Comparing the Utilization and Cost of Health Services between Veterans Experiencing Brief and Ongoing Episodes of Housing Instability
Byrne, T., Nelson, R. E., Montgomery, A. E. et al.
Journal of Urban Health, Vol 94.
Housing instability is associated with costly patterns of health and behavioral health service use. However, little prior research has examined patterns of service use associated with higher costs among those experiencing ongoing housing instability. To address this gap, this article compares inpatient and outpatient medical and behavioral health service utilization and costs between veterans experiencing brief and ongoing episodes of housing instability. Among 5794 veterans screening positive for housing instability, 4934 (85%) were experiencing brief and 860 (15%) ongoing instability. The average total annual incremental cost associated with ongoing versus brief episodes of housing instability was estimated at $7573, with the bulk of this difference found in inpatient services. The findings suggest that efforts aimed at preventing extended episodes of housing instability could potentially result in substantial cost offsets for the VA health care system.