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  • We recently read this article about a study that found that adults with Autism are “more likely than others to suffer from depression, high blood pressure, obesity and additional health woes.” These findings prompted us to look at what NCI Adult Consumer Survey data show about adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their health and wellness.

    The information in this blog post is drawn from the 2012-13 National Core Indicators (NCI) administration of the Adult Consumer Survey (ACS) of 13,157 adults from 25 states and one sub-state entity. For the purpose of this blog post, only group differences that were significant at the p<.01 level are reported.

    Of the total 2012-13 ACS sample of 13,157 adults, 11% were reported to be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Those with ASD are significantly more likely to be male (77% of individuals with ASD were male, while 55% of those without ASD were male) and the average age of respondents with ASD was significantly lower than the average age of those without ASD (33 vs. 44)

    The article asserts that individuals with Autism have a greater likelihood of suffering from depression and being obese, and are less likely to use tobacco. The ACS asks about diagnosis with various mental illnesses, as well as BMI (Body Mass Index) and tobacco use.  

    According to the ACS, individuals with ASD are significantly less likely to report being diagnosed with a mood disorder (18% of those with ASD report being diagnosed with a mood disorder, while 23% of those without ASD report being diagnosed). However, respondents with ASD are significantly more likely to report being diagnosed with anxiety disorder and behavior challenges. Respondents with ASD are significantly less likely to report being diagnosed with psychotic disorder. The table below demonstrates these results.

     

    Mood Disorder

    Anxiety Disorder

    Behavior Challenges

    Psychotic Disorder

    ASD

    18%

    19%

    23%

    8%

    No ASD

    23%

    14%

    14%

    10%

     

    Respondents with ASD are significantly more likely to take at least one medication for mood disorders, anxiety disorders, behavior challenges and/or psychotic disorders. 69% of individuals with ASD take at least one such medication, while 52% of respondents without ASD take at least one such medication. Individuals with ASD are significantly more likely to take medications for mood disorders (despite the fact that they are less likely to be diagnosed with mood disorders) (42% of respondents with ASD take meds for mood disorders, while 36% of respondents without ASD take such meds). See the table below.

     

    Takes Medication for Mood Disorder

    Takes Medication for Anxiety Disorder

    Takes Medication for Behavior Challenges

    Takes Medication for Psychotic Disorder*

    ASD

    42%

    43%

    46%

    19%

    No ASD

    36%

    27%

    22%

    17%

    *p<.05

    According to NCI data, individuals with ASD are significantly less likely to be obese. 29% of respondents with ASD are categorized as obese, while 34% of individuals without ASD are categorized as obese.

    Individuals with ASD are significantly less likely to use tobacco products. 3% of respondents with ASD report using tobacco, while 7% of respondents without ASD use tobacco.

    The prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder demands a deeper understanding of the population diagnosed with the disorder. NCI data can offer a snapshot of that population.

  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) collaborates with states to manage, maintain and improve the quality of long term services and supports (LTSS). Most recently, CMS issued new (effective March 2014) HCBS quality requirements for HCBS settings and person centered service planning. In addition, CMS revised the HCBS Quality Assurance and Sub-Assurance which also became operative in March 2014.

    To assist states with required reporting to CMS on compliance with the New HCBS requirements and revised Assurances, NCI staff have created a crosswalk aligning both the new HCBS quality requirements regarding settings and person centered service planning and the revised HCBS HCBS Quality Assurance and Sub-Assurances with the indicators collected by the National Core Indicators surveys. The crosswalk is available here.

    The crosswalk, entitled “NCI Performance Indicators: Evidence for New HCBS Requirements and Revised HCBS Assurances” states each of the new HCBS Requirements and then lists the NCI questions that will collect data that will be useful to provide evidence for each requirement.

    We anticipate that this crosswalk can provide invaluable information to NCI states working to develop their evidence plans. Please contact us with any questions. dhiersteiner@hsri.org