Suicide Risk Grew After Missouri Medicaid Kids Shifted To Managed Care, Hospitals Say

Kaiser Health News

By: Phil Galewitz

After more than 2,000 Missouri children diagnosed with mental illness were shifted from traditional Medicaid into three for-profit managed-care companies, the state’s hospitals noticed an alarming trend: a doubling in the percentage who had thoughts of suicide or attempted suicide.

Joan Alker, director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, called the Missouri report “extremely troubling.” She said the new data set doesn’t prove managed care has caused any problem but does raise questions over whether children are getting adequate treatment. “Managed care is an effort to save money and that is done by getting rid of unnecessary care or coordinating care better, but a lot of managed-care organizations cut corners,” she said.

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