clinics operating under a large county-wide public mental health authority. Results indicated that the majority of youth exhibited no reliable change. Furthermore, findings revealed low concordance between how youth were classified on both outcome measures. Multinomial logistic regression was used to predict group membership from an expanded set of youth demographic and clinical variables. Findings indicated that baseline problem severity and lower baseline functioning generally predicted higher likelihood of being classified into a more positive change group. Older age predicted increased likelihood of being in a more positive change group, while diagnosis of an internalizing disorder or serious mental illness (SMI) both predicted greater likelihood of falling into a more negative change group. Overall, these results suggest the importance of a more nuanced understanding of change in UC, as well as work aimed at identifying targets for improvement for youth who are not responding well. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Can unstructured clinical risk judgment have incremental validity in the prediction of recidivism in a non-Western juvenile context?
    Research has consistently shown that actuarial measures are superior to unstructured clinical judgments in predicting recidivism of offenders. However, in a non-Western context, clinical judgment may capture contextually relevant risk-related factors. The purpose of the current research is to investigate the incremental value of clinical risk judgment in a sample of Japanese youths. With a sample of 299 released youths, the relative accuracy of the actuarial predictor (Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory [YLS/CMI]) and unstructured clinical judgment (recommendation of placement by psychologists) was examined. Results show that an unstructured clinical judgment failed to add incremental variance to the actuarial measure in the prediction of future offenses. The current study results are similar to other studies from North America. Possible reasons why unstructured risk judgment did not add incrementally to the actuarial assessment of risk are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Aftercare engagement: A review of the literature through the lens of disparities.
    While prior research has well documented racial and ethnic disparities in mental health care broadly, significantly less attention has been given to possible disparities existing in the transition to aftercare. Grounded in Klinkenberg and Calsyn’s (1996) framework, we review current research on aftercare, identify commonalities between the prior and current reviews, and highlight gaps for future research. We focus on variables pertinent to our understanding of racial/ethnic disparities. Articles were retrieved via PsycINFO, PubMed, PsycARTICLES, and Google Scholar. We targeted those written in English and conducted in the United States after 1996 that examined aftercare and disparities-related variables. Accumulating evidence across the 18 studies that we reviewed suggests that disparities exist in aftercare engagement. We found clear support for significant racial/ethnic effects on aftercare engagement, such that racial/ethnic minorities are typically more vulnerable to disengagement than Whites. In addition, we found modest support for the association between aftercare engagement and other individual- and community-level variables, including sex, insurance status, prior outpatient treatment, and residence in an urban versus rural setting. Moreover, extant qualitative research has identified barriers to aftercare engagement including stigma, low mental health literacy, and negative attitudes toward treatment. Finally, systems-level variables including assertive outreach efforts and reduced length of time on waitlists were identified as consistent predictors of engagement. Suggestions for future research and clinical implications are explored. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • A randomized pilot trial of a telephone-based collaborative care management program for caregivers of individuals with dementia.
    Dementia care is largely provided in primary care settings. This article describes a pilot project aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of an accessible, telephone-based, patient- and caregiver (CG)-centered, collaborative care management program that involves CG education and psychosocial support in improving CG and patient outcomes. CGs (n = 75) of older veterans with dementia receiving care from Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center primary care practices were randomized to receive either dementia care management or usual care (UC). Of interest in this study were the frequency and severity of patients’ dementia-related symptom, CG distress related to patients’ behavioral and neuropsychiatric symptoms (primary outcomes), and CG coping and mastery (secondary outcomes). Adjusted, intention-to-treat longitudinal models suggest that CGs receiving care management reported significantly greater reductions in distress due to patients’ dementia-related (p = .05) and neuropsychiatric (p = .01) symptoms compared with CGs in UC. Additionally, CGs in the intervention reported significantly larger improvements in their ability to cope (p = .03) and caregiving mastery (p = .03). No significant group differences were found in CG burden or patients’ dementia-related symptom frequency or severity over time. Findings suggest that CGs of veterans with dementia may benefit from a telephone-delivered, care management program in improving CG-related outcomes. Further research of care management programs for CG of veterans with dementia in addressing barriers to care and reducing CG burden is warranted. These findings highlight the potential for such programs as adjuncts to dementia care offered in primary care practices. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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