The Columbus Dispatch recently published a story on an initiative undertaken by Ohio Medicaid aimed at improving psychotropic-drug management by closely monitoring prescriptions and focusing on the safe, effective and appropriate use of psychotropic medications among children on Medicaid.

This goal is important for all Ohio children on Medicaid, and there is a special focus on children in foster care.  An article published in Gongwer Ohio (subscription required) indicates that, “The latest state figure on anti-psychotic drug use was from 2007 when about 7% of children and adults on Medicaid were prescribed at least one such medication, Ohio Medicaid Medical Director Dr. Mary Applegate said.  About 22% of foster children are on at least one antipsychotic medication at some point during their foster care, she said.”  As Crystal Ward Allen, executive director of the Public Children Services Association of Ohio, said in the Dispatch story, “Through the initiative, the state will determine which children are receiving more than two psychotropic drugs at a time, their ages and their diagnosis, the maximum dosage, dosage for children.”

Ohio’s announcement comes on the heels of a bulletin published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in which CMS offers information for states about additional opportunities and resources to address the use of psychotropic drugs in vulnerable populations, including children in foster care.