Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 3–13

Access and Service Use by Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Medicaid Managed Care

Authors

    • Department of Pediatrics, Weisskopf Center for the Evaluation of ChildrenUniversity of Louisville
    • Department of PediatricsUniversity of Louisville, WCEC
  • Craig Anne Heflinger
    • Department of Human and Organizational DevelopmentVanderbilt University
  • J. William Renfrew
    • Department of Human and Organizational DevelopmentVanderbilt University
  • Robert C. Saunders
    • Department of Human and Organizational DevelopmentVanderbilt University
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-004-1026-6

Cite this article as:
Ruble, L.A., Heflinger, C.A., Renfrew, J.W. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2005) 35: 3. doi:10.1007/s10803-004-1026-6

Abstract

Although Medicaid is the largest public payer of behavioral health services, information on access and utilization of services is lacking, and no data on the frequency of service use or types of services provided for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are available. As states move toward managed care approaches for their Medicaid program, services information is critical. Behavioral health service data for children with autism spectrum disorders were collected from a state Medicaid Managed Care (MMC) program and analyzed from fiscal years 1995 through 2000. Findings revealed that the number of children who received services over time increased significantly; however, the rate of service use was only one tenth of what should be expected based on prevalence rates. The mean number of service days provided per child decreased significantly, about 40%, and the most prevalent forms of treatment changed. Day treatment vanished and medication and case management increased disproportionately to the number of children served. Explanations and implications of the findings are presented as well as recommendations for future research.

Keywords

servicesmedicaid managed caremental healthbehavioral health

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005