State Gears Up Autism Technical Advisory Group

ANNAPOLIS (November 7, 2012) -- The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) today announced the membership of an Autism Technical Advisory Group created by law earlier this year to recommend what habilitative services are appropriate and medically necessary to treat children with autism. The panel is scheduled to hold its first meeting Wednesday, November 14.

The legislation (HB1055/SB744) created the panel to clarify how an habilitative care requirement for autism under existing state law should cover behavioral health treatment, such as Applied Behavior Analysis.

“Because of the confusion, Maryland families have been unable to access treatments for their loved ones with autism,” said Judith Ursitti, Autism Speaks’ director of state government affairs. ”This process is meant to remedy that situation."

The panel will be chaired by Dr. Steven Czinn, the chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The other members include:
•Dr. Diana Fertsch, a Baltimore-area pediatrician 
•Dr. Rebecca Landa, a speech-language pathologist and director of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at Kennedy Krieger Institute
•Dr. Paul Lipkin, a pediatrician with expertise in developmental and behavioral pediatrics. He is the Director of the Center for Development and Learning at Kennedy Krieger Institute
•Dr. Trevor Valentine, a pediatrician with expertise in behavioral and developmental pediatrics. He is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

The group's first meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 14, at 2 pm at the Maryland Department of Transportation Headquarters, Lower Level, Suite 1. The first meeting will be introductory and therefore may not include a public comment period. The second meeting has been tentatively scheduled for November 26, at 2 pm.