Senator Janet Nguyen advocates to Department of Health Care Services for funding for Autism Services

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

As Vice-Chair of the Senate’s Health Committee, Senator Nguyen has expressed concerns to the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) regarding access to quality care for children diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

Last fall, the State of California mandated the transition of ABA services for autism into managed care. Since then parents and providers have expressed grave concerns regarding this transition, specifically regarding continuity of care and access to the level of specialized services that children diagnosed with autism need.

To address this issue, Senator Nguyen has appealed to DHCS, urging them to render a reimbursement rate for Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) services that protects the health care needs of individuals with autism.

The rate that DHCS sets for ABA services for autism will impact how local health plans are able to administer ABA services throughout the state. The rate will also impact the number of providers that are available to provide specialized care to children with autism.

“Serving California’s children with developmental disabilities, especially those diagnosed with autism, is extremely critical to their overall wellbeing,” said Senator Janet Nguyen. “As the department tasked with setting the reimbursement rates for autism services, DHCS has the unique opportunity to protect both continuity and access to care by setting a reimbursement rate that meets the needs of these children.” 

According to research, ABA services have been proven to be effective in treating individuals with autism. Research has also shown that children who receive early intervention of treatment can greatly improve cognitive skills, language skills and social living skills.

“As we make these indispensable benefits part of managed care, I hope that DHCS will consider the unique medical needs of this population, as well as the positive long-term effects of ABA therapy on children,” said Senator Janet Nguyen.

Reimbursement rates from DHCS are expected to be released in May or June.