Disability Rights California, National Health Law Program, and Western Center on Law and Poverty are conducting an investigation regarding the provision of Applied Behavioral Analysis (“ABA”) therapy to children on Medi-Cal, which is California’s implementation of Medicaid. ABA is an evidence-based, clinically proven behavioral modification and instructional methodology that works with all living creatures.
ABA has been demonstrated in peer-reviewed research to be an effective treatment for children with autism and autism spectrum disorders and private health insurance companies have been required to fund ABA for children in California since 2011. However, Medi-Cal has not been required to provide it, as well.
Some children in California have received ABA through regional centers, private health insurance, or their school districts. In California, some children received this benefit through the Healthy Families program, but lost it when their benefits transitioned to Medi-Cal. Other Medi-Cal eligible children had ABA through regional center but lost it when they turned three, because they did not continue to qualify for regional center services. Other children may have been recommended to receive ABA, but have never been able to receive it because Medi-Cal does not pay for it, they have no other insurance, they are not regional center consumers, and/or their school district will not provide it.
Related Article: “Autism & Insurance Coverage” from the National Conference of State Legislatures
Please contact the following people if you or anyone you know of may fit the profile below:
Southern California: Abbi Coursolle at the National Health Law Program at firstname.lastname@example.org
Northern California: Will Leiner at Disability Rights California at William.email@example.com
These advocates are looking for children who:
- Are age 7 or under (preferably under age 4) and diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder.
- Have had an assessment by a health or other qualified professional which supports the need for your child to get ABA.
- Are not currently eligible for regional center services (including Early Start). This includes children who were found ineligible for Early Start and referred to Prevention Resource and Referral Programs (PRR) at Family Resource Centers.
- Are Medi-Cal recipients.
- Meet any of the following circumstances:
- Received ABA through Healthy Families and ABA was terminated prior to or on August 1, or will be terminated this fall.
- Medi-Cal recipient unable to access ABA through Medi-Cal.
This is not a research study. These advocates are exploring ways to help children obtain benefits.