CMS Efforts to Ensure Children Receive Developmental and Behavioral Screening

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) have several ongoing efforts to support and ensure developmental screening of young children.

Child Core Set Measure: Developmental Screening in the First Three Years of Life
Included in the CMS core set of children’s health care quality measures (Child Core Set) is Developmental Screening in the First Three Years of Life. This measure can be used to track how Medicaid and CHIP programs are performing in evaluating the growth and development of very young children. To help states collect and report data on this measure, CMS hosted a webinar in June 2013: Developmental Screening in the First Three Years of Life: Understanding How to Collect and Use the Child Core Set Measure.

State Reporting on the Developmental Screening Measure
Over the past three years there has been progress in state reporting on the Developmental Screening in the First Three Years of Life measure. The number of state Medicaid programs reporting according to the measure’s specifications increased from two states in Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2010 to 11 states in FFY 2012. Twelve states reported in FFY 2013, with seven states reporting the measure for both their Medicaid and CHIP populations. Six additional states indicated that they plan to report the measure in future years. To support states in collecting and reporting this measure, CMS provides technical assistance that can be requested via an email to

Developmental Screening in the CHIPRA Quality Demonstration Grants
In 2010, CMS launched its Children’s Quality Demonstration Grant Program with 10 grantees across 18 states. As part of its grant program, Pennsylvania is working with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to improve the quality of care for children with developmental and behavioral needs in its Medicaid/CHIP programs and to leverage health information technology to maximize early identification of children with developmental and behavioral health concerns. Standardized screening tools were built into the electronic health record system and the system alerts provider staff to age appropriate screens at the time of a patient’s check-in.

The EPSDT Resource Compendium developed by the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) with support from CMS includes state-specific efforts on developmental and behavioral screenings. NASHP’s website also includes a resource center for its Assuring Child Development (ABCD) III initiative, focused on developmental screening. A number of states participating in this initiative have collected and reported on the Child Core measure, Developmental Screening in the First Three Years of Life, described above.

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