On April 13th, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Department of Human Services (DHS) released a statement proclaiming that Oregon will join Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont to be a part of the national pilot project focused on improving the use of psychotropic medication among children and teenagers in foster care.
This three-year program has been developed by the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) and supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Its primary task is to “identify new strategies focused on quality improvement related to prescribing, monitoring, and oversight of psychotropic medication use.”
According to the release, Oregon already made advancements in the field when, in 2009, legislation reinforced laws by permitting the children in their care “to have the appropriate health assessment and to make early diagnosis in the course of treatment.” In 2008, for instance, 20 percent of children were receiving psychotropic treatment, whereas in 2010 the numbers indicate 14 percent of kids received such treatment.
The report also addresses that:
Recent federal legislation requires child welfare agencies to partner with state Medicaid agencies (Oregon Health Authority has this role in Oregon) to develop coordinated plans for the monitoring and oversight of psychotropic medication use among children in foster care.
Bruce Goldberg, M.D., Oregon Health Authority director responded:
This important initiative will help us better coordinate the mental health treatment for foster children…We know that coordination of care will bring better health for children and also lower costs for the state, and we look forward to working with our federal partners.