CHA News

CMS Data Show Vulnerable Americans Skipped Mental Health Care During Pandemic

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released new findings that show Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program beneficiaries skipped millions of primary, preventive, and mental health care visits from March 2020 to October 2020, compared with the same period in 2019. 

The agency also reported that while some treatments have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, mental health services have been the slowest to pick up. 
  
According to the data, there has been a 34% decline in mental health services used by children under age 19, compared with the same time period in 2019, and a 22% decline in mental health services used by adults aged 19 to 64, compared with the same time period in 2019. This translates to about 14 million fewer mental health services for children and approximately 12 million fewer mental health services for adults, for a total of nearly 26 million fewer mental health services used across both groups.

Meanwhile, although preliminary reports show increased drug-related mortality due to the pandemic, substance use disorder services utilization fell by 3.6 million services (a 13% decline) when compared with the same period in 2019.