WASHINGTON, DC (June 27, 2013) -- Military families will face new restrictions and cutbacks obtaining applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy for their children with autism under new policies made public this week by TRICARE, the Department of Defense health benefits program.
"These policies drastically change how ABA is covered under TRICARE and will impact all beneficiaries and service providers," said Karen Driscoll, Autism Speaks' associate director for federal government affairs and military relations. "Autism Speaks is very concerned about the imposition of age and duration limits, threatened cutoffs for treatment, and the administrative hurdles to access care.
"Military families deserve better," she said. “Our clinical science and advocacy teams are working on a report and plan of action to address. Please stay tuned for policy updates.”
See TRICARE's released policies here:
ECHO (Extended Care Health Option) demonstration program for active duty personnel
Basic policies for all beneficiaries
Pilot program. Ordered by Congress in late 2012, this program was intended to expand ABA coverage under a 12-month pilot program for dependents of non-active duty service personnel
This is extremely important for a few reasons. One is that military children face enough cutbacks on many levels as it is; up to an including family members. Another reason is that Autistic children already face huge obstacles being military brats, jumping from location to location every 2-3 years. Autism is such that children affected do not adjust well to change or disruption of therapy. Setting age and time limits for care assumes that each child reacts the same to treatment or is within the specified age range for care. Far too often this is not the case. My 3 year old son, Jaxon and many other family members and friends will be greatly affected by this change. Is there nothing else that could receive cutbacks so that these preciously gifted children can still receive care?
for more information, please contact your local state representative or Senator or visit http://amfas.org/aba