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FLORIDA AUTISM INSURANCE BILL STALLED. YOU CAN HELP.

Send_helpBy Tracy Stewart

The push for Florida insurance coverage is being stalled, and this next day or two is critical. If you know any registered Florida voters, please ask them to consider sending the simple email provided to the reps below, or sending their own personalized message would be great. We really need help!  You can cut and copy the distribution list for Florida's reps right into your email's "send" line.

andy.gardiner@myfloridahouse.gov; bill.galvano@myfloridahouse.gov; loranne.ausley@myfloridahouse.gov; marti.coley@myfloridahouse.gov; anitere.flores@myfloridahouse.gov; joe.gibbons@myfloridahouse.gov; audrey.gibson@myfloridahouse.gov; jimmy.patronis@myfloridahouse.gov; ari.porth@myfloridahouse.gov; steve.precourt@myfloridahouse.gov; dennis.ross@myfloridahouse.gov; will.weatherford@myfloridahouse.gov; juan.zapata@myfloridahouse.gov; marco.rubio@myfloridahouse.gov; aaron.bean@myfloridahouse.gov; thomas.anderson@myfloridahouse.gov; joyce.cusack@myfloridahouse.gov; rene.garcia@myfloridahouse.gov; hugh.gibson@myfloridahouse.gov; denise.grimsley@myfloridahouse.gov; gayle.harrell@myfloridahouse.gov; alan.hays@myfloridahouse.gov; ed.hooper@myfloridahouse.gov; matt.hudson@myfloridahouse.gov; yolly.roberson@myfloridahouse.gov; Elaine.schwartz@myfloridahouse.govKelly.skidmore@myfloridahouse.gov;

I urge you to pass the insurance mandate to cover autism.

43% of families would immediately gain access to desperately needed services. Those already receiving services from the Medicaid waiver program could start using insurance first to pay for services, freeing millions of dollars in the Medicaid waiver program to use on those families and children not covered by a state mandate.

Half of those eligible for medical services are on a waiting list. Todayʼs list has over 16,000 people. Last fiscal year, the program took in 213 people waiting on the list, and in the first half of this fiscal year, the program has taken 90. If this bill is passed, many more people will gain services as the monetary load on Medicaid waiver program is lightened by 43%!

The insurance bill would be a tremendous complement to the medicaid waiver program. Use the savings to the Medicaid waiver program from insurance coverage to fund services for those waiting on the list and not covered by a plan subject to state mandates.

This mandate is a solution that helps everyone. I urge you to support it. Early intervention and treatment is key to improvement in these children.

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My son is 8 years old and we was told he is qutistic but we can not get no insurance blue cross denied us because of my sons condition medicade denied us saying we make to mutch money his meds are reminder this is only 1 of his meds witch is almost 600.00 dollars for 30 tab witch is for 1 month... It is really sad because with out his meds he is at harm to him self and others around him any one no advise please we are in fl

proudmamma1980@yahoo.com

Hello all! After reading some of the posts on this website I was compelled offer parents some help. I am a teacher at Crossroads School in Lakeland, FL and we cater to children who have Learning Disabilities and we have a special classroom for children who have Autism (FACE room or Florida Autism Center of Excellence room). It is a great school but don't take my word for it. Come by and have a tour 1540 New Jersey Rd, Lakeland, FL. Also, you may call and set up a tour 863-682-5730. We have a dedicated staff that is looking forward to having new students enroll. Also, on WED. OCT.8, 2008 WE ARE HAVING FAMILY NIGHT! THERE WILL BE GUEST SPEAKERS COVERING THE FOLLOWING TOPICS: ABA IN YOUR HOME AND SPEECH AND LANGUAGE PROGRAMS FOR YOUR CHILD. This event would be a perfect opportunity for you to get information on ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) services in your home (especially if your child was just diagnosed with Autism and you don't know where to start with early intervention), meet the staff, and students and see if Crossroads School would be a good fit for your child. I look forward to meeting you and your child. If you are not in the Lakeland, FL area you can view the various locations of ESA Schools at www.esa-education.com. I hope this helps.

Ms. Peak

My 3 year old son was diagnosed today by a neurologist with Aspergers syndrome. We have no idea where to go or what to do next. If anyone has any suggestions, please email us.Any advice or insight would be GREATLY appreciated.

