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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released theNational Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease: 2013 Update. The update reports on progress made toward the goals set in 2012, and new and revised action steps. The plan includes finding ways to prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease by 2025, improving care for Alzheimer's patients, increasing support for people with dementia and their families, increasing public awareness, and tracking data.
The National Council on Disability (NCD) joins in the yearly celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month-June. NCD celebraties its commitment to advancing the rights for all Americans, including LGBT Americans and LGBT Americans with disabilities.
Legislature and governor could not reach an agreement which would expand autism therapies to more people through Medi-Cal
Medicaid-funded pilot project helps serve 18,000 diagnosed children
SALT LAKE CITY (June 18, 2013) -- The state of Utah, which has the highest autism rate in the nation, will add 35 slots to a Medicaid-funded ABA program offered through a lottery, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.The Utah Autism Coalition has estimated over 18,000 children in the state have been diagnosed with autism.
The pilot program was enacted in 2012 after the Legislature abandoned an autism insurance reform bill. Because the pilot program was slow to start,funding became available to provide for the 35 additional slots. In addition, the age of eligibility was raised from 5 to 6.
The 35 slots will be distributed statewide on the basis of population and chosenthrough a lottery, rather than first-come, first-serve basis.
A new studyhas foundthat adult day care centers offer people with Alzheimer's disease opportunities to be active, and give family members a break from caregiving. Researchers found that caregivers had lower levels of stress on the days when care centers were used. Visit the Alzheimer's Foundation of Americawebsite for more information and resources for caregivers.
There are nearly 57 million individuals with disabilities in the United States, and they are all connected to the people around them in some way. To celebrate our 10th anniversary, Disability.gov has created the "What's Your Connection?" initiative, a grassroots movement emphasizing the connections among all people. Tell us what your connection is.
The U.S. departments of Justice, Education and Health and Human Services have sent a letter to the nation's medical, dental, nursing, and other health-related schools about hepatitis B discrimination. The letter expresses concern that some schools may be making enrollment decisions based on an incorrect understanding of the risk and frequency of hepatitis B transmission in this environment. The letter informs schools on the latest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Autism Speaks, NYSABA cheer passage of bills fixing 2011 insurance reform law
ALBANY (June 17, 2013) -- Autism Speaks and the New York State Association for Behavior Analysis (NYSABA) today commended the New York Legislature for voting to eliminate a hurdlethat haskept families from accessing ABA care as promised under the state's 2011 autism insurance reform law. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose office helped work on the legislation, is expected to sign the measure.
The bill will create a New York state license for applied behavior analysis (ABA) practitioners that the Board of Regents demanded after the 2011 law was enacted.Without state licensure, ABA providers could not be reimbursedfor their services under the law, which covers state-regulated health benefit plans.
The legislation was sponsored by Assembly Majority LeaderJoseph Morelle (D-Irondequoit) and Senator Chuck Fuschillo (R-Merrick), the same two lawmakers who championed the 2011 autism insurance reform law.
“Autism Speaks commends Assemblyman Morelle for delivering once again for New York's autism community,” said Judith Ursitti, Autism Speaks' director for state government affairs. “The passage of this licensure bill will fulfill the promise of New York's autism insurance reform law for thousands of families and Assemblyman Morelle made it happen. We thank Assemblyman Morelle for going the extra mile for our community.”
Ursitti said, “New York's autism community has come to depend on Senator Chuck Fuschillo for providing the help families need.Autism Speaks thanks Senator Fuschillo for his instrumental role in getting this licensure bill through the Senate. Chuck Fuschillo would not rest until New York families received the access to care they were promised under the autism insurance reform law.”
NYSABA President Deborah Napolitano said her organization applauded"Assemblyman Morelle and Senator Fuschillo for their continued and unwavering support to ensure that individuals diagnosed with autism have access to treatment and appropriately credentialed providers.This bill protects consumers and provides access. Assemblyman Morelle and Senator Fuschillo deserve high praise for striking this balance."
