Treatment of Veterans with Psychiatric Diagnoses Nationally in the Veterans Health Administration: A Comparison of Service Delivery by Mental Health Specialists and Other Providers

  • Nikhil GuptaEmail author
  • Ish P. Bhalla
  • Robert A. Rosenheck
Original Article


Patients with psychiatric disorders are treated by both mental health specialists and non-specialists. We use national data from the Veterans Health Administration to evaluate changing proportions of patients seen exclusively by non-specialists during the study year (FY 2012) limit as well as differences in socio-demographic, clinical and service use characteristics. There has been a five-fold increase in veterans with mental disorders seen by non-specialists over 20 years from 7 to 38%, findings similar to those in non-VA settings. Veterans treated by mental health specialists were younger, more likely to have been homeless and disabled, and had more severe and more numerous psychiatric diagnoses. There is a need to maintain specialty services and to strengthen non-specialty care through education and research.


Mental health services Veterans Mental health specialists 



This study was funded by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Nikhil Gupta, Ish Bhalla and Robert Rosenheck declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors. The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board committee of the VA Connecticut Healthcare System. A waiver of informed consent was obtained as the study used administrative data and there were no patient identifiers included.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Veterans Affairs-New England Mental Illness ResearchEducation and Clinical CenterWest HavenUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryYale School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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