For Immediate Release:
August 8, 2014
Isobel White, (510) 828-3554
Kelly Hardy, (510) 763-2444 x126
State commits to parity in health coverage for children with autism
SACRAMENTO, CA – Children’s health advocates today celebrated the news that California will soon offer children in Medi-Cal the same access to behavioral therapy for autism as their peers with private health insurance coverage. The Department of Health Care Services has announced that it will submit a State Plan Amendment to the federal government by September 30, 2014 outlining the parameters of the new benefit and making coverage retroactive to July 1, 2014.
Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy is the standard of care for comprehensive treatment for autism and can produce dramatic improvements in communication, social relationships, self-care, and school success. Previously, children with autism in Medi-Cal have been denied coverage of this critical therapy.
“We applaud the Department’s swift action to level the playing field so that all of California’s children with autism have the same chance to develop and thrive,” said Ted Lempert, President of statewide advocacy group Children Now.
Children with autism in the Healthy Families Program previously had access to ABA, but lost that coverage when Healthy Families was consolidated with Medi-Cal in 2013. Now, with clarified federal guidance and prompt state action, this critical benefit will be provided to children with autism in Medi-Cal.
Ted Lempert, President – 510-763-2444 x155 or 650-245-8166
The Children’s Partnership
Kathleen Hamilton, Director, Sacramento Governmental Affairs – 916-706-2917
Children’s Defense Fund California
Michele Stillwell-Parvensky, Policy and Communications Associate – 510-663-1294
Please contact Trineka Greer to schedule interview with Corey Timpson, PICO California, Director –
California Coverage & Health Initiatives
Suzie Shupe, Executive Director – 916-404-9442 or 707-292-3932
The Children’s Partnership (TCP) is a national, nonprofit child advocacy organization working to ensure that all children – especially those at risk of being left behind – have the resources and the opportunities they need to grow up healthy and to lead productive lives. TCP focuses particular attention on securing health coverage for uninsured children and ensuring that the opportunities of digital technology benefit all children and families. www.childrenspartnership.org
Children Now is a nonpartisan research and advocacy organization working to raise children’s well-being to the top of the state and national policy agenda. Children Now focuses on ensuring quality health care, a solid education and a positive media environment for all children. www.childrennow.org
Children’s Defense Fund-California (CDF-CA) is the California office of the Children’s Defense Fund, a non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for 35 years to ensure a level playing field for all children. The Children’s Defense Fund champions policies and programs that lift children out of poverty, protect them from abuse and neglect, and ensure their access to health care, a quality education, and a moral and spiritual foundation. www.cdfca.org
PICO California is the state’s largest community organizing network. We organize in 73 cities, 35 school districts, and in more than one-half of the state’s Senate and Assembly districts. PICO California was established in 1994, bringing together local federations from throughout California to affect meaningful budget and policy change at the state level. Over the past 20 years, our organizing and policy advocacy has resulted in increased investments in education and healthcare, and in programs and services that are critical for working families. Together, we represent 480 congregations and 450,000 families of diverse economic, racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds committed to advancing racial and economic justice in California through organizing, advocacy, and voter engagement. www.picocalifornia.org
California Coverage & Health Initiatives (CCHI), a leader in health advocacy for children and families, is a statewide association of outreach and enrollment organizations that are focused on helping children and families navigate into affordable health coverage and have access to high quality health care and other services. With firsthand experience and success enrolling children into public programs, such as Medi-Cal, as well as administering local Healthy Kids programs, the members of CCHI have shown that coverage for all children in California is a reachable goal. www.cchi4families.org
CCHI is a leader in health advocacy for children and families and is recognized as a statewide network of community organizations that champion enrollment in health coverage, access to care and other services.