Thank you:)

Tanya & Jorge
designersink@bellsouth.net

I have an autistic child and at least people are accepting her and we are progressing.my teenage son is on drugs someone help
...........................
gin davis
floridadrugrehab.com

Published: Sunday, May 11, 2008

More Help Needed for Autism, Some Say
New insurance law welcome, but watered down from original.
By Robin Williams Adams
THE LEDGER

LAKELAND FLORIDA | New legislation requiring insurance companies to provide some coverage of autism is a positive step, but people with autism and their families need a lot more help, according to two local women who have spent years battling for better autism programs.

"The entire autism community is thrilled there's anything," said Janet Tucker, whose grandson, Lane Melton, 9, has autism.

"Up until this point, anybody's insurance company has pretty much denied them. ... You get no help with anything. It's all out of pocket."

The legislation recognizes the "epidemic proportion" of autism and its effect on families, said State Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, who was on an autism committee that studied the issue. It estimates autism affects almost 200,000 Florida children and their families.

But the legislation, passed on the last day of the session, was a compromise bill, which Ross said isn't as comprehensive as the House's original proposal. It requires large-group insurers to offer $36,000 worth of annual medical coverage for autism to children age 5 and under, with a lifetime cap of $200,000 worth of benefits, according to an analysis sent by his office.

I HATE AUTISM SPEAKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They hate poor autistic children!

Yesterday, autism speaks sent out the following announcement-

We really need your help one more time!
We only have until this Friday, May 2 before the 2008 legislative sessions ends to get legislation passed in both the Senate and the House to require private medical insurance to pay for therapy for children diagnosed with autism. ( I know it only makes sense and you wonder why wouldn't they don't do this already).

The Florida Senate has unanimously passed SB 2654, also know as the Steve Geller Autism Coverage Act after the FL Senator who has valiantly tried to get this legislation passed for several years. The Senate bill offers families with private medical insurance coverage for speech therapy, occupational therapy (OT) and applied behavioral analysis (ABA) all of which are proven scientific based therapies and can make a huge positive impact in the lives of children with autism at a very small cost to FL taxpayers (about $4.50/year in increased insurance premiums)

Speaker of the House, Mark Rubio, (R) District 111 - Miami, has not allowed HB 1291, the same version of the Senate bill, to the House floor for a vote. Instead he has offered the Gardiner Amendment which provides FL families years of red tape in dealing with a FL government agency, a relatively small $ amount lifetime cap for services, and a huge cost to FL taxpayers (about $51 million/year in increased taxes for the state which we all know that we don't have with the large budget shortfall).

Please Help With the Following Actions


1. Please call Mark Rubio's office, 305.442.6939 (Miami), or 850.488.1450 (Tallahassee) and request that he allow SB 654 (as written) to the HOUSE floor for a vote. Please let him know the Gardiner amendment is not good for our children with autism and it is not good for FL.
2. Please follow-up with an email to Mark Rubio's office. He really needs to get this message loud and clear! You can use this link: http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/emailrepresentative.aspx?MemberId=4180&SessionId=57. Even though he may not be YOUR representative, he IS the Speaker of the House, so essentially he represents all Floridians and should be interested in what we all have to say.
3. Next, please call or email your local Fl Representative and let them know them know thay need to support SB 2654 and to vote on it, not the Gardiner Amendment offered by Rubio. You can use this link (enter your zipcode on the side bar) to find your Representative: http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/representatives.aspx


Please know that the few moments you spend doing these 3 things will make a lifetime of difference for the 200,000 children in Florida who are currently diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

With great appreciation,

Shelley Sharp Young

Autism Speaks
Autism Advocacy Chair - Tampa Bay


_________________________________________

This Gardiner amendment, is an amendment to include ALL children with autism, not just the one's whose parents have private insurance.

After reading this yesterday, I wanted the senate version to pass, without the amendment, until I learned what the amendment is!!! Thank god I do my research! I would have shot myself in the foot, as Jade is on Medicaid!

Autism Speaks seeks to only benefit the minority of children in Florida lucky enough to have private insurance.

When I called the Florida chapter, they actually said "but medicaid already covers this"

WTF? Do they not do their homework before opening their mouths????

