FAIR Health Presents at Northeast Business Group on Health Webinar

On April 27, FAIR Health President Robin Gelburd presented to the Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH) at a special webinar featuring the latest findings on the children’s mental health crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic, along with guidance from experts on finding accessible resources and help. During the webinar entitled “The Kids Are Not OK: Covid-19 and Children’s Mental Health,” Ms. Gelburd presented data related to FAIR Health’s study The Impact of COVID-19 on Pediatric Mental Health, as well as relevant telehealth findings from FAIR Health data. Ms. Gelburd’s presentation was entitled “FAIR Health Research Findings on Pediatric Mental Health.”

Ms. Gelburd presented alongside several prominent leaders in the mental health field—Dr. Shabana Khan, Assistant Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Grossman School of Medicine; Matt Kudish, Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City; John MacPhee, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of The Jed Foundation; and Dr. Neil Leibowitz, Chief Medical Officer of Talkspace.

Pediatric Mental Health
Ms. Gelburd shared data on mental health claim lines for young adults aged 13-18 from 2019 to 2020, revealing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of the nation’s youth. Notably, mental health claim lines as a percentage of all medical claim lines for young adults aged 13-18 in the Northeast increased by 94.5 percent in March 2020 and 114.5 percent in April 2020 over the same months in the previous year, while all medical claim lines dropped by 54.4 percent in March and 55.3 percent in April. A similar pattern was seen for individuals aged 19-22. In this age group, mental health claim lines as a percentage of all medical claim lines rose by 68.7 percent in March 2020 and 82.1 percent in April 2020 over the same months in the previous year, with all medical claim lines dropping by 40.7 percent in March and 38.8 percent in April.

The percentage of intentional self-harm claim lines among all medical claim lines also increased among 13- to 18-year-olds in the Northeast. In April 2020, for example, the percentage of intentional self-harm claim lines among all medical claim lines was 14.2 percent compared to 9.4 percent in April 2019. Females were much more likely to be treated for intentional self-harm than males in this age group.

Ms. Gelburd also discussed the mental health changes in children aged 6-12 during the pandemic. In 2020, the top mental health diagnosis for this age group was attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), with ADHD claim lines in the Northeast exceeding those seen nationally early in the pandemic. During the summer months and into the fall, however, ADHD claim lines dropped consistently, remaining below national levels.

Telehealth Trends
Ms. Gelburd delivered insights on telehealth trends in 2020 across the Northeast and nationally. She discussed the top telehealth procedure codes and diagnoses in the Northeast in 2020, emphasizing the pediatric population. In 2020, for example, the top mental health condition treated via telehealth for young adults aged 13-18 was generalized anxiety disorder, with approximately 31 percent of all mental health claim lines. Nationally, major depressive disorder was in first place, accounting for 28 percent of all mental health claim lines among 13- to 18-year-olds.