HealthDay News — Youth with justice involvement are more likely to have used an emergency department (ED) or emergency service, according to 2 studies published online in Pediatrics.

Tyler N.A. Winkelman, MD, from the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional analysis to examine ED and hospital use for adolescents (aged 12 to 17 years) with various levels of justice involvement.1 Data were included for 1375 adolescents with past-year arrest, 2450 with past-year probation or parole, 1324 with past-year juvenile detention, and 97,976 without past-year justice involvement.

The researchers found that compared with those without any justice system involvement, those with any involvement were more likely to have used the ED (38.5% to 39.5% vs 31%) or to have been hospitalized in the past 12 months (7.1% to 8.8% vs 4.8%).

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Matthew C. Aalsma, PhD, from the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study of administrative medical and criminal records of 88,647 youth aged 12 to 18 years enrolled in Medicaid in Marion County, Indiana, between Jan. 1, 2004 and Dec. 31, 2011.

The researchers found that compared with non-justice-involved youth (NJIY), the 23% of justice-involved youth (JIY) had lower use rates of well-child visits and higher use rates of emergency services. Compared with NJIY, JIY had more and longer gaps in Medicaid coverage.2

“Medicaid enrollment continuity was associated with differences in WC and emergency service use among JIY, with policy implications for improving preventive care for these vulnerable youth,” Aalsma and colleagues write.

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  1. Winkelman TNA, Genao I, Waldeman C, Wang EA. Emergency department and hospital use among adolescents with justice system involvement [published online October 2, 2017]. Pediatrics. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-1144
  2. Aalsma MC, Anderson WR, Schwartz K, et al. Preventive care use among justice-involved and non-justice-involved youth [published online October 2, 2017]. Pediatrics. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-1107