We don't pretend to understand much about what these numbers mean, nor about the implications of the data.What is clear, however, is that the state's Medicaid program is paying out a lot of money to mitigate the effects of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder; for meds to treat high-risk children (and you can draw your own conclusions about what prevention efforts aimed at parents might save in dollars alone in that respect); and for drugs to treat ADD in children and adults, despite popular debate over whether this is a real medical condition needing treatment, and whether administering such meds – to children in particular – is an appropriate long-term treatment strategy.ILI's observations reminded me of a complaint former FSSA employee Carl Moldthan had made to me about in my earlier post about his view of FSSA's failed privatization of welfare services in Indiana. He mentioned how county welfare workers thought there were far too many disability claims for bipolar disorder that were being approved. In some offices, Moldthan noted as many as half of the claims were for bipolar disorder. Moldthan had recommended an independent medical review team to determine eligibility for those claims because there was a feeling among some county welfare workers that too many physicians were simply saying what their patients wanted them to say in order for their patients to qualify for the benefits.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Psycho Drugs Popular With Medicaid Recipients
If you thought drugs to treat common diseases like heart, cancer and diabetes are the most commonly prescribed drugs for Indiana's Medicaid recipients, think again. It's the psycho drugs used to treat bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and attention deficit order in adults and children. The Indiana Legislative Insight makes this profound observation in its most recent edition. The legislative newsletter notes figures showing Indiana's Medicaid program spent more money on drugs to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder during the most recent quarter ($14 million) than any other drugs, a 25% increase over the prior quarter. On an annualized basis, the newsletter finds the state is spending $75 million to cover some 49,000 claims. Equally as disturbing is the disclosure that the most commonly prescribed drugs under the program are for treatment of pain using prescription drugs like Vicodin or Lortab, which are known for their addictive nature. There were 131,870 claims for pain-killers during the first quarter alone. ILI writes: