2013-02-24

Funding ABA for Autism Treatment





Coming to the US from Canada recently, I was pushed into a deep sea of  funding-related new variables. In Canada there is much to do in terms of funding appropriate (ABA) treatment for autism, but our battles are with the Education Department and other Governmental funding sources. We do not have to deal with insurance companies and that has added significant burden on service providers, although of course it has opened up access to appropriate treatment to families who would not otherwise have been able to fund ABA. The fact is that all behavior analysts have to be aware of what is happening and do their best to become and remain informed. 

In the US, as bills are passed in each State, that mandate coverage of autism treatment by Medicare and private insurance companies, a mad rush to figure out who should and can be funded, for what, when, how, etc started. 

We are lucky to count with the advocacy of Autism Speaks* and the tireless work of Lorri Unumb, who plays a major role in advocating for the inclusion of ABA in those laws, and incredibly competent and well-intentioned behavior analysts, who have been working diligently to make sure behavior analysts are at the forefront of the important decisions about what constitutes appropriate treatment and appropriate ABA.

Without the work of these leading behavior analysts, we would not be able to have a chance to establish appropriate guidelines and eventually standards, and to be the ones to determine what appropriate treatment is and who can be a behavior analyst allowed to practice in autism treatment! They are many, they are at every ABAI and ABAI Chapter conference you attend (make sure you do!), and they are speaking for us. We should all be supporting the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) and the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts (APBA) for their efforts, and following them for information. The BACB, although stating that they do not plan on putting efforts into coming up with similar efforts, recently made available an excellent guide Health Plan Coverage of Applied Behavior Analysis Treatment
for Autism Spectrum Disorder, which for now should be the bible for parents, professionals, and service providers, and insurance companies of course. 


The Autism Special Interest Group is also about to finalize an update to their Consumer Guidelines.


*AS is hosting the first Autism Investment Conference!