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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.


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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