J Behav Health Serv 38:398-413.
Health Service and Population Research Department, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, London, UK
To investigate patterns of mental health services, psychotropic treatments, and psychiatric diagnoses received by youth diagnosed with bipolar disorder, insurance claims of 323 youth (ages 6-18 years) were examined from the 2000-2001 Thomson/Medstat-MarketScan(c) database. Longitudinal patterns are assessed 6 months prior and following a new treatment episode of bipolar disorder. Youth subgroups (i.e., continuous, intermittent, and discontinuous services), defined by persistence of claims associated with a bipolar diagnosis, are compared by demographic and clinical characteristics. Virtually all youth had high rates of mental health service use and treatment immediately following initial bipolar diagnosis, but only half continued to receive services 6 months following diagnosis. A continuous pattern of claims associated with a bipolar diagnosis was associated with using more resources, receiving initial diagnosis from a mental health professional, being in a managed care plan, and having more psychiatric diagnoses following index bipolar diagnosis. Further research should examine how continuity of claims for bipolar is related to treatment quality and clinical outcomes.
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