Continuity of Care for Youth in Foster Care with Serious Emotional Disturbances.
Fontanella, Cynthia A. Gupta, Lipi. Hiance-Steelesmith, Danielle L. Valentine, Sedona.
Published: March 2015
Children and Youth Services Review
Vol. 50, No. March , p. 38-43
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Continuity of mental health care has long been considered an essential component to the delivery of a high-quality mental health services, particularly for children with special needs. Unfortunately, discontinuities in care are common for children in foster care due in part to placement instability, disruptions in health coverage, and the fragmented health system. This retrospective cohort study examined factors associated with continuity of care for youth (aged 5–17 years) in foster care diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Information on individual-level (demographic and clinical characteristics) and contextual-level variables (county socio-demographic and health care resources) were abstracted from Medicaid claim files and the Area Resource File. Continuity of care was defined as regularity of care—utilization of at least one outpatient mental health visit per month during the year. Multilevel modeling was used to assess the association between individual and contextual-level variables and continuity of care. Of the 952 youth in the study sample, 439 (46.1%) received regular monthly outpatient visits over the 1 year follow-up period. The odds of receipt of regular outpatient treatment were associated with prior outpatient care (odds ratio (OR): 7.43, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.60–21.20), the presence of a chronic medical illness (OR: 1.45, 95% CI: 0.98–2.16), comorbid anxiety (Or: 1.76, 95% CI 1.22–2.53), or conduct disorder (OR: 1.57, 95% CI: 1.13–2.18), and the use of multiple psychotropic medications as compared to no medications (OR: 1.55, 95% CI: 1.08–2.23). The odds of receiving regular outpatient treatment were higher for youths who resided in suburban areas as compared to metropolitan areas (OR: 1.97, 95% CI: 1.04–3.73) and for those who resided in areas with greater supply of psychiatrists per capita (OR: 1.22, 95% CI: 1.02–1.45). Study findings underscore the need for quality improvement initiatives that improve access to care, care coordination, and continuity of care. (Author abstract)
foster children; emotionally disturbed children; mental health services; continuity of care; placement stability; schizophrenia; predictor variables