When I called the number listed on the autismvotes.org site, I was given the impression that they don't care about children who don't have private insurance. She said many states are facing budget cuts and cannot afford to cover these kids.

Yet they have all these parents walking, and beleiving that the bill, without the amendment is a good thing! They are fooling (and using) sooo many parents in Florida, to which, I am so incredibly angry.

This adds another reason to the MANY reason why I hate autism speaks.


I am afraid I spoke to soon about passage. The house ammended the bill, which looks to be a good thing, as the Gardiner amendment will expand coverage to children who receive Medicaid, and Florida KidCare (a low cost state funded HMO).

I wasn't aware that the Senate version did NOT include these kids! This bill has to serve ALL children in Florida with autism, not just the ones lucky enough to have parents with insurance!

Right now, the bill, with it's ammendments, is in SEnator Geller's hands. His office is working on it right now. Not sure if they will pass it on to the Governor with the ammendment, or send it back to the house.

Either way, time is running out! Tomorrow is the last day of session!

I have the local news ready to fight Tallahasee if the bill is not on Governor Crist's desk by tomorrow afternoon. They aren't running the story with my friend yet today, as they are working it as an even bigger story. Their senior investigative reporter is ready to ask our Governor to extend session if they can't get the bill to him tomorrow.

AoA readers, say a BIG prayer for Florida- our kids need it!

SUCCESS!!

Oh, take a minute to savor it, Monica--and thanks again to EVERYONE who helped to make this happen.

How's it going with Nick's Law in Oklahoma? Does anyone have an update on that? I have a couple of phone numbers, including one for Rep. Ron ("have a blessed day") Peterson, but can't seem to get a return phone call. (Imagine that.)

Terri L.

Today was a great, yet crazy day! The bill passed the house (117 Yeas 0 Nays!) , after 5 amendments! I was playing email relay with my senator's aide all day trying to make sense of it.

I spoke with the producer of the 6pm news at our local CBS affiliate, and hooked them up with a mom in my group to interview tomorrow. As soon as they have the story on the website, I will link you guys!

Thanks to everyone who took the time to call, and/ or email!

:)

Monica,

Please let us know what happens! We're all rooting for this to go through.

And it's not like you could read about this actual news in a *newspaper* or something!

Terri L.

The bill is on today's calendar for vote! We should know by late today, or morning tomorrow!

Say a prayer- there are many children in Florida that need it!

Just spoke with the Speaker's office, it is not yet on the house calendar, but the aide in Rubio's office thinks that they will be voting on it next week! I also sent an email as well.

Call and email to encourage Rubio to bring SB 2654 up for an immediate vote in the House.

speaker@myfloridahouse.gov

(850) 488-1450

Tracy S.--

Do you have any updates?

Numbers we should still be calling; e-mails we should still be sending?

Any progress?

Terri

I would hope that the managing editor might find this final comment too not objectionable as it in no way personally attacks any individual exercising freedom of speech. (Not actually a comment, but a couple links to establish the verity of my claim)

http://www.autismspeaks.org/press/insurance_legislation_campaign.php

http://www.ventura33.com/clock/

Thank You

It's time to take your comments to each other off the site please. Thank you.

For Tracy and Monica,

I really appreciate your efforts to characterize my comments as you have. I sincerely hope that those following this thread are intellectually sound enough to understand that in reality you have absolutely no idea how this bill might affect my own son.

Over the years what exactly has prevented you as a parent from sacrificing forty hours of your own time to attend the forty-hour conference necessary for you to become your child's own applied behaviorial analysis specialist?

Tracy,

Thank you for saying everything I was too tired to type last night after reading Kerbob's comments! Why a parent of a child with autism would want to stand in the way of Jade, and thousands like her in Florida from receiving the therapies they desperately need is beyond me!

I wasn't aware until further reading into the new committee that the members ARE listed, thank you for your due diligence! :) Heck, I didn't even know about the committee until yesterday!

By the way, Kerbob, this sentence in the PA bill "All Pennsylvanians will see a reduction in the need for special education programs and a reduction in long term care costs for the most severely impacted."

doesn't mean they're going to kill or abort autistic kids, a "death sentence" in your words. They're talking about the benefits and savings of EARLY INTERVENTION.

You may want to look into some pharmaceuticals yourself there, paranoia man.

