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J Autism Dev Disord. 2013 Apr;43(4):924-31. doi: 10.1007/s10803-012-1637-2.

Age-related variation in health service use and associated expenditures among children with autism.

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  • 1Center for Mental Health Policy & Services Research, Center for Autism Research, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA. zcidav@upenn.edu


This study examined differences by age in service use and associated expenditures during 2005 for Medicaid-enrolled children with autism spectrum disorders. Aging was associated with significantly higher use and costs for restrictive, institution-based care and lower use and costs for community-based therapeutic services. Total expenditures increased by 5 % with each year of age; by 23 % between 3-5 and 6-11 year olds, 23 % between 6-11 and 12-16, and 14 % between 12-16 and 17-20 year olds. Use of and expenditures for long-term care, psychiatric medications, case management, medication management, day treatment/partial hospitalization, and respite services increased with age; use of and expenditures for occupational/physical therapy, speech therapy, mental health services, diagnostic/assessment services, and family therapy declined.

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