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CFS Completes Evaluation of Medicaid Services for Children's Mental Health

In the last ten years, as the importance of the Medicaid program has increased within the mental health system in Florida, the Agency for Health Care Administration (ACHA) has introduced a number of initiatives designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Medicaid program.

In order to determine if children’s mental health programs are effective, CFS’s Mary Armstrong, Angela Gomez, and Jennifer Taub have recently completed a report on the Use of Treatment Protocols in Managed Care Environments, funded by AHCA. The report summarizes the results of an evaluation of the Medicaid Prepaid Mental Health Program (PMHP) in AHCA Area 6, consisting of the counties of Hillsborough, Manatee, Hardee, Highlands and Polk.

The evaluation was conducted to examine the use of treatment guidelines/protocols for children’s mental health services in managed care environments such as Managed Care Organizations, Community Mental Health Centers, and clinicians in private practice. The evaluation also determined whether existing treatment protocols are meeting the national best practice standards for children’s mental health services.

Sections within the report provide information on:

• methods, detailing the different approaches used to gain a deeper understanding of the impact of treatment protocols in the delivery of mental health services for children and adolescents;

• literature review, identifying best practices for child mental health diagnoses;

• analysis of treatment protocols, examining the treatment history of children and adolescents with certain diagnoses;

• telephone interviews, presenting the perspectives of administrators from MCOs and CMHCs about treatment protocols;

• and focus groups, presenting the perspectives of direct service providers.

The effectiveness of specific diagnosis were reported, and include information on depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, oppositional defiant disorder/aggression, attention deficit disorder, conduct disorder, anxiety/fears/phobias, schizophrenia, and eating disorders.

Additional information can be obtained by contacting Angela Gomez and 813-974-6415.

The Department of Child and Family Studies (CFS) is a department of the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, University of South Florida. The faculty and staff of CFS are committed to enhancing the development, mental health and well-being of children and families through leadership in integrating research, theory & practice.

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