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Improving Psychotropic Medication Use Among Children in Foster Care

July 2019
Full report

Amerigroup Georgia works collaboratively with providers to reduce psychotropic medication prescriptions for children in foster care. From 2014 through 2017, the plan lowered the number of prescriptions filled per 1,000 children by 3 percent for all psychotropic medications and by 8 percent for antipsychotics.

Psychotropic medications can be an important treatment option for children with serious emotional disturbance, but overuse of these drugs in children can be dangerous. Concerns about inappropriate use of psychotropic drugs among children, especially children in foster care, have spurred federal and state efforts to ensure more appropriate delivery of care and services.

Medicaid managed care organizations are key partners to states and care providers in developing and implementing solutions. The Amerigroup Georgia health plan designed and operates a program to change prescribing patterns — engaging providers through data sharing, training, and consultation. The program targets potentially inappropriate prescribing or usage and intervenes to improve decision-making and care delivery.


  • Overview of psychotropic medications
  • Overprescribing among children enrolled in Medicaid
  • Amerigroup Georgia’s psychotropic medication management program
  • Program results

Related Public Policy Research

Enhancing a System of Care for Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults in Foster Care
November 2020
Medicaid MCOs offer states a whole person approach for children in foster care that emphasizes safety, permanency, and stability and improves the overall system of care.
Whole Person Care Improves Quality and Outcomes in Medicaid
March 2020
Data show that individuals had more outpatient visits and saw improvements in medication management following integration of MH/SUD and physical health through Medicaid MCOs.
Medicaid Managed Care Delivers Value and Efficiency to States
June 2017
Findings from the literature demonstrate that, compared to FFS, Medicaid managed care improves quality and individuals’ experience, enhances access to care, and helps states manage costs.