Texas Comptroller orders 5 doctors: return Medicaid psych drug money_

The Houston Chronicle reports that Texas comptroller, Carole Keeton
Strayorn is using the purse strings to rein doctors who overprescribe
psychotropic drugs for children in foster care.
She ordered five doctors to return Medicaid money!!

“Last year, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission established
stricter guidelines regarding the prescribing of psychiatric drugs for poor
Texas children. Since then, the state has seen a dramatic reduction in
multiple prescriptions. A snapshot analysis of the data taken last year
shows that the number of foster care children prescribed five or more
psychiatric medications fell by 31 percent five months after the stricter
regulations. There are about 1.9 million poor Texas children on Medicaid.”
Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav
veracare@ahrp.org

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 http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/4122704.html
HOUSTON  CHRONICLE
5 doctors must repay money to Medicaid
By TERRI LANGFORD

Five doctors who treat poor Texas children were notified Wednesday they
need to return Medicaid money used to pay for psychiatric drug
treatment to the state.

Though the total amount – $11,034.43 – may appear to be a less than
remarkable demand, the move is the latest in a two-year effort to
better regulate how poor children are prescribed psychiatric
medication.

“This was not about the money,” said Brian Flood, the Texas Health and
Human Services’ Inspector General, whose office sent out the five
letters.

Two years ago, Flood and others, including Texas Comptroller Carole
Keeton Strayhorn, began collecting data and reviewing how doctors were
prescribing psychiatric drugs – stimulants, anti-depressants and
anti-psychotics – to poor children.

The studies revealed that poor children were being prescribed multiple
psychiatric drugs and some children as young as 3 were taking the
mood-altering medications.

Both studies prompted legislators to establish stricter standards on
how many medications could be prescribed to children.

Strayhorn’s study reported the case of one child who had 14
prescriptions for 11 different medications, at a monthly cost of
$1,088.03.

Flood’s office took a two-month look at Medicaid payments for the
psychotropic medications for Texas children.

The study found that 63,118 children were on stimulants,
antidepressants or anti-psychotics, with nearly one-third of them
simultaneously taking drugs from more than one of those classes of
medications. Doctors had filed 114,315 claims worth more than $17
million for the children.

For the past two years, Flood’s office has had other doctors review
files. Beginning this week, letters were sent to doctors notifying
which ones had been overpaid.

Calls to the five doctors from the Houston Chronicle were not
immediately returned.

Last year, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission established
stricter guidelines regarding the prescribing of psychiatric drugs for
poor Texas children. Since then, the state has seen a dramatic
reduction in multiple prescriptions. See: http://www.ahrp.org/infomail/04/11/13.php

A snapshot analysis of the data taken last year shows that the number
of foster care children prescribed five or more psychiatric medications
fell by 31 percent five months after the stricter regulations. There
are about 1.9 million poor Texas children on Medicaid.

terri.langford@chron.com

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