We need your help!
We are taking action to voice our concerns to the $40 million in proposed cuts to Medicaid’s autism program with letters like the below to our state representatives but need as many people as possible to do the same before legislators finalize next year’s budget.
The FY19 budget process is moving very fast, legislators are hoping to wrap up their work on next year’s budget by the first week of June. The FY19 House DHHS budget recommendations reduce the proposed Medicaid Autism spending line by $40 million below the Governor’s recommendation – they achieve this reduction by capping reimbursement rates to providers.
While this is intended as a reduction in provider reimbursements, the impact would be felt directly by children, youth, young adults, and families, since the Medicaid provider network will shrink almost immediately, with more competitive, higher rates offered by private insurers. Given the significant demand for ABA services across the state (and nationally), and wait lists which exists for most providers, the decision to drop Medicaid eligible children from services from a business/revenue generating perspective will be a logical (but unfortunate) next step.
REQUEST FOR URGENT ACTION: We are asking that you contact your House & Senate member(s) expressing your concerns related to this proposed rate cap included in the House budget and ask that it NOT be included in the final version of the bill.
Make your voice heard and contact your Senate & House member(s) before June 8th!
I am a lead behavior technician who works with children with autism in Midtown Detroit at The Children’s Center of Wayne County, which is a non-profit and community mental health provider.
I have been with The Children’s Center in the Autism Services Department since 2015. When I first started working here, I truly had no idea what applied behavior analysis (ABA) was and how it would translate to helping our kiddos and families. Three years later, I am a HUGE advocate for ABA and have not only seen, but been a part of, the direct positive effect that these services, offered through Medicaid, have had on our families. I have personally worked with children who start in our program at two or three years old and have NO words and by the time they “graduate” our program at five or six can speak in complete comprehensible sentences. I have worked with children whose form of communication began as hitting/kicking/scratching/biting who are now communicating with verbal words or a functional form of nonverbal communication (PECS). I have worked with children who are known as “high-functioning”, but do not know how to interact with their peers and are thus isolated and therefore at an exponentially high risk for a life of anxiety, depression and bullying. These children not only make friends during their time here, but learn the skills to continue building relationships with others outside of our center.
Our services offer more than just therapy, they provide our children and families with foundational skills that they would have NEVER had otherwise. Our children are taught communication, toilet training, how to dress themselves, eating programs to expand their often restricted diets, how to play functionally with toys, how to play with peers, letter and number identification, coping skills, fine and gross motor skills, personal space and boundaries. Their parents are taught how to use ABA principles at home and in the natural environment so that what they are learning here translates to the outside world and with them as they grow into their teen years and eventually adulthood.
At this point, I ask you to think about the loved ones in your life, whether they are your children, siblings, parents, etc. What is it that you want for all of those people to get out of life? I’m sure some of the ideas that come to mind are independence, happiness, success, good mental and physical health, and a purpose. THAT is what we give to the many families who are affected by autism. We don’t just provide a service, we provide human rights.
Shouldn’t everyone have a right to that kind of life? Let your answer to this guide your decision-making.
Thank you for your time and consideration.