Autism Speaks | Utah Ups Medicaid Pay for ABA Providers | Dec. 6, 2012 #AutisticHistory #BanABA


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

Utah Ups Medicaid Pay for ABA Providers

December 06, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY (December 6, 2012) — The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the state’s Medicaid program will increase reimbursement rates for ABA providers serving children with autism because its initial offer was so low only two providers had agreed to participate.

After criticism, Utah plans pay hike for tutors in autism project 

By Heather May The Salt Lake Tribune 

Published December 5, 2012 9:09 am

To interest more therapists in treating children with autism in a new state pilot, Utah’s Medicaid program is planning to increase their pay.

It recently sought permission from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to boost what the reimbursement rate for tutors who will provide free applied behavior analysis therapy (ABA) 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.

The children were chosen by lottery for slots distributed throughout the state. The Utah Department of Health has already started enrolling 225 children and continues to notify other families who made the cut. 

The families must verify their child has a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder. Then, they must enroll in Medicaid. However, unlike traditional poverty-based Medicaid plans, the family’s income is not taken into account.

Once they’re fully enrolled, the families will be able to pick a provider.

The increased pay rate, along with other assurances from Medicaid, means families will have more contractors to choose from than before.

Just two providers had initially applied to work with the children. The pay rate was originally set at $21.52 an hour for the tutors, who would provide 20 hours of in-home therapy a week. ABA therapists had said the rate was too low for their experienced tutors. 

After surveying the therapists about what rate was practical, Medicaid bumped it to $28.32, based on satisfying three out of five providers who responded to the survey. As of Tuesday, seven providers had sought Medicaid contracts.

Still, as before, a tutor could make as little as $14.42 an hour depending on what providers allot for insurance and training costs.

To stay within the $15 million pilot budget, children will receive 15 hours of therapy a week, said Medicaid spokeswoman Kolbi Young. It won’t reduce the number of children served, she added.

One of the critics, Breanne Berg, with Apex Behavior Consulting, said she will now apply to be a provider even though the rates remain low.

“We feel that the health department made a good faith effort in raising the rate,” she said in an email. “We are excited to start serving some of the families who have been chosen in the lottery.”

Jeff Skibitsky, owner of Alternative Behavior Strategies, said he decided to seek the Medicaid contract even before the rates increased.

His main concern had been the low qualifications Medicaid set for tutors: age 18 with a high school diploma and 20 hours of autism training.

That makes sense in a group therapy setting where the tutors have constant supervision, he said. But not when the tutor will be working alone with the child in their home with occasional supervision.

The qualifications haven’t changed, but Skibitsky said he received assurances that Medicaid would continue to evaluate it.

“They’re listening. They’re trying to do what they should be doing,” he said.

He noted that the new Medicaid rate, which is about 70 percent of what some private insurers pay, would allow contractors to make a small profit. —

What’s next

P The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has 90 days to review Utah’s proposal to increase the pay for tutors in its autism pilot program. — 

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.

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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