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  1. Bill to Change Lives of Children with Autism Mo...

    April 9, 2015- "Bill to Change Lives of Children with Autism Moves Forward"- In Colorado, the states cap the number of children who qualify for Medicaid services for autism treatment at 75. Furthermore, they are only eligible for assistance until they are six years old. Today, more than 300 children are on the waiting list, but a new bill that passed the Senate recently would lift the cap on the number of children who qualify for services. It would also raise the age limit to age eight and guarantee children at year three years of services.  

    • Apr 13 2015 01:33 PM
    • by brian
  2. Minnesota Receives Federal Approval for New Ear...

    April 5, 2015- "Minnesota Receives Federal Approval for New Early-Intervention Autism Benefit"-  New legislation in Minnesota means more opportunities for families to receive autism treatment. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently approved a new early intervention benefit that will begin in the summer of 2015. Under the new benefit, covered services will be designed to improve social interaction, communication and behavioral regulation skills at a critical time in development and reduce the need for institutional placement and intensive interventions over time. In the first year, the benefit will serve an estimated 325 individuals with autism and related conditions from birth to age 21. The number served is expected to grow to be about 1,000 per year as provider capacity is developed.

    • Apr 08 2015 10:24 AM
    • by brian
  3. Providers: Miss. Needs More Autism Professionals

    April 3, 2015- "Providers: Miss. Needs More Autism Professionals"- Mississippi recently passed legislation for autism insurance coverage for ABA treatments effective July 1. However, the law mandates that the therapy can only be provided by licensed ABA professionals, of which there are few. Currently, a lot of recruitment is done out of state, but the University of Southern Mississippi plans this fall to offer a master’s level ABA curriculum. The legislation also created a 5-member state autism board which will oversee the issuing of state licenses for ABA therapists.

    • Apr 07 2015 10:23 AM
    • by brian
  4. Legislature Should Increase Funding for Autism...

    March 31, 2015- "Legislature Should Increase Funding for Autism Services"- Members of a Medicaid State Plan Autism Advisory Group in Montana authored this article to address the future of Montana’s Medicaid Children’s Autism Program. According to the article, there are currently only 55 placements allowed statewide. A new proposal for 2017 would expand the services statewide with a request of $12.3 million in funds. The proposal has moved forward in two legislative committees, but has been amended to only include the appropriation of $4 million in funds, an amount viewed as insignificant to provide treatment to all those in need.

    • Apr 02 2015 10:38 AM
    • by brian
  5. McAuliffe Signs Autism Legislation

    March 30, 2015- "McAuliffe Signs Autism Legislation"- House Bill 1940 extends the requirement that health insurance providers cover treatments for child with autism. Under the new law, the age limit will rise from six to ten years old. While this is a big step for the autism community in Virginia, advocates vow to return to the General Assembly next year to attempt to repeal the age restriction altogether.  

    • Apr 01 2015 08:59 AM
    • by brian
  6. Georgia House and Senate Announce Deal on Autis...

    March 27, 2015- "Georgia House and Senate Announce Deal on Autism Bill"- The Georgia House and Senate recently announced a compromise on a bill designed to mandate insurance coverage for autism treatment. Legislators announced that SB1, which requires health insurers to cover autism treatments for children up to age 6, will be combined with House Bill 429, a measure dealing with end-of-life insurance coverage for terminal patients. Under the deal, autism insurance would be capped at $30,000 a year, rather than the initially proposed $35,000. Additionally, a vote is planned in 2016 for a .2 percent general sales tax increase which, if approved, would increase eligibility for autism treatments to age 18.

    • Apr 01 2015 12:30 PM
    • by brian
  7. Autism Insurance Bill Expected to be Signed Thu...

    March 26, 2015- "Autism Insurance Bill Expected to be Signed Thursday"- In the state of Mississippi, House Bill 885 is expected to be signed by Gov. Phil Bryant on Thursday, which would cover up to 25 hours of ABA therapy for children up to age 8. Currently, ABA is covered by Medicaid. Once signed, the bill will go into effect July 1 of this year.  

    • Mar 30 2015 09:17 AM
    • by brian
  8. House Committee Chair Says No Vote on Autism Bill

    March 25, 2015- "House Committee Chair Says No Vote on Autism Bill"- Rep. Rich Smith, chairman of the House Insurance Committee in Georgia, recently said that Georgia will not join the soon to be 40 other states that require insurance coverage for autism during this legislative session. An autism insurance reform bill, which currently sits in the House after passing through the Senate in January. Smith believes the bill doesn’t do enough to treat individuals on the spectrum and that a large fraction of children on the spectrum would be unaffected by the legislation.

    • Mar 27 2015 09:17 AM
    • by brian
  9. Bill to Cover more Autism Treatment Expenses Un...

