207818 Evaluation of a system to increase access to mental health services for people living with HIV/AIDS at a community-based AIDS service organization

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Matthew B. Feldman, PhD, LCSW , Department of Health Informatics, Gay Men's Health Crisis, New York, NY
Gregg S. Weinberg, MA , Department of Health Informatics, Gay Men's Health Crisis, New York, NY
Background: Mental health services are important for improving psychological functioning and maintaining physical health for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Many PLWHA face multiple barriers to accessing mental health treatment including procedural issues at provider organizations, such as the failure to identify and engage clients who could benefit from mental health services and delays in scheduling appointments. This study evaluates the implementation of a Rapid Response (RR) system, in an AIDS service organization, designed to eliminate agency barriers to mental health treatment. Methods: Sociodemographic and appointment-related data were collected for 313 clients served by RR from April 2008-December 2008 and analyzed using SPSS 15.0. Results: There was an increase in mental health service enrollments post-RR implementation compared to the same period before the system was implemented (396 vs. 262). Of the 278 people who scheduled initial mental health intakes through RR, 64% enrolled in mental health services. Enrollment in mental health services was significantly associated with fewer days between the RR contact and the date of the initial mental health intake (4 days, enrolled vs. 6 days, non-enrolled). Race was a significant predictor of enrollment, and women were less likely to enroll in mental health services than men, although this relationship was not statistically significant. Conclusions: RR has provided the agency with an efficient system to engage clients in mental health treatment. Results suggest that efforts to minimize the time between the initial referral and the first appointment with the mental health program explain the increase in enrollment post-RR implementation.

Learning Objectives:
1. Articulate the development of a system that was created to increase access to mental health services for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). 2. Describe the data collection and evaluation process. 3. Discuss the findings and how they can inform policies and procedures around engaging PLWHA in mental health services.

Keywords: Access to Care, Mental Health Services

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Education: MS, PhD, Social Work, Columbia University School of Social Work Research: I have 4 first-author publications in peer-reviewed journals based on my research on health and mental health issues among men who have sex with men. Work experience: My current position at Gay Men's Health Crisis is focused on evaluating the effectiveness of programs/services for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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