Friday, December 02, 2011

The Financial and Societal Costs of Medicating America's Foster Children

A Senate hearing was held yesterday, "The Financial and Societal Costs of Medicating America’s Foster Children."

Mr. Bryan Samuels, Commissioner, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, gave the following testimony: "During my tenure as Director, DCFS developed a comprehensive system of protocols and safeties to ensure that psychotropic medications are prescribed responsibly and monitored consistently."

This included:
  • Requiring that all prescriptions be reviewed and approved at the State Deputy Director level; 
  • Establishing time-limits for reviews to ensure that necessary treatment was not delayed;   
  • Developing an electronic database for tracking all prescriptions for children in foster care;
  • Creating “red flags” in the database that elevated certain cases, such as those in which three or more medications were prescribed, for more thorough review; and
  • Establishing best practice guidelines and distributing them to prescribers. The electronic database was also designed to identify providers whose patterns of prescribing differed from the guidelines.
Here’s the link to learn more:

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