Robert Carmon had a rough start to life. Shortly after birth he developed asthma, a chronic disease that causes inflammation in the lungs and difficulty breathing. His attacks were so severe as an infant that his parents rushed him to the emergency room practically every week. They were terrified he might die. Today, at age 7, Robert’s asthma has stabilized.
The number of Medicaid-insured children treated in Connecticut emergency rooms for behavioral health crises rose 20 percent between 2014 and 2016, mirroring a national trend – despite efforts to provide non-ER treatments. In 2014, Connecticut ERs recorded 12,100 Medicaid-insured youth visits compared to 14,448 in 2016, according to a study of Medicaid-eligible patients ages 18 and younger commissioned by the Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut (CHDI). Most of the children who go to emergency rooms with behavioral health issues go to one of five hospitals, according to data collected by consultant Beacon Health Options, which manages behavioral health care for the state’s Medicaid population. Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford saw the most behavioral health-related ER visits, with 3,962 visits by Medicaid-insured youth in 2016. Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital had a combined total of 2,263 visits, followed by St.
Most children with autism are well past their fourth birthday by the time they’re diagnosed with the condition, according to new government data. Their parents and teachers may have raised red flags earlier, but it takes months or years to confirm suspicions with a formal diagnosis. And therapy rarely starts without one. “The school wouldn’t do anything for us until we had a diagnosis,” said Kimberly Vincent, of Wallingford, whose daughter Rebekah was diagnosed at age 6. That’s why researchers are trying to come up with new strategies for diagnosing autism spectrum disorders as early as possible. Last month’s release of new government data showing autism spectrum disorders now affect one in 68 kids provided an extra push and sense of urgency, several experts said.