Three out of four children on Medicaid in nine states did not receive all required medical, vision and hearing screenings, according to a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General.
The OIG report examined the extent to which children in nine selected states—Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Texas, Vermont and West Virginia—received required Medicaid Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment screenings, a child health benefit for children younger than 21. It found that 2.7 million children, about 76 percent, missed one or more of the required EPSDT medical, vision or hearing screenings, and 41 percent of children did not receive any required medical screenings. And more than half did not receive required vision or hearing tests. Meanwhile, 60 percent of children who did receive EPSDT medical screenings lacked at least one component of a complete screening.
To ensure these children are getting the most from this benefit, the OIG report recommended that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) require states to report vision and hearing screenings; collaborate with states and providers to develop effective strategies to encourage beneficiary participation in these screenings; work with states and providers to develop education and incentives for providers to encourage complete screenings; and identify and disseminate state practices for increasing children’s participation in, and providers’ delivery of, complete medical screenings.
According to the report, CMS said it will need “to assess the effect that new data-collection requirements might have on states’ financial resources” and also consider “the difficulty states might have in obtaining data on services that are provided outside traditional provider settings.” The CMS agreed with the other three recommendations, the report said.