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Bipartisan Group Of Senators Call For Sustained Funding For Autism Therapy For Military Children

Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bob Casey (D-PA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Chris Murphy (D-CT) sent a letter to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Appropriations Committee urging funding to be included in the final version of the FY 2017 Department of Defense Appropriations Act to reverse cuts to reimbursement rates for Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) treatment for military children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to ensure they can continue to receive care under TRICARE.

TRICARE is a managed health care program for active duty, reserve component and retired members of the uniformed services, their families, and survivors. TRICARE began a demonstration project last year to provide a single, uniform benefit to the estimated 26,000 TRICARE beneficiaries with ASD. However, in April, TRICARE adjusted the reimbursement rates to providers of ABA therapy threatening a severe reduction in access to crucial ABA services for dependents with ASD. The Senators called on the committees to ensure the final appropriations for the Department of Defense include a reversal in the TRICARE cuts to mirror this reversal in the House and Senate National Defense Authorization Act bills.

“ABA therapy is an intensive one-on-one therapy usually conducted at the home of the recipient. One of the objectives of the demonstration program was to provide a single, uniform benefit to the estimated 26,000 TRICARE beneficiaries with ASD, and approximately 40% of eligible beneficiaries receive ABA services under this program,” the Senators wrote. “We request that you include $32 million in the final appropriations bill that provides funding for the Department of Defense for FY 2017. These funds will ensure that military children with ASD in need of therapy can obtain the services they and their families deserve.”

Read the full text of the letter here.

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