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Warner Joins Chorus of Protest Over ABA Cuts for Military Kids

WASHINGTON, DC (July 17, 2013) -- U.S. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia has added his voice to the protest over changes proposed by TRICARE to its coverage for applied behavior analysis (ABA) for military kids, issuing a letter to the military's health insurer to explain changes scheduled to take effect July 25. Military families in Virginia Beach, meanwhile, are planning a rally against the changes this Sunday.

"After hearing from many of my constituents, I believe that this decision will delay and interrupt direct services for thousands of military children, making it harder for families to care for their children," Warner wrote in a July 17 letter to TRICARE Director Dr. Jonathan Woodson. "This new policy has the potential to put thousands of military children with development disabilities at risk of losing critical behavioral treatment and care."

Under the proposed policy changes, parents would have to arrange standardized testing every 6 months for their children in order to continue receiving care, and demonstrate "measurable progress." Continued care after two years of therapy and after age 16 would require a waiver, and new discharge criteria would be put in place.

In addition to Warner, Senators Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA) have asked for answers from TRICARE.

Meanwhile, military families from across the nation continue to raise their voices in the media over the changes and the potentially harmful effects on their children with autism. An estimated 23,000 military dependents have autism.

In Virginia Beach, families are planning a demonstration against TRICARE this Sunday (July 21) at 1535 Amberly Forest Road in Virginia Beach. Similar reports have come out of Elgin Air Force Base in Pensacola, Fl., San Diego,  Kingsland, GA, and Colorado Springs.