Veterans’ service utilization and associated costs following participation in dialectical behavior therapy: A preliminary investigation

Laura L. Meyers, Sara J. Landes, Paul Thuras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Context: Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based therapy developed for the treatment of suicidal behaviors and disorders characterized by emotional and behavioral dyscontrol that is effective in veteran populations. The impact of DBT on veterans' Veterans Affairs (VA) service utilization and cost is unknown. Evidence Acquisition: This study evaluated the impact of DBT in a VA outpatient mental health setting on VA service utilization and cost of services. Veterans treated for symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder, who had completed at least 6 months of the DBT program were sampled (N = 41). Use of physical and mental health services during the years prior and following DBT was assessed using medical record information. Results: There was a significant decrease in mental health service utilization. Psychiatric hospitalization dropped in half, and for those with a hospitalization, length of stay decreased significantly. Direct costs associated with all health care were significantly reduced. Conclusion: Changes in service utilization resulted in a significant reduction in direct costs of providing care to veterans with symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder. Additional research is needed to compare the reduction in overall costs to the cost of implementing DBT and to compare these changes to a control group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1368-1373
Number of pages6
JournalMilitary medicine
Volume179
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

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