Amid national concerns that too many children are being medicated for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), some state Medicaid programs are stepping up oversight of diagnoses and treatments.
By Christine Vestal
ATLANTA – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, affects one in every seven school-aged children in the U.S., and between 2003 and 2011 the number of children diagnosed with the condition rose by more than 40 percent.
Doctors have considerable leeway in deciding the best course of treatment for a child with the condition, no matter who is paying the bill.
But children covered by Medicaid, the joint federal-state health care program for the poor, are at least 50 percent more likely to be diagnosed with the disorder.
Children covered by Medicaid are at least 50 percent more likely to be diagnosed with the disorder.
That is partly because of the toll poverty takes on kids and a lack of resources in poorer schools. But some states believe there are other factors at work.
Several have begun to investigate whether doctors and mental health providers who bill Medicaid for ADHD are rigorously using evidence-based guidelines when diagnosing and treating it.
In Georgia, state Medicaid officials are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to improve the accuracy of diagnoses and the efficacy of treatments for the ailment.
Missouri and Vermont have also sought the CDC’s help in analyzing Medicaid claims data to determine how best to improve care for what has become the most commonly diagnosed childhood behavioral disorder. Continue reading