Comparing behavioral health models for reducing risky drinking among older male veterans.
BACKGROUND: Screening older veterans in Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) primary care clinics for risky drinking facilitates early identification and referral to treatment. OBJECTIVE: This study compared two behavioral health models, integrated care (a standardized brief alcohol intervention co-located in primary care clinics) and enhanced referral care (referral to specialty mental health or substance abuse clinics), for reducing risky drinking among older male VAMC primary care patients. VAMC variation was also examined. METHOD: A secondary analysis of longitudinal data from the Primary Care Research in Substance Abuse and Mental Health for Elderly (PRISM-E) study, a multisite randomized controlled trial, was conducted with a sample of older male veterans (n = 438) who screened positive for risky drinking and were randomly assigned to integrated or enhanced referral care at five VAMCs. RESULTS: Generalized estimating equations revealed no differences in either behavioral health model for reducing risky drinking at a 6-month follow-up (AOR: 1.46; 95% CI: 0.42-5.07). Older veterans seen at a VAMC providing geriatric primary care and geriatric evaluation and management teams had lower odds of risky drinking (AOR: 0.24; 95% CI: 0.07-0.81) than those seen at a VAMC without geriatric primary care services. CONCLUSIONS: Both integrated and enhanced referral care reduced risky drinking among older male veterans. However, VAMCs providing integrated behavioral health and geriatric specialty care may be more effective in reducing risky drinking than those without these services. Integrating behavioral health into geriatric primary care may be an effective public health approach for reducing risky drinking among older veterans.
Wooten, NR; Tavakoli, AS; Al-Barwani, MB; Thomas, NA; Chakraborty, H; Scheyett, AM; Kaminski, KM; Woods, AC; Levkoff, SE
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