Prescription Drug Use and Cost Trends Among Medicaid-Enrolled Children with Disruptive Behavioral Disorders
Disruptive behavior disorders (DBDs) are the most common mental health conditions in children. These conditions profoundly affect healthcare utilization and costs. Service use, costs, and diagnostic trends among pediatric Medicaid beneficiaries provide information regarding healthcare quality and potential for smarter spending. Using nationwide Medicaid administrative data, this study investigates diagnoses, prescription drug fills, and payments in 49 states and D.C. from 2006 to 2009 in Medicaid beneficiaries age 20 and under. Psychotherapeutic drug prescriptions and payments were calculated as a proportion of prescription totals. Results were considered by age, gender, race, and state. The results show a trend of increasing DBD diagnosis. Among prescription claims for children with diagnosed DBD, psychotherapeutic drug claims represented 30–40% of prescription claims but over half of prescription costs. This study indicates increasing clinical and financial needs for Medicaid-enrolled children with DBDs. Medicaid could potentially foster reforms in pediatric DBD treatments, particularly regarding medication use.
The authors acknowledge our CMS colleagues William D. Clark, Sophia Chan, David Bott, Renee Mentnech, John O’Brien, John Coster, and Renee Hilliard for their input and review.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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