BLUE CROSS TO DROP FUNDING FOR EARLY INTENSIVE BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTION

This recent article from the Pioneer Press gives you a sense of what could be happening and how important it is to contact your own legislator.

"Blues rein in autism care coverage. Insurer plans to begin dropping costly intensive therapy; advocates fear state program at risk, too"By Christopher Snowbeck, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.McClatchy-Tribune Information ServicesDec. 20--Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota will begin dropping coverage in most cases for a costlytherapy for autistic children as early as Jan. 1 -- a change that has patient advocates worried about losingcoverage through a key state program, too.The Eagan-based health insurer said Monday that the coverage change will be phased in over next year andaffect about 200 children who have been receiving a treatment known as early intensive behavioralintervention. The treatment cost averages about $80,000 per year.Autism is one of four developmental disabilities grouped under the heading of Autism Spectrum Disorders,which can cause significant social, communication and behavioral changes. The federal government estimatesthat an average of one in 110 children in the United States have one of the disorders.Blue Cross is changing its coverage policy to match that of other health plans as well as the stateDepartment of Human Services, said Pam Lux, a spokeswoman for the insurer.That's bad news, patient advocates said, because Blue Cross has been one of the few health plans to providecoverage of the intensive therapy, which in some cases involves 40 hours per week of treatment.But the insurer's reference to the Department of Human Services also is concerning, advocates said, becausethe state has been a key source of coverage for families that don't have Blue Cross coverage."We're concerned that this is a harbinger of something on the horizon -- that the state is going to say: 'This is not a covered service,' " said Amy Esler, a psychologist at the autism spectrum disorders clinic at the University of Minnesota.But Patrice Vick, a spokeswoman with the Department of Human Services, said Monday: "We're not makingany changes in our coverage of autism services."The state does not offer blanket coverage for the therapy, advocates said, but patients get access to theservices as part of what the state calls "skills training."The state's public health insurance programs provide access to the intensive behavioral therapy for about 300to 500 children, estimated Amy Dawson, an attorney with the Autism Advocacy and Law Center inMinneapolis.

EVENT PURPOSE:
The purpose of this event is to learn how anyone can contribute to the needed advocacy efforts during this legislative session. From 9:00-10:30am there will be presenters detailing what the issues are, how to identify your legislators, what to talk with them about and how we can work together to secure the necessary funding for services related to children with autism. From 10:30-12:00 we will assist you in meeting with your legislators. Detailed below are two links to use to identify who your legislators are based on your home address. If possible, please contact your legislators in advance to schedule a meeting with them on 02/28/12 directly following our event.http://www.autismvotes.org/c.frKNI3PCImE/b.3932687/k.F652/Find_My_Legislators/siteapps/advocacy/search.aspxhttp://www.gis.leg.mn/OpenLayers/districts/

Your action is needed to secure continued coverage for Early Intensive Behavior Intervention (EIBI). Throughout the 2012 Legislative Session we need to rally and advocate together to prevent cuts in coverage and to secure coverage for the treatment that children with autism deserve. This event is open to all concerned individuals including parents, friends, providers, staff and physicians. We have invited a number of legislators to attend as well.

LOCATION:
Minnesota Judicial Center
25 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther king Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155

For directions and parking information from the Minnesota Judicial Center's website: http://www.mncourts.gov/?page=CourtHouseProfile&ID=40090

Most of the public ramps have metered parking available so bringing quarters is recommended.

Please rsvp your attendance to Sheri Radoux at sheri182002@yahoo.com or to Kristy Oldham at koldham@lovaas.com.
 


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