-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Oct. 14 (HealthDay News) -- A growing number of American
children are receiving psychiatric care in hospital emergency
departments, particularly children who have no insurance or are
covered by Medicaid.
That's the finding of a new study that examined 279 million
visits made by children to U.S. emergency departments from 1999 to
During that time, the rate of psychiatric visits increased from
2.4 percent to 3 percent. Underinsured children accounted for 46
percent of those visits in 1999 and 54 percent in 2007.
The findings, slated to be presented Friday at the American
Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in Boston,
are important for a number of reasons, according to study author
Dr. Zachary Pittsenbarger.
As expected, the results show that psychiatric visits by
children to emergency departments continue to increase.
"A second, and more novel finding, is that one group in particular is increasing beyond any other socio-demographic group, and that is the publicly insured," Pittsenbarger said in an AAP news release.
"It has been found previously that the publicly insured have fewer treatment options and longer wait times for psychiatric disorders when not hospitalized," he noted. "This new finding argues that limited outpatient mental health resources force those patients to seek the care they need in the emergency department."
Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data
and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in
a peer-reviewed journal.
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about
child and adolescent mental health.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.