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Population-Tailored Care for Homeless Veterans and Acute Care Use, Cost, and Satisfaction: A Prospective Quasi-Experimental Trial
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  • Alternative Title:
    Prev Chronic Dis
  • Description:

    Although traditional patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) are effective for patients with complex needs, it is unclear whether homeless-tailored PCMHs work better for homeless veterans. We examined the impact of enrollment in a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) homeless-tailored PCMH on health services use, cost, and satisfaction compared with enrollment in a traditional, nontailored PCMH.


    We conducted a prospective, multicenter, quasi-experimental, single-blinded study at 2 VHA medical centers to assess health services use, cost, and satisfaction during 12 months among 2 groups of homeless veterans: 1) veterans receiving VHA homeless-tailored primary care (Homeless-Patient Aligned Care Team [H-PACT]) and 2) veterans receiving traditional primary care services (PACT). A cohort of 266 homeless veterans enrolled from June 2012 through January 2014.


    Compared with PACT patients, H-PACT patients had more social work visits (4.6 vs 2.7 visits) and fewer emergency department (ED) visits for ambulatory care-sensitive conditions (0 vs 0.2 visits); a significantly smaller percentage of veterans in H-PACT were hospitalized (23.1% vs 35.4%) or had mental health–related ED visits (34.1% vs 47.6%). We found significant differences in primary care provider–specific visits (H-PACT, 5.1 vs PACT, 3.6 visits), mental health care visits (H-PACT, 8.8 vs PACT, 13.4 visits), 30-day prescription drug fills (H-PACT, 40.5 vs PACT, 58.8 fills), and use of group therapy (H-PACT, 40.1% vs PACT, 53.7%). Annual costs per patient were significantly higher in the PACT group than the H-PACT group ($37,415 vs $28,036). In logistic regression model of acute care use, assignment to the H-PACT model was protective as was rating health “good” or better.


    Homeless veterans enrolled in the population-tailored primary care approach used less acute care and costs were lower. Tailored-care models have implications for care coordination in the US Department of Veterans Affairs VA and community health systems.

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