Suicide risk great after Missouri Medicaid kids shifted to managed care, hospitals say

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Suicide risk great after Missouri Medicaid kids shifted to managed care, hospitals say

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.

Additionally, the average length of stay for these children in psychiatric hospitals dropped from 10 days to seven following the Medicaid change in May 2017, according to a study released this month by the Missouri Hospital Association.

The hospital association called on state Medicaid officials to investigate the study’s findings about children covered by the state-federal program for low-income families. The group acknowledged that factors other than the move to managed care could have played a role behind the increase, including social media, cyberbullying and lack of access to specialized mental health care.

Read more from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch