Medicaid Kids Are Missing Crucial Health Screenings

Nearly three-fourths of kids on Medicaid who live in nine states failed to undergo all required medical, vision and hearing screenings, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General (OIG).75 percent of kids on Medicaid are missing required healthcare screenings.

After studying Medicaid children living in Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Texas, Vermont and West Virginia, the OIG determined that 2.7 million – approximately 76 percent – had not had their required Medicaid Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment tests (EPSDT).  Considered vital medical screenings for Medicaid recipients under the age of 21, these test overall health, vision and hearing.  Even when children did have some EPSDT screenings, 60 percent did not undergo at least one required test.

The OIG report suggested that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) require states to:

  • Report the number of healthcare screenings performed on children.
  • Work in partnership with other states and providers to develop effective strategies to encourage participation in screenings.
  • Educate and incentivize Medicaid recipients about the importance of these tests.
  • Identify and provide information on how to increase participation in comprehensive medical screening.

According to CMS, the agency needs “to assess the effect that the new data-collection requirements might have on states’ financial resources.”  Additionally, it must take into account “the difficulty states might have in obtaining data on services that are provided outside traditional provider settings.”

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