[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]
Warner Joins Chorus of Protest Over ABA Cuts for Military Kids
July 17, 2013
WASHINGTON, DC (July 17, 2013) — U.S. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia has added his voice to the protest over changes proposed by TRICARE to its coverage for applied behavior analysis (ABA) for military kids, issuing a letter to the military’s health insurer to explain changes scheduled to take effect July 25. Military families in Virginia Beach, meanwhile, are planning a rally against the changes this Sunday.
“After hearing from many of my constituents, I believe that this decision will delay and interrupt direct services for thousands of military children, making it harder for families to care for their children,” Warner wrote in a July 17 letter to TRICARE Director Dr. Jonathan Woodson. “This new policy has the potential to put thousands of military children with development disabilities at risk of losing critical behavioral treatment and care.”
Under the proposed policy changes, parents would have to arrange standardized testing every 6 months for their children in order to continue receiving care, and demonstrate “measurable progress.” Continued care after two years of therapy and after age 16 would require a waiver, and new discharge criteria would be put in place.
In addition to Warner, Senators Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA) have asked for answers from TRICARE.
Meanwhile, military families from across the nation continue to raise their voices in the media over the changes and the potentially harmful effects on their children with autism. An estimated 23,000 military dependents have autism.
In Virginia Beach, families are planning a demonstration against TRICARE this Sunday (July 21) at 1535 Amberly Forest Road in Virginia Beach. Similar reports have come out of Elgin Air Force Base in Pensacola, Fl., San Diego, Kingsland, GA, and Colorado Springs.
Military families plan demonstration against Tricare’s autism therapy coverage
POSTED 7:19 PM, JULY 16, 2013, BY JESSICA LARCHE, UPDATED AT 11:08AM, JULY 17, 2013
Virginia Beach, Va. – Military families with autistic children are gearing up for a demonstration to show their frustration with Tricare’s changes to therapy for autism and the insurance group’s lack of communication about the changes.
Beginning July 25, 2013, Tricare will make it a lot tougher for military families with autistic children to qualify for Applied Behavior Analysis therapy, or ABA. Families and providers have planned a demonstration this Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 1535 Amberly Forest Road in Virginia Beach.
Below is a statement from Tricare NewsChannel 3 has been waiting days to receive:
The Department of Defense is greatly expanding applied behavior analysis (ABA) services with introduction of the ABA Pilot for non-active duty family members starting July 25. These changes are being made to provide non active duty family members, including retirees, with access to additional areas of ABA reinforcement. There is no change in the services available to active duty family members.
Active Duty Family members Active duty family members (ADFMs) and Non Active Duty Family Members, such as retirees, continue to be eligible to receive medical and behavioral health services such treatment by a physician, psychological services and testing; occupational and physical therapy and other medical treatments under the TRICARE basic medical program. In addition, Active Duty Family Members will continue to receive ABA reinforcement under the Extended Care Health Option (ECHO) Autism Services Demonstration from supervised board certified assistant behavior analysts (BCaBA) and paraprofessional ABA tutors. The change in what is being provided is the addition of the ABA reinforcement through a separate pilot program for those TRICARE beneficiaries who are not active duty. Prior to this pilot, the ABA reinforcement has not been available for non-active duty family members.
The treatment plans for all beneficiaries who have been receiving treatment and support for an Autism diagnosis has always included an assessment and evaluation of progress. The expectations for these will continue through a more standardized method. It is typical in any type of intervention to evaluate both medical necessity and progress using an established test. Beneficiaries who are currently receiving ABA under the TRICARE Basic Program or the Autism Demonstration may continue to receive those services until their current authorization expires. Upon expiration, reauthorization will be based on a new referral, assessment/testing, medical necessity review, and documentation requirements of the revised TRICARE Basic Program ABA coverage policy.
The development of a plan of care for an individual and the evaluation of their progress, is based on many factors. Testing alone does not and will not be the sole basis for the TRICARE authorization for ABA. Our goal is to support our beneficiaries. Part of this support is assuring that the interventions they are receiving are assisting and supporting them in their individual progress.
ABA coverage is not limited to two years – Each ABA referral and prior authorization for ABA will be for one year. A new referral is needed for each period of authorized care. Additional ABA beyond two years requires approval by the regional medical director. ABA benefits are available to children age 18 months and older, and ABA coverage does NOT stop at age 16. Upon reaching age 17, additional authorization is accomplished through a waiver process.
NewsChannel 3 also obtained the following statements from local representatives.
Congressman Randy Forbes
‘I was pleased to support this year’s House-passed defense policy bill which seeks to expand coverage for treatments for families with members affected by autism. I look forwarding to continuing to work on this issue with our military families to ensure they have the support and care necessary to continue serving our nation.’
Senator Tim Kaine
Medical treatment and care for service members and their families is critically important to me. I recently met with Virginia Active Duty members and their families who participate in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) and receive services at National Children`s Hospital and other leading medical facilities across the state. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I will continue to follow up on these issues to ensure we provide the best coverage we can for military families and their children.
Congressman Rob Wittman
‘I am firmly committed to ensuring the best medical care for our military and their families. In June, I voted to continue the authorization of Applied Behavior Analysis coverage through TRICARE because I strongly believe military families should have access to this critical coverage. I understand how important it is to our military families and am concerned about the potential impacts of the new TRICARE requirement. Families in the First District have rightly contacted me with their concerns. The House Armed Services Committee continues to engage with the Department of Defense regarding this issue and as a member of this committee, I will follow this issue closely and will continue efforts to support the well-being of our military families.’
Senator Mark Warner
Over the past 2-3 weeks, we`ve been hearing from some Virginia military families about this. Senator Warner supported expanded autism treatment options as part of the 2013 defense bill, because we know military families face unique stresses and challenges due to frequent deployments and relocations.
We`re asking the Pentagon to explain why they now have chosen to limit these important services to military families with special needs children.
There must be a better way to deal with this instead of interrupting services for autistic kids.
The Autism Community Is Not The Autistic 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 work. In 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.