    March 26, 2015- "Bill to Cover more Autism Treatment Expenses Under Health Insurance Heads to Governor's Desk"- Currently, health insurance in Colorado covers autism treatment, but there are monetary caps on mental health relate services that insurance companies will cover.  A new bill would repeal a provision in the state law that states ASD is not a mental illness for the purposes of health coverage, and clarifies that coverage must include health care benefits for ASD that are no less restrictive than benefits available for physical health. The bill also removes any caps for medically necessary services provided currently under a health plan for assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of ASD. The bill is now heading to Governor Hickenlooper’s desk for final approval.

    • Mar 27 2015 09:04 AM
    • by brian
  10. R.I. Bill Would Mandate Police Training on Ways...

    March 22, 2015- "R.I. Bill Would Mandate Police Training on Ways to Deal with People with Developmental Disabilities"-  Parents of a 24-year-old with severe autism are urging lawmakers in the state of Rhode Island to mandate training for police interacting with individuals who have developmental disabilities or mental illnesses. Their son, André Beaudoin, had a confrontation with police last year that led to him being handcuffed and taken to the hospital. According to this article, nationwide data collected from the Treatment Advocacy Center and National Sheriff’s Association estimated that at least half of people shot and killed in the United States by police each year have mental-health problems.

    • Mar 24 2015 02:43 PM
    • by brian
  11. ABLE Accounts get Green Light in First State

    March 19, 2015- "ABLE Accounts get Green Light in First State"- Virginia has become the first state to pass ABLE legislation three month after President Obama signed the ABLE Act into law. Additionally, Utah and West Virginia have sent ABLE bills to their governors. Despite the legislation’s passage, state governments and the financial industry are likely to need time to set up the new offerings before they are available to consumers and some states are further along than others in this regard. One expert believes it is likely that individuals with have to wait until at least 2016 or 2017 before they can being opening ABLE accounts. Read about the ABLE Act and how it can help your children save money without fear of losing government benefits in our recently published article.

    • Mar 20 2015 09:06 AM
    • by brian
  12. Autism Insurance Bill Goes to Governor

    March 17, 2015- "Autism Insurance Bill Goes to Governor"- The state of Mississippi must now only wait for its governor’s signature for insurance coverage of ABA therapy. The bill provides coverage to children between the ages of 2 to 8, but ongoing treatments can continue after that age cap if deemed medically necessary.  According to proponents of the bill, the average policy holder will only see an estimated 32-cent increase as a result of the legislation.

    • Mar 19 2015 09:46 AM
    • by brian
  13. Program Would Offer Job Training to 100 Young A...

    March 12, 2015- "Program Would Offer Job Training to 100 Young Adults with Autism"- A new bill in Connecticut addresses the high unemployment rate of adults with autism and the difficulties they may encounter with living independently. Before the program can even be implemented, professionals would need to be trained in order to teach vocational skills to individuals with autism.  The bill comes in response to a study by the legislature’s program review and investigations committee which confirmed that transitional services, programs that attempt to prepare teenagers and young adults with autism for an independent life, are lacking in many respects in the state.

    • Mar 16 2015 01:12 PM
    • by brian
  14. ABLE Legislation Gains Momentum, Bills Filed in...

    March 9, 2015- "ABLE Legislation Gains Momentum, Bills Filed in 28 States"- Last December, President Obama signed the ABLE Act into law allowing individuals with disabilities to open savings accounts and amass as much as $100,000 without fear of losing government benefits. This article is half a call to action to get ABLE accounts opened in individual states and half an update on that process. So far, more than half of the nation has introduced bills for the ABLE Act and Massachusetts, Louisiana, and Minnesota have already passed a version of the law.

    • Mar 10 2015 09:18 AM
    • by brian
  15. Autism-Vaccine Case Rejected by U.S. Supreme Court

    March 4, 2015- "Autism-Vaccine Case Rejected by U.S. Supreme Court"- Chandra D. Price tried to seek compensation from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program in 2008, alleging that her son, Christopher T. Wynn, developed autism caused by vaccines. Recently, the United State Supreme Court denied a request to hear her case.  Price’s claim was dismissed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, citing that under the Vaccine Act, claims for injury stemming from the vaccines administered must be filed with 36 months from the onset of the symptoms experienced by the child. Price’s son was diagnosed with autism in 1994. Read more about the government in vaccines in our recently published article.

    • Mar 05 2015 10:52 AM
    • by brian
  16. Obama Task Forces Urges Improved Police Interac...

    March 3, 2015- "Obama Task Forces Urges Improved Police Interactions"- In a recently issued report, the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing issued wide-ranging recommendations aimed at improving relations between the nation’s 18,000 law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. The task force specified that officers should only use “physical control equipment and techniques” as a last resort when interacting with people who have disabilities and other vulnerable populations including children and the elderly.

    • Mar 04 2015 11:10 AM
    • by brian
  17. Autism Leaders Says State Funding May Fall Short

    March 2, 2015- "Autism Leaders Says State Funding May Fall Short"- To comply with a recent federal rule that requires states to cover autism therapy for children enrolled in the low-income health insurance program, the new South Carolina Medicaid director told lawmakers he needed $30 million.  Unfortunately, the governor’s executive budget, which was released in January, will leave only $16 million to comply with the new regulations. Fewer than 700 children enrolled in a special Medicaid waiver program currently receive autism services through the department. More than 1,000 children are sitting on a waiting list for these services.