Kerbob, do you work for the insurance companies or what? I have not seen you present in all of the committees here in tallahassee the last couple weeks, did I miss you somehow?

Here's the best argument I can make to all the crap you posted: If it's so limited and ineffectively written, WHY ARE THE INSURANCE COMPANIES FIGHTING SO HARD???????

Are you insane, you really think our kids will become "public enemy number one"?? Who would come up with a crappy thought like that? You can't have it both ways: you're saying it won't cover anything so it's useless, and at the same time it will increase premiums b/c of its expense, which would mean it has to COVER SOMETHING. Which is it kerbob? It can't be expensive if it doesn't cover anything???

And by the way, diagnosis is covered.

And for age discrimination, the bill requires diagnosis by 8. Do you really think someone in desperate need of services could go that long without a diagnosis? My kid is almost 5, can't talk and in diapers. he'd never get to 8 without a diagnosis. It is "infantile" autism after all.

I don't have any illusion that this bill would throw the DAN protocol to the forefront of universal treatment, as you seem to think it should. MY KID NEEDS ABA. I get biomed covered already out of network. I spent 20,000 last year to get him HALF the services he needed. I'm ready to throw my computer at you! (referencing your throw the phone remark)

So what if autism speaks is pushing it? I have news for you: similar bills were introduced the last 7 years without AS and got NOWHERE.

The bill references autistic disorder from the DSM manual, so yes "autism" is covered. I am not saying it's perfect, but you know what, it would pay for ABA. And it would do so, oh, about 10 years before the medicaid waiver plan.

You need to ask yourself, if you actually are in favor of autism treatment, why you are on the side of insurers?

This is a quote from you kerbob "Take a look at this from House Staff analysis:"Since autistic children often require intensive treatment and therapy, current generally applicable limitations for therapies such as speech and occupational therapy and mental health (under which behavioral therapy is included) could be exhausted within the first few months of treatment."

But you neglect to say they are describing the CURRENT SITUATION, not what will be under the bill's passage. Either you are intentionally misrepresenting the bill, or you are too ignorant to provide any real analysis. Either way I'd appreciate it if you'd back off.

No one listen to this guy--he is obviously crazy and misinformed. Kerbob, don't bother posting a reply to this b/c I have better things to do than answer your crazy antics. I would suggest the rest of you not encourage him either.

BY THE WAY, the email addresses I posted in the original article ARE the members of the healthcare council and the select committee on autism and developmental disorders, except one guy I couldn't get an email for. The select committee meets Friday morning and the healthcare committee will hear their recommendations, which is why I asked people to email this week to support the bill.

thanks,Tracy

For Monica,

First, it's no secret that Autism Speaks is the force behind the creation of these template bills. So please, don't even go there.

Here's the scoop, the insurance companies know that the only doctors that order vitamins, supplements, etc. are doctors that do not engage insurance companies and sign off on group plans as providers.

I am not one hundred percent sure, but it certainly has the look and feel that parent groups pushing these bills for Autism Speaks were promised that organizations like AAP would become engaged in alternative treatments like DAN! making them mainstream course of action. This is perhaps the reason why certain people are mad at the AAP as a bunch of lying, welching weasels.

I guess you've never thrown your phone across the room and cried for hours over the fact that your private insurer exercised the right to deny legitimate claims, limit prescriptions for therapies, etc. etc. etc. None of that is going to change in Florida until just about every single doctor signed on as an insurance group provider agrees to forsake allopathic medicine and work specifically within the framework of a DAN!-type protocol.

I don't see any DAN doctors who will be willing to jump on group insurance plans as providers. Unless something has changed they are mostly cash on the barrel-head, and you fight it out with your plan for reimbursement. And tell me what will weighting down the existing mental health providers with excessive clinical justifications every six months? The insurers have a load of red tape for them laced into this Florida bill.

We learned fast that group insurance didn't give a damn about our son or what those fighting to rehabilitate him thought was medically necessary. They were only interested in cutting their losses by denying coverage, but where or what do they fall back on to justify denying claims? Not a medical board full of diverse thinkers if this bill is passed, but a single person who they undoubtedly intend to influence.

