Statement of Purpose The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) human trafficking prevention Safe Harbor Program provides services to commercially sexually exploited youth and young adults through age 24 (SEY), as well as those at risk of being sexually exploited. SEY is a form of sexual violence and of human trafficking (HT). Hospitals can be an effective intervention point for violence prevention as well as a referral base for services, including the Safe Harbor Program. Child sexual violence (CSV) is an important risk factor for SEY. While there have been ICD-10-CM diagnostic codes for CSV, codes specific to HT, including SEY, were introduced in October of 2018. This research examines how these codes might be used to better identify, describe, serve, and possibly refer hospital-treated SEY and CSV victims for services.
Method/Approach Using statewide hospital discharge data and the Safe Harbor service data as a reference, MDH examined the ICD-10-CM codes for CSV from 2016 to 2018, as well as the new HT codes from the start of FFY2019.
Results The CSV codes identified 936 patients who were Minnesota residents ages 10–24: 63 males and 873 females. Preliminary data analysis of FFY2019 identified 23 HT patients, reported from 8 of Minnesota’s 130+ hospitals. These patients included three males and 20 females, including nine Safe Harbor service eligible cases.
Conclusion Epidemiologists now have the opportunity to effectively partner with service providers, counting what they could not count before. Moreover, hospitals can directly refer hospital-treated SEY and CSV (at-risk for SEY) to resources, such as the Safe Harbor Program.
Significance This is the first study using hospital discharge data with the new human trafficking ICD-10-CM codes to address SEY, as well as providing a descriptive epidemiology of hospital-treated CSV cases describing youth and young adults at risk for SEY.
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