Telehealth Use and Availability in VHA Outpatient Mental Health Care

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, health systems and providers nationwide accelerated their adoption of telehealth as a substitute for care that had previously occurred in-person. Already an early adopter of virtual care, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) was well-positioned to rapidly expand telehealth services, especially for outpatient mental health care. While both the availability and the use of telehealth have substantially increased and been sustained over pre-pandemic levels, many Veterans continue to prefer seeing a provider in-person. This suggests that telehealth complements but should not replace in-person care.

The Partnered Evidence-based Policy Resource Center (PEPReC) published a policy brief examining telehealth utilization within VHA, including visit volume by care modality, telehealth provision by provider, and usage among Veterans. Read the full brief here.

PEPReC, within the Veterans Health Administration and funded in large part by the Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI), is a team of health economists, health services and public health researchers, statistical programmers, and policy analysts who engage policymakers to improve Veterans’ lives through evidence-driven innovations using advanced quantitative methods.

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