The new insurance bill is simply going to increase premium rates, and perhaps drive a lot of professionals crazy with paperwork which will certainly be used as ammunition to the full advantage of the insurance industry. When premiums are raised all eyes in your workplace are going to be focused on what's causing the rate increases. Our children will become public enemy number one with co-workers within the group. That's because people are basically greedy.

Let's examine the bill in Florida a little more closely...

The bill being pushed provides for "certain" children. That's a reservation. It concedes that this bill is not for ALL ASD children.

The bill limits coverage to three separate and completely distinct forms of the ASD disabilities autistic disorder, Asperger's syndrome, and PDD-NOS. The diagnosis Autism, for example is not even mentioned. According to staff analysis the bill does have provisions for "screening", but the analysis I've read does not even mention coverage for the "official" DSM-IV diagnosis, which was an out-of-pocket expense for us, if I recall.

Oh yeah, the bill may or may not require some families to seek a change in diagnosis to comply with the discriminatory provision against children not among the three covered diagnoses. This will require the family seeking group coverage to make a diagnosis change, BUT it better not be after the ASD child is eight. The reason is because the bill has age discrimination built-in.

Many ASD children do NOT fall in these specific categories. This bill, will, in fact, prohibit any child diagnosed as vaccine-injured, regressive autism, or any other alternative diagnostic term from electively jumping onto group coverage. The actuarial studies that came up with age eight are brutal, aren't they? Age discrimination is unacceptable, except for ASD children.

Let's take a look at limitations in this bill.

Lines 69-76
"However, the coverage required pursuant to subsection may be subject to other general exclusions and limitations of the insurer's policy or plan, including, but not limited to, coordination of benefits, participating provider requirements, restrictions on services provided by family or household members, and utilization review of health care services, including the review of medical necessity, case management, and other managed care provisions."

That's way too much wiggle room for the insurance industry to deny coverage.

For example, if your ASD child qualifies for Med-Waivers, but is among the 17,000 children still on the waiting list, what provision in the above language requires an insurer to pick up the slack? They are pretty good at pointing out potential duplications of benefits. The laws may seem to protect the consumer, but in reality they never do.

Take a look at this from House Staff analysis:

"Since autistic children often require intensive treatment and therapy, current generally applicable limitations for therapies such as speech and occupational therapy and mental health (under which behavioral therapy is included) could be exhausted within the first few months of treatment."

So, your bill is great if our kids were somehow half-autistic. But that's not the case, is it?

Look at it this way. This bill in Florida has nothing to do with improving the coverage for our children. That's because it was never intended to do anything, but benefit the insurance companies.

Autism Speaks made no sense whatsoever in fashioning these bills all across the country except as part of an agreement they entered into relating to the passage of the Combating Autistics Act.

An educated guess as to why these Autism Speaks insurance bills are popping up is related to the level of unreimburseable medical expenses the government is on the hook for in vaccine court. When HHS has to pay out the largest element is the amount of money that a vaccine-injured child requires. So in a truly iron-fisted socialistic way they have put insurance coverage on paper.

Once some form of token insurance is officially on the books they will sever compensation even more severe than they have already with what they've already capped.

Saving the biggest question that a legislator or parent of an affected ASD kid should have...where the hell is section one? All the mark up says for section one is:

Section 1. This act may be cited as the "Window of Opportunity Act."

Terri,

We did use Floortime with Jade, for about 1 1/2 years of early intervention (she was dx'd at 22 mos), and still do Floortime activities. However, she is now 4, in our school's autistic pre-k program (what they really do there, I do not know, because I had ANOTHER meeting yesterday, but that is a story for another post).

Ideally, I would like to keep Jade home, but I work from home, doing contracted research, so it is either feast or famine, so I can't always stick to her routine each day. I am also getting "primed" to take over the company next year, so I have to be less involved with Jade than I like.

I am looking forward to the summer (even though I will be doing much juggling), as we have sooo many fun activities planned (we just moved across from a park), and it seems that Jade acquires a great deal more language when she is NOT in school.

She won't be 5 until next December, and has been in the pre-k program since age 3, part time at first, and full time this school year, but I don't really think she is gaining anything. She still has another year of pre-k to go, and I think she would much more benefit from 1:1 ABA. (There are 12 kids in her class, 2 teachers, and 2 paras!!!)

