Office of Epidemiology and Research, Division of Research

Advancing Applied MCH Research

(SDAS) Medical service utilization by Medicaid-eligible children with autism in Georgia: An analysis of one year of claims and provider data

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Project Number: R40MC17170
Grantee: Georgia State University Research Fdn., Inc.
Project Date: 02/1/2010
Principal Investigator: Daniel Crimmins

Final Report

(SDAS) Medical service utilization by Medicaid-eligible children with autism in Georgia: An analysis of one year of claims and provider data Final Report (PDF) Exit Disclaimer


  • Toddlerhood (13-35 months)
  • Early Childhood (3-5 years)
  • Middle Childhood (6-11 years)
  • Adolescence (12-18 years)
  • Young Adulthood (19-25 years)


Although there are an increasing number of children with autism being diagnosed and receiving services in the United States, relatively little is known about the extent and types of services provided using a large sample of children. It is clear that some subpopulations of children with autism have greater difficulty accessing care. This study will study access to care and differences in utilization for children with autism living in rural versus urban areas, which may be due to differences in provider supply and/or the distances families have to travel to obtain services. We are proposing to examine the medical service utilization patterns of children diagnosed with autism living in urban and rural areas of Georgia using Medicaid fee-forservice data from calendar year 2005. The data source represents a complete annual census of more than 1.2 million children who were eligible for public insurance in Georgia in that year, over 35% of children in the state. Of these children, more than 5,600 were identified with autism as a diagnosis. The analysis will examine service pattern and provider-type differences in rural and non-rural areas, as well as the types and costs of services received. This proposal represents one of the first studies to use a large administrative dataset to study rural and urban differences in the utilization of health services in a publicly-insured population of children in the United States. This previously untapped data source contains a wealth of information allowing us to examine the service utilization patterns experienced by children in geographically-diverse settings. As a state with a diverse mix of rural and urban residents, Georgia represents an ideal place to study the important needs of geographically underserved populations. Because this project examines community and delivery system factors that may create geographic disparities in access, findings may suggest policy interventions to decrease barriers and improve the systems of care for children with special health care needs including autism.




Autism, Special Health Care Needs, Developmental Disabilities, Insurance Coverage, Rural, Access to Health Care, Health Care Utilization

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