During the session of 2012, the Minnesota state legislators asked Minn dept of human services to form an advisory group that comes up with specific autism benefits, HSAC.
Health Services Advisory Council is made up of autism professionals and consumer reps. They are mostly from children’s hospital, DHS, insurance companies and autism therapy providers.
They meet monthly and their report is due in Dec for the upcoming legislators to discuss. So far their meetings have been public, they also allowed public oral or written comments. They seem fairly objective and fair group of folks who really want to look at current autism research and come up with a holistic approach that will help children and adults with autism across the spectrum.
They looked at the AHRQ recommendations as well as CDC which often say at least 25 hours of intensive therapy. They also realize that there is no one size fits all autism therapy, simply because if you met one person with autism, you met one person with autism. Autism symptoms vary so much in every child, and it is hard to say what would work for kid A would work for Kid B. ABA, RDI, Floortime, SLP, OT and EDSM are only few methods of autism therapy and this council not only realizes that, but they understand it.
I for one love their approach, their transparency and their willingness to do it in a public forum that is open to the public. After all, the funding is public funds. Therefore, decisions must be public and inclusive.
I am eager to see what their final outcome is and now that there are a whole new take over in both Minn house and senate – though not really hopeful of its fairness, I am optimistic.
My hope is they recommend at 25 – 30 hours for children 0 to 12 and 20-25 for children 13 to 18/21 years old. They also would recommend a place within DHS for parents get support and assistance with providers since this will be from Medicaid/MA. Right now, there is none and usually is the providers way or the highway. If you have not send or commented in person, I highly recommended regardless of if you are a parent, relative, therapist, provider or payer. I think it is important to hear everyone’s views and challenges so that our state can finally have an inclusive and fair autism benefits. You can send or view prev comments at;
HSAC and Autism Information – check it out here
Idil – Somali Autism Mom.