LINCOLN — The final piece has fallen into place for Nebraska Medicaid to cover an intensive but effective type of treatment for Nebraska children with autism.
Courtney Phillips, chief executive officer of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, announced Monday that the state has gotten federal approval for coverage of applied behavioral analysis and other behavioral modification services.
“This is good news,” she said. “Having access to these services will help many of the children we serve through the Medicaid program lead more fulfilling lives.”
The approval was received March 30 and is effective retroactively to Oct. 1, when the state started offering the coverage.
Services approved for coverage include day treatment, community treatment aides and outpatient therapy. Treatment models approved for coverage include cognitive behavioral therapy, comprehensive behavioral intervention and applied behavioral analysis for children.
Applied behavioral analysis uses positive reinforcement and other techniques to change behavior. It can eliminate symptoms of autism for some children and dramatically reduce the symptoms in others. But depending on a child’s needs, it can be very intensive and expensive.
“We heard from families and advocates that these services are very important,” said Calder Lynch, director of the state’s HHS Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care. “This is a great addition to the Nebraska Medicaid program.”
Previously, Nebraska Medicaid barred coverage of behavioral modification services, including applied behavioral analysis. The program also prohibited coverage of mental health treatments when aimed at treating developmental disabilities.
State officials long resisted efforts to add the coverage, citing concern about potential costs.
But they reversed course after a judge ruled against the state in a class-action lawsuit filed in the name of two boys, identified as K.D. and S.L.
Lancaster County District Judge John Colborn found that the prohibitions violated federal law and ordered the state to start paying for applied behavioral analysis and similar treatments if recommended by medical professionals.
State officials cited other factors as well in their decision to start coverage. Among them was a directive from the federal government and changes in what professionals consider best practices in autism treatment.
The Autism Society of Nebraska’s Puzzle Walk is coming up on April 23rd. April is Autism Awareness month! We’ll learn more about the event and the cause. Mary and Mike are excited to take part once again this year.
College and pro team apparel retailer LIDS® is supporting the Autism Society of America and its affiliates across LIDS’ 900+ US retail stores. During April, in honor of Autism Awareness Month, customers will have the ability to make donations in any amount via in-store collection containers at checkout, or add a donation to their credit card sale. Also, each Nebraska store can custom embroider your hat or shirt purchase, and a portion of your embroidery purchase is donated to the Autism Society! There is even a custom, colorful puzzle piece for embroidery designed especially for Autism Awareness Month. All donations collected will be divided among the 104 Autism Society Affiliates to support local autism programs and services.
There are LIDS stores in Lincoln, Gretna & Omaha; the store finder is here http://www.lids.com/Stores . Buy your favorite college and pro team apparel and support the Autism Society by shopping your local LIDS store today!
Have this logo embroidered on any apparel purchase at LIDS this April and LIDS will donate $7 to the Autism Society in support of Autism Awareness Month. All proceeds will be distributed amongst the local Autism Society affiliates http://www.autism-society.org/get-involved/donate/lids/
2016 CDC Incidence Report
Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the incidence of autism among eight year olds in the United States remains 1 out of 68 children. This CDC report occurs every two years.
We have three key messages about today’s report:
- Each person with autism deserves a life full of dignity, value and respect. Their lives should allow them to pursue options that maximize their quality of life and value to society.
- It is important to realize these statistics represent real people who contribute to society.
- It is important to understand autism through research, but just as important to be there for the over 3 million Americans who live with autism today.
Additional information on this announcement can be found at: http://www.autismsociety.org/inthenews/autismprevalencerates/
For more information on the Study methodology go to: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6302a1.htm?s_cid=ss6302a1_w
The students of UNO’s National Student Speech Language Hearing Association are committed to helping families affected by autism. For the second year, they are holding a fundraiser to benefit the Autism Society of Nebraska. UNO’s Got Talent is coming up April 15th with talent performers, raffle prizes, food and more.
Donate to UNO NSSLHA’s fundraiser here
Friday, April 15th 7 pm
UNO’s Got Talent
The University of Nebraska at Omaha chapter of the National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association is hosting the second annual UNO’s Got Talent!
Only UNO students can participate with a talent to earn cash prizes, but anyone can attend to watch and support a great cause! A free will donation (suggested $5) will be taken at the door for entrance, with an option to donate an extra suggested $1 for pizza and pop!
All proceeds from the event will go directly towards the Autism Society of Nebraska to benefit those families in Nebraska affected by autism. If you are unable to attend the event, please consider donating at the link provided. All donations are greatly appreciated!
Donate to ASN at https://orgsync.com/81784/forms/184684
Vote Now for the 2016 T-Shirt Autism Society of Nebraska T-shirt Design!