Military families fear cuts to autism treatment

TRICARE’s proposed referral and authorization process for military dependents seeking ABA therapy will take affect on July 25th. EBCALA is trying to publicize the change because TRICARE did not individually notify the more than 23,000 military families affected by autism. TRICARE simply put a new link on their website to a new 20-page document with revised criteria. This replaced a three-page ABA-program qualification criteria document. Many changes to the referral and authorization policies are very worrisome:

Psychometric testing every six months to assure progress. If progress cannot be measured, the program will be terminated.

Arbitrary discharge criteria: ABA therapy will only be available for those aged 18 months to 16 years old.

Policy limitations: An ABA program will only be covered for two years. No information was provided by TRICARE if two years are retroactive or if the time period begins on July 25, 2013.

Waivers needed for continued care: TRICARE says parents can apply for a waiver when the individual reaches 16 years and/or the two-year time limit. No further information was provided on the waiver process.

If you haven’t already, please use one of the links in the left column to find the contact information for your state’s Senators and Congressmen to urge them to take action on TRICARE’s proposed changes to ABA therapy. We need more of our Congressional representatives to contact TRICARE to express how this change could be devastating to military families affected by autuism. Read Senator Mark Warner’s letter to Dr. Jonathan Woodson, TRICARE Director.

FOX 5 San Diego Coverage

Rebecca Estepp, EBCALA’s Communications Director and military mom, was interviewed by FOX 5 San Diego to discuss these policy changes. She called for assistance to stop these arbitrary and restrictive new policies.

“We’re asking everyone to please contact their senators and congressional representatives totell them our nation’s heroes deserve adequate care for their children with developmental disabilities,” Estepp said.