    • Mar 03 2015 09:45 AM
    • by brian
  18. Senate Panel Backs Extension of Autism Insuranc...

    February 23, 2015- "Senate Panel Backs Extension of Autism Insurance Mandate"- Members of the powerful Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Monday, unanimously backed a bill that could help 5,000 Virginia children receive health insurance coverage for ASD treatments. The bill would expand coverage for children ages 2 to 10 and has passed the House at a vote of 63-35. According to the article, this expansion is much needed due to the fact that the average age of diagnosis in Virginia is 6 to 7 years old.

    • Feb 25 2015 10:45 AM
    • by brian
  19. Photos Shine Light on Need for Medical Waivers

    February 23, 2015- "Photos Shine Light on Need for Medical Waivers"- In Georgia, there are 98,000 people with developmental disabilities and 7,400 on a waiting list for a waiver. Despite this, last year the state legislature approved money for only 400 new waivers. This year, the Georgia Counsel for Developmental Disabilites will ask for funding to support 1,000 waivers and an increase in funds for supported employment for the 1,300 young adults aging out of high school protections this spring. To help spread awareness and gain support, advocates launched the "Real Stories, Real People" online photo essay site about individuals living with developmental disabilities. Beate Sass, a photographer and launcher of the site, plans to create a traveling exhibit and publication to be given to lawmakers in hopes it will inspire them to grant the much needed funding.

    • Feb 24 2015 11:58 AM
    • by brian
  20. Lawmakers Look to Rein in Alternative Diplomas

    February 18, 2015- "Lawmakers Look to Rein in Alternative Diplomas"-  A new bill in Congress would help to ensure that parents of students with disabilities are provided more information before their child is taken off track for a regular diploma. The bill would mandate that states establish clear guidelines outlining which students with disabilities qualify for testing based on alternate academic standards. Parents would also be required to give informed consent before their child could take less rigorous exams and certify that they understand the alternate assessments may preclude their child from receiving a regular diploma.

    • Feb 18 2015 02:23 PM
    • by brian
  21. Senate Passes Autism Bill

    February 13, 2015- "Senate Passes Autism Bill"- The South Dakota Senate passed SB 190 last week, which would require all health insurance plans in the state except those sold on the Affordable Care Act to cover ABA therapy. The bill would require insurers to cover up to $36,000 of ABA therapy for children under 6 years old. Although the bill passed through the Senate by a unanimous vote, the House of Representatives has yet to schedule a hearing for the bill.

    • Feb 16 2015 02:43 PM
    • by brian
  22. Autism Insurance Bill Passes Senate Floor

    February 10, 2015- "Autism Insurance Bill Passes Senate Floor"- Senate Bill 2581, legislation extending autism insurance coverage to children passed the Senate floor on Thursday at a vote of 29-6. It requires the coverage of ABA treatment ages 2 to 8 and regulates the practice of ABA therapy to require providers to obtain state licenses. In January, the Mississippi House unanimously passed similar legislation and now both bills will go to the opposite chambers for consideration.

    • Feb 12 2015 10:06 AM
    • by brian
  23. Autism Bill Debated in Pierre Again this Year

    February 9, 2015- "Autism Bill Debated in Pierre Again this Year"- A new insurance reform bill has been brought before legislators in the state of South Dakota. Last year’s bill led to the hiring of a group to conduct a study on the impact of autism insurance in the state. This year, the bill requires coverage of ABA therapy up to $36.000 and the amount insurance companies have to pay decreases when kids get older. Advocates are fighting for a higher cap and for access to children who live in rural areas to be mentioned in the bill.

    • Feb 11 2015 10:58 AM
    • by brian
  24. Autism Health Coverage Gains Traction

    February 8, 2015- "Autism Health Coverage Gains Traction"- Hawaii is one of twelve states that currently fails to require coverage for autism treatments, but advocates and legislators are working to change that. A new bill would require the coverage for autism diagnosis and treatment until age 11 and a total maximum benefit of about $220,000. Previous attempts to pass this legislation have failed, but a new auditor’s report estimates the total cost to the Hawaii medical insurance industry at approximately $20 million, which is a revised estimate from $1 billion.

    • Feb 10 2015 10:25 AM
    • by brian
  25. Ohio 2016-2017 Budget Proposal Affecting DD Ser...

    February 8, 2015- "Ohio 2016-2017 Budget Proposal Affecting DD Services"- Governor Kasich’s Blueprint for a New Ohio, which can be read here, proposes to increase funding to assist Ohioan’s with developmental disabilities who want to live and work in the community. The Executive Budget will invest $316 million over two years in the DD system to increase home and community based services, create new options for individuals who want to leave institutions, and support community employment for anyone who wants to work.  

    • Feb 09 2015 10:17 AM
    • by brian