Autism Speaks | Salt Lake Trib: Medicaid Program Designed to Fail? | Nov. 8, 2012 #AutisticHistory #BanABA


[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]

Salt Lake Trib: Medicaid Program Designed to Fail?

November 08, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY (November 7, 2012) — The Salt Lake Tribune reported that ABA providers are fearful the state’s pilot Medicaid program to treat children with autism could fail because the pay rates and standards are so low.

The Tribune spoke with several ABA providers who said they did not plan to participate in the program because the Medicaid rate and qualifications for in-home therapists were too low. In a subsequent story, the Tribune reported that the state would consider raising the pay rate, but warned that could in turn reduce the number of children served.   

In addition to the Medicaid program, the Utah pilot includes a public/private partnership expected to serve 25 children and a public employees program expected to provide services for 50 children.

Utah Medicaid considers higher pay for autism tutors 

By Heather May The Salt Lake Tribune 

Published November 7, 2012 3:05 pm

Before they even start, tutors in a state autism pilot project may be getting a raise.

Utah’s Medicaid department is looking into increasing how much it will pay tutors who will provide free applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy to children with the social and communication disorder. Authorized by the Utah Legislature, the pilot program will cover 250 children ages 2 through 6, through June 2014.

Medicaid set the rate for the tutors, who would provide 20 hours of in-home therapy a week, at $21.52 an hour. But they could make as little as $14.42 an hour because of insurance and other training costs.

Few existing ABA therapists were interested in applying, saying the pay was too little for their experienced employees and wasn’t enough to train less-qualified applicants. The rate is also lower than other two state-funded pilots through the Public Employees’ Benefit and Insurance Program and the Autism Treatment Account. 

Supporters hope the pilot projects will show good results and lead to broader autism therapy coverage.

Medicaid sent a survey to autism therapists late Friday night after the Thursday publication of an article in The Salt Lake Tribune detailing the concerns of providers. Medicaid has asked the providers to outline specific costs associated with the tutors to justify a potential $40 an hour reimbursement rate.

The responses are due Monday and Medicaid staff will decide by the next week whether to boost the rate, according to spokeswoman Kolbi Young.

“What they’re doing is asking us for a cost analysis for the tutor position, which they’ve never asked before,” said Breanne Berg, with Apex Behavior Consulting, one of the providers through the PEHP pilot who raised concerns. “It makes me feel like they are coming to the table and asking for our input so this can be more successful.”

The Medicaid office had warned that increasing the pay would mean fewer children would be served. It is now evaluating whether it should instead reduce the number of therapy hours, Young said.

Berg agrees the hours could be reduced to 12 a week, noting that her company provides fewer hours and still gets results. “Kids can’t get that many hours anyway” with school and other therapy, she said.

Applications for the Medicaid pilot were due Oct. 31, though applications may still be arriving in the mail. Young said 392 people had applied so far. Medicaid will randomly pick children lottery-style, while maintaining geographic representation.

Young said the winners will be notified beginning next week and will have 10 business days to submit documentation verifying their child has an autism spectrum disorder. —

Applied behavior analysis

ABA • It has been used since the ’60s to help people with autism. Through positive reinforcement, children can acquire basic skills, including looking, listening and imitating, the advocacy group Autism Speaks says.

In some cases • Preschoolers who have intensive therapy can eventually participate in regular classrooms with little extra support. But some show no improvement, so it is hard to predict how much each child will benefit. —

About the pilots

Thirty-two states require health insurance companies to cover autism services. Utah’s autism community had been pushing for a similar mandate, but lawmakers during the 2012 legislative session instead passed HB272, which created the three pilot programs. Officials will report on the costs and effectiveness of the treatments by next November.

The Medicaid pilot will serve up to 250 children through June 2014.

Utah Department of Health is managing the Autism Treatment Account — $1 million from the state, $500,000 from Intermountain Healthcare and $300,000 from Zion’s Bank. It is expected to treat 25 children. 

The Public Employees’ Benefit and Insurance Program will cover up to 50 children whose parents work for state or local government.

The Autism Community Is Not The Autistic Community

* The “autism community” is not the Autistic Community. The autism community was created by non-Autistic led organizations and includes mostly parents, professionals and their friends. Most of what the world knows about autism is sourced from the non-Autistic “autism community.”


Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid. 

ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.

The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t workIn study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work. 

What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.

The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth. 

The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome. 

This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.

Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.

Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.

Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.

[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]

Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.

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