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University of South Florida · College of Behavioral & Community Sciences · Mental Health Law & Policy


Key Personnel:
Paul E. Greenbaum, Ph.D.
Svetlana Yampolskaya, Ph.D.
Wei Wang, Ph.D.
Mario Hernandez, Ph.D.

Disparities and Patterns of Behavioral Health Service Utilization among Medicaid-Eligible Children in Florida

Publication Date: 6/1/2006

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The 2001 Surgeon General's report on mental health care in the United States documented serious disparities among minorities in mental health services, characterized by lower utilization rates and poorer quality of care (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001). Although numerous studies have found disparities in mental health services for minorities, understanding of the range of disparities and the causal factors producing them has been elusive because few consistent patterns have emerged. The present study aimed to explore mental health patterns in the state of Florida for Medicaid-eligible children using the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) administrative data set and a variety of mental health care indicators of access and utilization. Strengths of this study include a large sample size, use of longitudinal data, multiple indicators of mental health service utilization, separate analyses for different ICD-9 mental health diagnoses, and multivariate analyses that control for demographic characteristics (i.e., gender and age).