Defining Episodes of Care in Children’s Mental Health Using Administrative Data
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Criteria to define an episode of care in children's mental health services are needed. Various criteria were applied to 5 years of visit data from children 4-11 years (N = 5,206) at their first visit to 1 of 3 children's mental health agencies. A minimum of 3 visits with 180 days between episodes optimized agreement with other dates (e.g., telephone intake assessment) marking the start and end of an episode, and clinician-rated number of episodes. Grouping visits into episodes provides a clearer representation of how services are distributed over extended periods of time, facilitating research and enhancing accuracy in service planning.
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