Health Services Insights
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Limited funding across health and social service programs presents a challenge regarding how to best match resources to the needs of the population. There is increasing consensus that differences in individual characteristics and care needs should be reflected in variations in service costs, which has led to the development of case-mix systems. The present study sought to develop a new approach to allocate resources among children and youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) as part of a system-wide Medicaid payment reform initiative in Arkansas. To develop the system, assessment data collected using the interRAI Child and Youth Mental Health-Developmental Disability instrument was matched to paid service claims. The sample consisted of 346 children and youth with developmental disabilities in the home setting. Using automatic interactions detection, individuals were sorted into unique, clinically relevant groups (ie, based on similar resource use) and a standardized relative measure of the cost of services provided to each group was calculated. The resulting case-mix system has 8 distinct, final groups and explains 30% of the variance in per diem costs. Our analyses indicate that this case-mix classification system could provide the foundation for a future prospective payment system that is centered around stability and equitability in the allocation of limited resources within this vulnerable population.