Excuse me for being ignorant, but I do not see where this bill could allow what you claim with regards to exhonorating the insurance industry, or allowing our kids to be guinea pigs. This is NOT an autism speaks bill, although they are now on board promoting it. Last summer, Senator Gellar's aide emailed me, asking for a cost- benefit analysis on early intervention. He said he tried to contact Autism Speaks, and the ASA in Florida, but had not received a reply.

Of course I had the info, which I promptly emailed to his office, and have been working closely with him, and Senator Fasano on a similar bill, which Fasano droppped in support of this bill. Autism speaks didn't jump on this until recently, as they are too involved planning walks to pay attention to what matters.

At this point, we cannot squabble over what the bill doesn't have, because it DOES have alot of great things, which will help THOUSANDS of kids in Florida.

I am not going to wait until the House and Senate add an experimental drug prohibition to the bill, but I think that is a great idea for a bill to be introduced in next years session, as I am not in favor of medicating my children, nor do I think prenatal screening is the way to go.

The calvalry (in the form of medwaiver) will never arrive in time for Jade. This bill can mean a significant difference in her future.

Monica,

Forgive me if my comment is irrelevant, since I don't really know your situation, but since Jade is not currently getting ABA, would Greenspan (also known as floor time) possibly be appropriate in the meantime?

We personally used Greenspan for a year and a half with very good results.

It costs nothing, since it is parent-led (though you can hire helpers). We were able to read Stanley Greenspan's book (he has several; just google, or I can point you toward one or two). There are multiple, shorter sessions daily, approx. 20 to 30 minutes at a time; 6 or 8 sessions per day; a total of about 2-4 hours per day, but still lots of kids get great benefits.

Like I said, forgive me if this doesn't apply to you for whatever reasons; I mention it here, because it may be useful to other parents in your situation (i.e., a child not getting needed therapy because they can't get it covered).

I'll start over and read your piece more carefully, and all of the comments, too, in case I missed some action that I can take for you in a timely way.

Terri L.

Hey! The bill is stalled? Yippee!

This Autism Speaks insurance bill totally sucks.

The bill seeks to exonerate the health insurance industry racket for years and years of brutal neglect and discrimination of certain Autistic kids.

This Florida bill needs an experimental drug prohibition to prevent Autism Speaks from conducting liability-free drug experiments. ASD is NOT caused by a SSRI deficiency, BTW.

What's with all the use of "certain" all over the place. Certainly this bill will mean something to "certain" children just as the fact that 17,000 ASD kids are on the Med Waivers waiting list while "certain" ASD kids are provided for. Personally my son has been entitled to benefits since he was three. He's nine now and still waiting for the calvary to arrive.

Many are extremely concerned about any bill about Autism because Autism Speaks demented quest for genetics research is actually going to support prenatal screening. Of course biomakers will lead to abortions.

The following was captured from a form letter crafted by Autism
Speaks for an action alert to push a Pa. Insurance bill. You will
find the "death" sentence for innocent children is the last one in
paragraph five.
-------

We need your help to follow the House's unanimous support of HB 1150
in order to make insurance coverage for autism services a reality.

Senator Jane Orie introduced the Autism Insurance Benefit Resotration
to end the discrimination in insurance coverage against children with
autism and their families, by requiring insurance companies to cover
essential services for individuals with autism.

The House has unanimously passed this critical legislation.

Today, 1 in 150 individuals is diagnosed with autism, making it more
common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. When
children with autism receive appropriate services they can make great
gains and improve significantly. Without such services, however, the
prognosis is not as good.

If all interested parties -- parents, insurers, and the Commonwealth -
- share in the cost of care for individuals with autism, then
everyone will see a reduction in overall costs. All Pennsylvanians
will see a reduction in the need for special education programs and a
reduction in long term care costs for the most severely impacted.

The Autism Insurance Benefit Restoration Bill is a common-sense and
fiscally responsible way of helping families to access health care
services that they are currently excluded from receiving due to their
autism diagnosis. I urge you to end this blatant discrimination and
enact this legislation. Thank you for your attention to this critical
issue.

Ok, just got off the phone with the admin for the healthcare council. They will NOT be discussing the bill this week. They are awaiting advice from the newly formed house committee on autism.

