Associations between magnitude of child maltreatment and Medicaid expenditures for psychotropic medications
OBJECTIVE: This study examined relationships between various measures of the severity of child maltreatment and expenditures on psychotropic drugs among children in the welfare system. METHODS: Child participants (N=4,453) in the first National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) were linked to their Medicaid claims from 36 states. Three specifications for severity of maltreatment were developed. A two-part regression of logistic and generalized linear models of expenditures on psychotropic medications was estimated for each specification. RESULTS: Physically abused children had higher odds (odds ratio [OR]=1.34) and neglected children had lower odds (OR=.76) of incurring psychotropic drug expenditures. Children who experienced the most severe level of harm had higher odds (OR=1.33) of medication use, compared with children without appreciable harm. No maltreatment specifications were associated with increased expenditures on psychotropic drugs. CONCLUSIONS: The magnitude of maltreatment affected odds of use of psychotropic drugs but had no effect on Medicaid expenditures for these drugs.