Care Is Expensive for Mentally Ill Veterans, but Quality Is as Good or Better Than Other Health Systems

Treating U.S. veterans with mental illness and substance use disorders is more expensive than caring for veterans with other medical conditions, costing more than $12 billion in 2007, according to a new RAND Corporation study. The study found that while the proportion of veterans who received the care recommended for their mental illness varied widely, the overall quality of mental health care offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was as good as or better than that reported by privately insured, Medicare or Medicaid populations.