"RUBIO NAMES 13-MEMBER SELECT COMMITTEE ON AUTISM TALLAHASSEE—House Speaker Marco Rubio today announced the appointment of 13-members to a newly created House Select Committee on Autism and Developmental Disorders. Rubio named State Rep. Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, to chair the committee. Rubio said the Committee should submit its initial recommendations within one week of its April 8th first meeting. A copy of Rubio’s appointment letter is pasted below. Other members of the House who were named by Rubio to the Select Committee are: Reps. Bill Galvano, vice chair, Loranne Ausley, Ari Porth, Jimmy Patronis, Will Weatherford, Dennis Ross, Audrey Gibson, Joseph Gibbons, Anitere Flores, Juan Zapata, Marti Coley, Stephen Precourt."

http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Documents/loaddoc.aspx?DocumentType=Press%20Release&FileName=103

So it would seem it would be best for us to contact not only the members of the Healthcare Council, but also members of this newly formed committee. Contact info can be found at http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/representatives.aspx

Tracy Lewis, where have you been the last 2 yrs!!!!! When I started Aware4Autism, I had asked for help from Autism Speaks, ASA, and others. The only person to even reply to my emails was Lisa Ackerman, thousands of miles away! She is one amazing woman!

Autism advocacy is so very fragmented in Florida, and we desperately need to band together and work towards creating a better tommorrow for our kids. Please email me, Monica@aware4autism.org, I would like to keep in touch with you, and perhaps gain your help on 2 other bills I have been working on, and other advocacy in the future. My senator, Fasano, has been wonderful in supporting programs that would benefit autistic children. When I told him how much early intervention Jade was getting, within 2 weeks, he had the director of Early Steps, and myself, in his office to answer my questions, and demand that Jade receive adequate services! He is a great guy!

We tried for 2 yrs to use the McKay scholarship to fund an early intervention program, to no avail. He jumped at the chance to cosponsor the insurance bill.

These are 2 other bills we need to make noise about in Florida.

SB 116- electric monitering programs (www.projectlifesaver.org)
http://www.flsenate.gov/session/index.cfm?Mode=Bills&SubMenu=1&BI_Mode=ViewBillInfo&BillNum=0116
which has basically died because of our shrinking budget

and SB 2028 discipline/ disabled students
(this bill would limit and regulate restraint and seclusion in our schools)
http://www.flsenate.gov/session/index.cfm?Mode=Bills&SubMenu=1&BI_Mode=ViewBillInfo&BillNum=2028
this bill has stalled as the FDOE is rewriting their "rules" regarding R&S, yet no laws exist in FL to regulate this in schools.

There aren't low cutoffs under this bill for ABA like there are in Texas (where ages 3-5 are eligible). It covers services, including ABA, for persons to 18 years of age. One version in the senate requires a diagnosis by 8, but services are available until 18.

HB 1291 is currently in the Healthcare Council, which is chaired by Aaron Bean. They are meeting tomorrow. Please contact members of this council and encourage them to help our children!

Here is a link to the Healthcare Council-
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Committees/committeesdetail.aspx?SessionId=57&CommitteeId=2348

Aaron Bean's Tallahassee #(850) 488-6920

I've sent my e-mails from Plant City, FL! Tracy Stewart, if this bill passes, what is the age limit for services covered? thanks

Btw, when you contact them, refer to HB 1291

Here is a link to the bill's text- http://www.flsenate.gov/session/index.cfm?Mode=Bills&Submenu=1&BI_Mode=ViewBillInfo&Billnum=1291&Year=2008

If you live in Florida, PLEASE send the email to the house reps!!!!!! If you know someone in Florida, please contact them and ask that they contact the house reps!

Jade currently receives no ABA. It is only covered through Medwaiver, and she will wait atleast 5 yrs before we can receive this!

Many of those currently on MedWaiver, and the wait list are adults with mental retardation and dev. delays. They desperately need the MedWaiver to provide assisted living services, job coaches, and continued therapy. Many of these waiting are living in institutions, or with overburdened aging parents. We need to free up the MedWaiver program to increase the independence and inclusion of those who desperately need it!

Florida is facing ENORMOUS budget cuts (no one wants to pay ANY taxes in this state!), and funding for MANY programs has been cut. MedWaiver will receive even LESS funding in the very near future.

Jade needs ABA, not MedWaiver! PLEASE HELP FLORIDA!!!!!!!

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