Use of Hospital Emergency Services by Youths in Out-of-Home Care — Brown et al. 61 (3): 328 — Psychiatr Serv

o the Editor: Youths placed in out-of-home settings often receive mental health services from several sectors of care, but the extent to which they use hospital emergency services is uncertain (1). Better information on the use of emergency services in this population merits attention because such services are costly and disruptive to families.

We used Medicaid Analytic Extract (MAX) claims from North Carolina to examine the use of hospital emergency departments among a statewide population of youths under age 22 who received out-of-home care in congregate residential treatment and family-type residential treatment (often referred to as therapeutic foster care) during calendar year 2003 (N=2,937). MAX claims contain the age, race or ethnicity, gender, Medicaid eligibility category, and a primary ICD-9-CM diagnosis.

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