HSR&D Citation Abstract
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Examination of potential disparities in suicide risk identification and follow-up care within the Veterans Health Administration.
Carter SP, Malte CA, Rojas SM, Hawkins EJ, Reger MA. Examination of potential disparities in suicide risk identification and follow-up care within the Veterans Health Administration. Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior. 2020 Dec 1; 50(6):1127-1139.
To improve the identification and intervention of suicide risk, the Veterans Health Administration implemented the use of electronic patient record flags (PRF) to indicate when a veteran is identified as high risk for suicide and to increase the clinical contacts made with the veteran. The current study utilized an intersectional approach to assess potential disparities in the likelihood of receiving a PRF and the likelihood of receiving post-PRF follow-up care among veterans with substance use disorders (SUDs). Among 458,092 veterans who received a SUD diagnosis in 2012, Black veterans were less likely to receive a PRF, although Black-disabled veterans and Black-female veterans were more likely to receive a PRF. Homelessness was related to greater likelihood of receiving a PRF and post-PRF care. Hispanic/Latinx veterans who experienced homelessness were more likely to receive post-PRF care, while disabled veterans who experienced homelessness were less likely. Hispanic/Latinx, female veterans, and Black-disabled veterans were significantly less likely to receive post-PRF care. Overall, few marginalized or intersecting identities were associated with decreased PRF or decreased follow-up care. There are opportunities for specific strategies that promote engagement in VA follow-up services for veterans identifying as Hispanic/Latinx women, disabled Black veterans, and disabled homeless veterans.