A Behavioral Model of Health Services Utilization approach was used to examine the impact of comorbid mental illness on mortality of veterans admitted to Veterans Affairs medical centers in fiscal year 2001 with a primary diagnosis of congestive heart failure (n = 15,497). Thirty percent had a psychiatric diagnosis, 4.7% died during the index hospitalization, and 11.5% died during the year following discharge. Among those with mental illness, 23.6% had multiple psychiatric disorders. Multivariable logistic regression models found dementia to be positively associated with inpatient mortality. Depression alone (excluding other psychiatric disorders) was positively associated with one-year mortality. Primary care visits were associated with a reduced likelihood of both inpatient and one-year mortality. Excepting dementia, VA patients with a mental illness had comparable or higher levels of primary care visits than those having no mental illness. Patients with multiple psychiatric disorders had more outpatient care than those with one psychiatric disorder.