Objective: To identify opportunities to improve care value for children with disabilities (CWD), we examined CWD prevalence within a commercially insured population and compared outpatient care quality and annual health plan spending levels for CWD relative to children with complex medical conditions without disabilities; children with chronic conditions that are not complex; and children without disabling, complex, or chronic conditions.
Methods: This cross-sectional study comprised 1,118,081 person-years of Blue Cross Blue Shield Massachusetts data for beneficiaries aged 1 to 19years old during 2008 to 2012. We combined the newly developed and validated Children with Disabilities Algorithm with the Pediatric Medical Complexity Algorithm to identify CWD and non-CWD subgroups. We used 14 validated or National Quality Forum-endorsed measures to assess outpatient care quality and paid claims to examine annual plan spending levels and components.
Results: CWD constituted 4.5% of all enrollees. Care quality for CWD was between 11% and 59% for 8 of 14 quality measures and >80% for the 6 remaining measures and was generally comparable to that for non-CWD subgroups. Annual plan spending among CWD was a median and mean 23% and 53% higher than that for children with complex medical conditions without disabilities, respectively; CWD mean and median values were higher than for all other groups as well.
Conclusions: CWD were prevalent in our commercially insured population. CWD experienced suboptimal levels of care, but those levels were comparable to non-CWD groups. Improving the care value for CWD involves a deeper understanding of what higher spending delivers and additional aspects of care quality.
Keywords: children with disabilities; quality; spending.
Copyright © 2018 Academic Pediatric Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.