The bills, S.4862 and A.6963, will create a state licensing process for Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs). A new seven-member State Board for Applied Behavior Analysis will be appointed by the Board of Regents and include three licensed behavior analysts, one certified behavior analyst assistant,one licensed psychologist and two public members.
When the licensure demand was finalized in January, Autism Speaks accused state regulators of ignoring the 2011 law which provided that existing national certification for ABA practitioners would be sufficient. The Autism Speaks Legal Resource Center became involved in the dispute, promising to"use all available means at its disposal" to resolve the issue.
New law eliminates age cap for autism insurance benefits
AUSTIN (June 15, 2013) -- Gov. Rick Perry has signed a bill expanding autism insurance benefits in Texas by eliminating anyage caps forstate-regulated health plans.In 2007, Perry signed legislation thatmade Texas just the third state nationally to enact autism insurance reform, then in 2009 signed another bill that raised the age cap from 5 to 9.
The new law eliminates the age 9 cap, but limits annual ABA benefits to $36,000 a year for children aged 10 and above.Under current law,state-regulated health plans are required to cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism, including behavioral health treatment, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), as well as speech, occupational and physical therapy.
Perry signed the bill without comment at the conclusion of the state's regular legislative session.
Sponsored by Senators Kirk Watson of Austin, Wendy Davis of Forth Worth and Eddie Lucio, Jr. of Brownsville, SB.1484 will take effect in September.To qualify for the extended coverage,children must be diagnosed with autism by the age of 10 to gain the coverage.
The House champions for the bill included Rep. Larry Gonzales of Round Rock, Rep. Ron Simmons of Carrollton, and Rep. Senfronia Thompson of Houston.
Texas is one of four states with existing autism insurance reform laws that has considered bills to expand coverage this year. A fifth state, New Mexico, earlier enacted a new law expanding its coverage to public employees and Kansas, by regulatory action, has made coverage for its state employees permanent. Last year, Louisana, Vermont, Virginia and Rhode Island all expanded coverage under their existing laws.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Daytonlast month signed a bill that made Minnesota the 33rd state to enact autism insurance reform.Oregon and North Carolina are nearing final action on bills to enact reform, and the District of Columbia is moving forward with reform covering individual, small group andhealth benefit exchange plans.
The U.S. Department of Justice has reached an agreement with the state of Rhode Island and the city of Providence to resolve violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Providence and the state were segregating people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) into sheltered workshops and day programs instead of receiving employment services in integrated settings. People with disabilities have the right to receive services in the most integrated settings possible.
The U.S. Department of Labor has stopped allowing Training Thru Placement, Inc. (TTP) based in North Providence, RI to pay less than the current federal minimum wage to its workers with developmental and intellectual disabilities. The law allows employers to pay wages less than the federal minimum wage, but only when certain conditions are met. The company failed to determine the appropriate sub-minimum wage to be paid under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act and also falsified documents to mislead investigators.
The U.S. Department of Justice (Justice) has reached a settlement withDeCamp Bus Lines Inc. to make sure that the bus company provides equal transportation services to people with disabilities. DeCamp allegedly violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by requiring passengers with disabilities to provide 48 hours advance notice to get a wheelchair-accessible bus. The company has agreed to train its staff on the ADA.
Wounded warrior amputees at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center have been sharing the wisdom and experience gained through rehabilitation and prosthetic fittings with a man who lost a leg during the Boston Marathon bombings. A visit to the Military Advanced Training Center gave him the opportunity to learn about the latest medical and surgical advances in amputations and prosthetics, while getting support from fellow amputees.
Pilot insurance program created under 2010 law becomes permanent
TOPEKA (June 14, 2013) -- A pilot autism insurance benefit created for state employees under a 2010 law has been made permanent by the Kansas State Employee Health Care Commission.
The decision avoidsthe possibility of Kansas becoming the only state to eliminate autism insurance coverage and sets the stage for renewed efforts to enact broader autism insurance reform.
The state employee benefit was created under a 2010 law as a "pilot project" to determine whether insurance coverage for essential autism therapies should be extended to more families across the state.According to 2012 claims data,the annual cost to the statewas $266,077, or 24 cents per member per month.