The number of children who had to wait for more than 30 days for a CLIP bed jumped to 21 which was a significant increase from the prior three quarters which were unusually low. However, the average trend over the past 4 quarters (FQ 2009/4-2010/3) shows a gradual reduction in the number of children waiting beyond 30 days for a CLIP bed (averaging 11, as compared to 18.25 in the previous 4 quarters [FQs 2008/4-2009/3]).
· In the three quarters prior to the current reporting quarter, the rate of children ages 6-12 waiting for more than 30 days for a CLIP admission had considerably improved, averaging 39%. Of the 6 admissions for children ages 6-12 during FQ 2010/3, 5 (83%) waited for more than 30 days, returning to rates generally seen during most of FYs 2007-09, where the percentages of children waiting more than 30 days varied from 75% to 100%.
· The decreases in wait times in quarters prior to the current reporting quarter could have been due to a slightly shorter average length of stay; a slight increase in the number of discharges noted in the most recent 3 of 4 quarters; and a decrease in voluntary referrals (partially due to a net loss of 20 acute hospital beds in the past year). However, though these decreases are notable, they are not well understood. Time will tell if this is a short-term variance or trend.
· At this point, DSHS does not have adequate information to confidently predict whether this trend of shorter wait times will resume, for the following reasons:
- There has been an upturn in the numbers of referrals and admissions in FQs 2010/2-3.
- Overall wait times are expected to have variations over time. Any changes are minor and in very early stages. Given the small number of CLIP beds, the wait list is very sensitive to small fluctuations to any of the multiple contributing factors.
- It is also unclear whether the downturn in the economy and resulting impact on state and local programs will result in any long term impact on demand for CLIP services.