This study assessed the impact of a prior-authorization process on the use of antipsychotic medications by children under six years old in Florida’s fee-for-service Medicaid program.
Child psychiatrists reviewed requests for antipsychotic treatment (N=1,424) using forms and criteria created by a panel of Florida-based experts. Data on the characteristics of the children and clinicians involved were organized into 11 consecutive quarters beginning in July 2008. Multivariate generalized estimating equations were used to examine the association between each study variable and changes in the odds of submission of a new request over time.
Prior-authorization requests declined from 124 in the first quarter to 81 in the last quarter. Compared with applications from child psychiatrists, the odds of applications being submitted by adult psychiatrists, neurologists, and pediatricians increased over time.
Although applications declined, the diminished role of child psychiatry specialists raises questions about the impact of the program on the quality of care provided.