Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Clinic Notes: Denis Leary on Autism

"Why We Suck: A Feel-Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid," by actor Denis Leary is apparently not on the New York Times Best Seller List. What to do? How about a few stupid SAVAGE statements about autism that will make the news and get some free publicity. And I quote from Mr. Leary: "There is a huge boom in autism right now because inattentive mothers and competitive dads want an explanation for why their dumb-ass kids can't compete academically, so they throw money into the happy laps of shrinks . . . to get back diagnoses that help explain away the deficiencies of their junior morons. I don't give a [bleep] what these crackerjack whack jobs tell you - yer kid is NOT autistic. He's just stupid. Or lazy. Or both."
I sure hope sales don't increase!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Clinic Notes: Who Pays for ABA?

ABA is the treatment of choice for autism. But finding qualified ABA therapists, Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and not someone who has been to a few ABA workshops, and paying for ABA are two roadblocks. Insurance companies argue that they should not pay because ABA is really more educational than medical and education is the responsibility of the public schools. Furthermore, the insurance companies argue that if they pay for ABA everyone's premiums will go up. Of course, the public schools make much the same argument--money and staff. Okay so who should pay? I know of wealthy families paying six figures a year for ABA and I know of families who cannot get any ABA. One point is who is going to pay when the kids are 21 and sitting in their parents living room with no place to go. And a parent has to stop working to stay home with their child with autism..

Friday, October 03, 2008

Clinic Notes: Mental Health Parity and ABA for Autism

Well today the Mental Health Parity bill passed in the House after decades of close votes. Oddly, the Mental Health Parity bill passed because it was linked to the 700 Billion Wall Street Bailout bill. The President says he will sign the bill. Mental Helath parity requires insurance companies to not discriminate in coverage for mental illness and physical illness. Okay this sounds great, but I'm wondering how autism will fare. Often when we seek pre authorization from insurance companies to cover services for a child diagnosed with autism we are told that we should submit to the insurance companies BHO (Behavioral Health Organization.) Some states have passed an autism equity act stating that autism is a neurological disorder and that if the insurance company's policy cover other neurological disorders it must pay for treatment for autism. (Some insurance companies will not pay for ABA because it is considered experimental despite the fact that the Surgeon General and NIMH recommend it as the treatment of choice.) So what, if anything, does the Mental Health Parity Bill do to ABA and autism coverage? Will BHO's disappear? Stay tuned.