Medicaid and the Incarceration of Schizophrenia Patients


State Medicaid policies for antipsychotic drugs impact the rates of incarceration of people who suffer schizophrenia, according to a new study in The American Journal of Managed Care.

Researchers examined national survey data from 16,844 prison inmates, state Medicaid data and usage rates of atypical antipsychotics, a class of drug that often requires prior authorization.

When prior authorization is required, physicians typically have to prove that they've chosen the most cost-effective treatment plan for their patient.

“Prior authorization requirements for atypical antipsychotics are associated with a 22 percent increase in the likelihood of imprisonment compared with the likelihood in a state without such a requirement,” researchers wrote.

In particular, the study found that in states where prior authorization is required, individuals with schizophrenia were more likely to be incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses.

“As the total costs in the United States that are associated with severe psychiatric disorders in jails are very high, new policies on how to treat incarcerated individuals with schizophrenia, particularly nonviolent offenders, are warranted,” researchers wrote.

Read the full study HERE.

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