Objective: The authors examined racial differences in response rates to an intervention involving collaborative care and usual care among 360 veterans treated for depression at Department of Veterans Affairs community-based primary care clinics.
Methods: Individuals who screened positive for depression were assigned randomly to usual care (N=200) or to a collaborative care intervention (N=160) that provided phone contact when necessary with a registered nurse and clinical pharmacist to address issues related to compliance with medication and side effect management as well as supervision by a psychiatrist through video chats with the collaborative care team. Data about patients' characteristics, treatment history, and response to treatment were collected by telephone at baseline and after six months.
Results: Seventy-five percent (N=272) of the veterans were Caucasian, and 25% (N=88) belonged to a minority group, including 18% (N=64) who were African American, 3% (N=11) who were Native American, and 3.6% (N=13) who were of other minority groups. There were no significant differences between response rates between the Caucasian and minority group to usual care (18% and 8%, respectively), but the minority group had a higher response rate (42%) than Caucasians (19%) to the intervention (χ²=8.2, df=1, p=.004). Regression analysis indicated that the interaction of minority group status by intervention significantly predicted response (odds ratio [OR]=6.2, 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.6-24.5, p=.009), even after adjustment for other factors associated with minority status (OR=6.0, 95% CI=1.5-24.3, p=.01).
Conclusions: Racial disparities in depression care may be ameliorated through collaborative care programs.