Impact of Managed Care on Publicly Insured Children with Special Health Care Needs

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this review was to evaluate the impact of managed care on publicly insured children with special health care needs (CSHCN).

METHODS: We conducted a review of the extant literature. Using a formal computerized search, with search terms reflecting 7 specific outcome categories, we summarized study findings and study quality.

RESULTS: We identified 13 peer-reviewed articles that evaluated the impact of Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance program (SCHIP) Managed Care (MSMC) on health services delivery to populations of CSHCN, with all studies observational in design. Considered in total, the available scientific evidence is varied. Findings concerning care access demonstrate a positive effect of MSMC; findings concerning care utilization were mixed. Little information was identified concerning health care quality, satisfaction, costs, or health status, whereas no study yielded evidence on family impact.

CONCLUSION: The available studies suggest that the evaluated record of MSMC for CSHCN has been mixed, with considerable heterogeneity in the definition of CSHCN, program design, and measured outcomes. These findings suggest caution should be exercised in implementing MSMC for CSHCN and that greater emphasis on health outcomes and cost evaluations is warranted. 2010 Academic Pediatric Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.