Foster Children: Additional Federal Guidance Could Help States Better Plan for Oversight of Psychotropic Medications Administered by Managed-Care Organizations: Report to Congressional Requesters.
United States Government Accountability Office.
Report to Congress
ii, 48 p.
Published: April 2014
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In December 2011, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that foster children in selected States were prescribed psychotropic medications at rates higher than nonfoster children in Medicaid in 2008. GAO was asked to further examine instances of foster children being prescribed psychotropic medications. For the five States included in GAO's 2011 report--Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon, and Texas--this report: assesses the extent that documentation supported the usage of psychotropic medication for selected cases, describes States' policies related to psychotropic medication, and assesses HHS actions since GAO's 2011 report. For the study, GAO contracted with two child psychiatrists who conduct mental-health research and work on issues related to foster care, to provide clinical evaluations of 24 cases that GAO selected from the population of foster children prescribed psychotropic drugs in GAO's 2011 report. The case selections were based, in part, on potential health risk indicators. GAO obtained medical and child-welfare documentation spanning children's time in foster care, analyzed federal guidance and selected States' policies, and interviewed federal and State officials. Based on its findings, GAO recommends that the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issue guidance to States regarding oversight of psychotropic medications prescribed to children in foster care through MCOs. HHS agreed with GAO's recommendation. 4 tables, 2 figures, and 35 references. (Author abstract modified)
Psychotropic medication; Drug therapy; Behavior problems; Mental health services; Foster children; Federal laws; Policy formation; State agencies