Montanans for Quality, Accessible Autism Assessment Teams
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On or before 6/30/17, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services will submit a proposal to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) which will exclude speech–language pathologists and occupational and/or physical therapists from multidisciplinary Autism evaluation teams.
MT DPHHS claims that speech–language pathologists and occupational and/or physical therapists are "not available" to serve on multidisciplinary assessment teams, and therefore MT DPHHS are excluding them on any and all current and future assessment teams. However, these professionals are currently serving on teams all over the state. In addition, they often serve as key team members, especially where qualified pediatricians and/or psychiatrists are not available. Speech-language pathologists are integral team members, as they often have the education, experience, and clinical skills to make differential diagnoses of speech and language and also are able to recognize the communication differences typically associated with Autism, including social communication.
I believe MT DPHHS's new proposal will:
1. Make it more difficult for families to get Autism diagnoses and therefore access Medicaid funds for Autism services, especially in more rural parts of the state
2. Exclude existing multidisciplinary teams that include SLPs, OTs/PTs, and clinical psychologists from serving families with assessment and treatment services
3. Contradict current best practices in Autism diagnosis and treatment
Please help us keep our existing diagnostic teams, which are serving families all across the state.
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