Military healthcare changes

One of my friends has two autistic kids, I know how important routine is for them. So this is awful:

Radcliffe hadn’t heard any words from older brother Jameson until a few months ago. You see, Jameson has autism too.

“He couldn’t talk, couldn’t potty train, he couldn’t use utensils. Now he’s 4-and-a-half going on 5 and he speaks beautifully.”

Radcliffe credits something called Applied Behavioral Analysis or ABA– trained caregivers who help families understand the mysteries of autism.
“They really break down the ABC’s of behavior. They teach parents why this is happening, how can we manage it, and how can we teach these children to overcome their struggle.”

Now Radcliffe and her soldier husband face a new struggle. New rules under TRICARE make ABA much harder for military families to access.

“Losing that, I feel like I’m losing the ability to connect, in a way, with my child.”

The new rules would require children with autism be assessed every six months. And they would have to prove they’re making progress in order to receive the specialized benefit Radcliffe’s children receive. Any family who wants more than two years of the ABA therapy must go through a waiver process.

Sen. Patty Murray, along with New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, are demanding answers from TRICARE on the policy changes.

“That is not what we should be doing,” said Murray, “It’s the wrong-headed approach and I intend on following up all the way to the end on this and make sure our kids get the care and support they need.”

Radcliffe says children with autism from military families tend to regress more because of multiple deployments and relocation. Radcliffe says the ABA helps provide something that can often be impossible—stability.

4 thoughts on “Military healthcare changes

  1. Medicare does the same thing with its home care benefits (i.e. skillet nursing, physical and occupational therapy) except that the certification is every three months, and if you don’t show progress, care is terminated. So even if the care is enabling the patient to maintain a level of functioning, you get dropped until you decline to the point that therapy is needed again. We have been going through this with my mother for three or four years now. If you make things complicated and difficult enough a certain number of people will quit trying. That’s how you save money.

  2. But the cost benefit analysis for these kids needs to factor in the prospect of a lifetime on SSDI or SSI. But of course, now that they’re born…

  3. Our military leadership and executive branch side of things seems to be of the Corporatist party thinking: They love that the soldiers are there to go fight any of our hundred or so wars, but they sure as hell don’t expect to have to give them decent benefits.

    TIme for a revolutions. Maybe this kind of treatment will hurry that along….

    Just musing, NSAers!

  4. ABA is not the only method of intervention, and leaves many children with receptive abilities, but limited expressive language and affect. DIR/ Floortime is not covered by any insurance, but has proven also to work in the York University study, and also a study on pragmatic language. A subset of ABA , discrete trial has proven to be poor at generalization when compared to Pivotal response treatment, which is another ABA treatment in the natural environment.

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