Abstract of Journal Article - March 2010
Tex Med. 2010;106(3):55.
By Emilie A. Becker MD; Brian King, BA; Alan Shafer, PhD; and Christopher R. Thomas, MD
This study was conducted to determine how the current shortage of Texas child and adolescent psychiatrists (CAPs) impacts the delivery of mental health care services to indigent Texas youth. First, Texas Medical Board data detailed how many counties had CAPs and how many did not. Second, statewide Medicaid data revealed the number of prescriptions for psychotropics written for Medicaid youth by CAPs and non-CAPs. Third, Local Mental Health Authority (LMHA) encounter data of youth seen by a CAP were analyzed. Fourth, state census data gave the location and characteristics of youth by county. Eighty percent of counties in Texas, predominantly rural, do not have a CAP. Non-CAPs wrote 66% of psychotropic medication prescriptions written for Medicaid youth. Those in nonmetropolitan areas were more likely to see a non-CAP than were Medicaid youth in metropolitan areas. For youth seen by an LMHA, those in rural poor counties were less likely to see a CAP than were those in urban counties. The shortage of CAPs in Texas results in an unequal distribution of psychiatric care for those receiving Medicaid prescriptions or services through LMHAs, especially in rural areas. Suggestions to correct this shortage are made.
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