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What Is Your State Doing About Autism?

July 08, 2014

ROCKVILLE, MD (July 8, 2014) -- Federal officials today presented the first state-by-state autism guide on insurance and Medicaid coverage, service delivery, transition services and more. The guide represents a 2012 snapshot of autism in each state, but does not evaluate or compare the quality of services between states or identify best practices.

Read the report here.

At a meeting of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, Sonya Bowen with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) said the report took about three years to complete and set out to answer three questions for each state:

  • What are states and/or local government doing to provide services for people with ASD?
  • What are the types of services and supports that a person with ASD can access?
  • How are these supports and services funded?

"Prior to this report, there hasn’t been a compendium of information across the states," Bowen said. "It's a starting point for where the states have gotten to."

Bowen said there is currently no funding to update the report and noted that researchers identified many gaps in information, particuarly with regards to adult and transition services:

  • What are the ASD-specific services adults need? States cite a lack of available services and supports for this cohort.
  • What activities and tools are in place to support seamless transition(s) from school to adult services (e.g., vocational rehabilitation, employment, other educational opportunities, tracking service history)?
  • How does transition from waiver services happen (for ASD-specific waivers and other waivers)? What is needed to ensure continued support for persons that have aged out of a waiver (e.g., continued case management)? 
  • What options are available for those on the waiting list for waivers?
  • How do states with ASD-specific waivers ensure provider availability and access (e.g., applied behavior analysis therapists)?
  • Do all states with a private insurance mandate have providers who will accept private insurance? Is there language in any mandates that might make it prohibitively difficult for people to obtain covered services?
  • What are best practices for serving and transitioning those with ASD across the lifespan?