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Mental Health Diagnoses, Health Care Utilization, and Placement Stability on Antipsychotic Prescribing Among Foster Care Youth

Published:August 28, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acap.2022.08.005

      Abstract

      Objective

      This study sought to examine how mental health diagnoses, health care utilization and foster care placement instability affect antipsychotic prescribing and how these factors may contribute to disproportionate antipsychotic prescribing among youth in foster care.

      Methods

      This retrospective cohort study utilized EHR data that were linked to administrative child welfare data. Two outcome variables were analyzed: 1) any antipsychotic prescription documented and 2) number of antipsychotic prescriptions documented. Predictor variables included foster care status, number of unique mental health diagnoses, counts of health care encounters over the study period, and counts of foster care placements. Covariates included gender, persons of color, and age in years. Models were estimated using logistic regression for the dichotomous outcome and Poisson regression for the count outcome.

      Results

      Increased antipsychotic prescribing among children in foster care persists even after accounting for mental health diagnoses and health care utilization. However, the number of placements modified the effect of foster care involvement on antipsychotic prescribing such that after 2 placement changes, the odds of being prescribed an antipsychotic surpassed the effect of foster care involvement. More mental health diagnoses, more inpatient and emergency health care encounters, and more foster care placements were associated with an increased odds of being prescribed an antipsychotic and an increased count of antipsychotic prescriptions. Decreased primary care encounters were associated with increased odds of antipsychotic prescriptions, and decreased specialty encounters were associated with higher counts of antipsychotic prescriptions.

      Conclusions

      Placement instability is associated with disproportionate antipsychotic prescribing among youth in foster care.

      Keywords

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