Bridgeport (April 18, 2018) – The State of West Virginia has announced it will change Medicaid policy to provide treatment to Medicaid beneficiaries who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. In a matter of months, Medicaid will cover treatment for autism using applied behavior analysis (ABA), opening up access to over 3,000 low-income children in the state. “We are thrilled that parents of autistic children who are covered by Medicaid will soon be able to obtain the same quality autism therapy as kids on CHIP, PEIA and most private insurances,” said Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer, a Board member of the Mountaineer Autism Project (MAP).
Affected families who want to learn more about how ABA therapy can help their children and how they can get assistance with insurance are encouraged to attend MAP’s upcoming conference on Friday, April 20th, in Bridgeport. Scholarships are available to fund their participation.
“Parents and advocates came to the Capitol for five years asking that we pass legislation to provide insurance coverage and funding for children with autism spectrum disorder,” said Delegate Fleischauer, “ and we listened.” Major autism legislation was signed into law in 2011 and 2012.
Unfortunately, Medicaid was not included in those legislative changes. Jill McLaury is state MAP Secretary, and Director of Bright Futures Learning Services, which focuses exclusively on ABA therapy for children. She said parents and advocates have been have been urging State Medicaid ever since to provide ABA therapy coverage, and were finally successful.
“ABA is considered by experts to be the gold standard of treatment that can make dramatic changes that permanently alter the trajectory of children's lives,” explained McLaury. “We are thankful to Governor Justice for being a champion for kids with autism - getting Medicaid coverage is a huge positive step - but we still need more providers.” Families should attend the conference for more information about providers and insurance coverage, she advised.
About the Conference
MAP’s upcoming conference, a statewide event focusing on childhood autism, will take place at the Bridgeport Conference Center on Friday April 20th, 9:30 - 4:00. The purpose of this interactive conference is to bring together a diverse group of providers, stakeholders and families to discuss the changing landscape of autism for kids and families in our state. The conference agenda—with two concurrent tracks for providers and families— will focus heavily on navigating through the Medicaid program to receive ABA services, as well as building a network of support to improve the lives of children affected by autism in West Virginia. To learn more, visit the MAP Website or the Facebook page.
About the Mountaineer Autism Project
MAP is a 501 (c)(3) organization made up of parents and professionals whose goal is to have one voice in the state dedicated to providing accurate and up-to-date information, empowering parents, supporting best practices, and making lasting changes in the state to enable West Virginia’s children with autism to achieve their highest potential. MAP provides advocacy, family support, and information resources.