State audit finds unexplained gaps in children's mental health care
SALEM, Ore. – Oregon needs to do a better job at making sure that low-income children are getting the mental health services they’re eligible for. That's the finding of a new audit by the Oregon Secretary of State's office.
The report applauds the Oregon Health Authority for bringing tens of thousands of additional children into the Medicaid-funded Oregon Health Plan over the past three years.
But auditors found that some groups of children were using mental health services at a disproportionately low rate. They include girls under age 13, and Hispanic youth of all ages.
The audit also found unexplained gaps in mental health treatment for some children.
Bill Bouska is manager of the children's mental health program of the Oregon Health Authority. He says the agency is working to better document treatment plans.
"We want to make sure that that's taken care of. We also want to look at those kids that did have gaps, and when there are gaps, what happened? Was it just a lack of documentation? Was there really follow-up?"
Bouska points out Oregon is transitioning to a new model of delivering health care to low income people later this year. He expects that more children will have access to mental health screening at an earlier age.
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