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J Adolesc Health. 2002 Apr;30(4):262-72.

Health care use and charges for adolescents enrolled in a title XXI program.

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Institute for Child Health Policy, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32608, USA.



To examine the use patterns and charges for adolescents with special health care needs (ASHCN) and adolescents engaging in risky behaviors (ARB) and both (BOTH), compared with adolescents with no identified special health care or risky behavior diagnosis (ANIC) in a pool of adolescent enrollees eligible for Title XXI services.


Claims and encounter data were used to classify 11,459 who had been enrolled in Florida's Healthy Kids Program for 2 consecutive years into 4 groups: ASHCN (n = 1363); ARB (n = 1801); BOTH (n = 773); and ANIC (n = 7522). Monthly per capita inpatient, outpatient, emergency room, and total use and charges were calculated and compared across groups using the Wilcoxon rank sum test, descriptive statistics, and odds ratios.


The data indicated that ASHCN, ARB, and BOTH consume significantly more health care services than ANIC and that their higher use and charges are attributable not only to condition-related costs but also to their higher use of non-condition-related services as well. The data also revealed that adolescents with a special health care diagnosis (ASHCN and BOTH) had a higher percentage of costs owing to inpatient stays, whereas adolescents with a risky behavior diagnosis (ARB and BOTH) had a higher percentage of costs owing to emergency room usage. Finally, relevant to the total resources necessary to provide health care for adolescents, the data showed that 65% of the total annual costs of this program emanate from the 35% of adolescents who have special health care needs, engage in risky behaviors, or both.


This study underscores two important points that can be used to ensure that adequate financing, provider network, and service delivery systems are developed to best meet the needs of the adolescent population: (a) the importance of considering the unique needs of adolescents in reimbursement rate setting strategies and (b) the importance of considering category of service utilization in weighting premiums for various groups.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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