Objective: To describe longitudinal health care utilization of Medicaid-insured children with a history of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) compared with similar children without NAS. Study design: Retrospective, longitudinal cohort study. Data were extracted from the Medicaid Analytic eXtract files for all available states and DC from 2003-2013. Subjects were followed up to 11 years. In total, 17 229 children with NAS were identified using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision code 779.5. Children without NAS, matched on demographic and health variables, served as the comparison group. Outcomes were number of claims for inpatient, outpatient, and emergency department encounters, numbers of prescription claims, and costs associated with these services. Linked claims were identified for each subject using a unique, within-state ID. Results: Children with NAS had increased claims for inpatient admissions (marginal effect [ME] 0.49; SE 0.01) and emergency department visits (ME 0.30; SE 0.04) through year 1; increased prescriptions (ME 1.45; SE 0.08, age 0) (ME 0.69; SE 0.11, age 1 year) through year 2; and increased outpatient encounters (ME 20.13; SE 0.54, age 0) (ME 3.95; SE 0.62, age 1 year) (ME 2.90; SE 1.11, age 2 years) through year 3 after adjusting for potential confounders (P <.01 for all). Beyond the third year, health care utilization was similar between those with and without NAS. Conclusions: Children with a diagnosis of NAS have greater health care utilization through the third year of life. These differences resolve by the fourth year. Our results suggest resolution of disparities may be due to shifts in developmental health management in school-age children and inability to track relevant diagnoses in a health care database.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health