Title

Insurance barriers for childhood survivors of pediatric brain tumors: The case for neurocognitive evaluations

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

5-1-2006

Journal

Pediatric Neurosurgery

Volume

42

Issue

4

DOI

10.1159/000092358

Keywords

Brain tumor, late effects; Cognitive evaluation

Abstract

Objective: The purpose of the present study was to provide empirical evidence of system-based barriers to psychological services for pediatric brain tumor patients when they are medically indicated. Method: Insurance claims data covering 263,866 insured lives during the 1996 fiscal year were pooled from a cross-sectional national sample of adults and their families insured by private insurance companies or self-insured firms. Based on inclusion criteria, records for 209 pediatric brain tumor patients aged 18 and under were extracted and analyzed. Claims data including total amount of payments made on behalf of a member, total length of hospital stays, and total number of unique admissions were recorded for all patients, and current procedural terminology (CPT) codes were analyzed to determine frequency of payment for routinely billed psychological procedures. Results were then compared to the frequency of payment for routinely billed psychological procedures for children with other medical conditions. Results: Results indicate that two of the CPT codes commonly associated with neurocognitive evaluations were reimbursed by these third-party payers for pediatric brain tumor patients during the 1996 fiscal year. Additionally, seven of the CPT codes commonly associated with psychological therapy were also reimbursed. Conclusions: The present findings provide empirical evidence of system-based obstacles (i.e., lack of third-party reimbursement) for medically indicated psychological services in pediatric brain tumor patients. Copyright © 2006 S. Karger AG.

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