Quality of preventive medical care for patients with mental disorders

Med Care. 2002 Feb;40(2):129-36. doi: 10.1097/00005650-200202000-00007.


Background/objectives: This study compares quality of preventive services between persons with and without mental/substance use disorders for a national sample of medical outpatients.

Research design: Cross-sectional study.

Subjects: A total of 113,505 veterans with chronic conditions and at least three general medical visits to Veterans Health Administration medical providers during 1998 to 1999.

Measures: Chart-derived rates of eight preventive services: two measures of immunization, four measures of cancer screening, and two of tobacco screening and counseling. Multivariable-generalized estimating equations compared rates of each preventive service among veterans with psychiatric disorders, substance use disorders, both, and neither, adjusting for demographic, health status, and facility-level characteristics.

Results: On average, persons in the sample obtained 64% of the eight preventive procedures for which they were eligible. Overall rates of currency with preventive services were 58% for patients with combined psychiatric/substance use disorders, 60% and 65% for those with psychiatric and substance use disorders alone, and 66% for those with neither psychiatric nor substance use disorders. Each difference remained statistically significant in multivariable models.

Conclusions: In this sample of patients in active medical treatment, rates of preventive services were higher than rates reported for population-based, private-sector samples. Despite these high-baseline rates, persons with psychiatric disorders, particularly with comorbid substance use, were at risk for lower rate of receipt of preventive services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Preventive Health Services / standards*
  • Preventive Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • United States
  • Veterans / statistics & numerical data