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Indiana: Autism families worry about cuts to Medicaid ABA funding

Oct 19, 2023, WTHR TV, Indianapolis: Indiana families concerned over possible cuts to autism services https://www.wthr.com/amp/article/news/health/indiana-families-concerned-over-possible-cuts-autism-services/531-accf0c55-dd30-4120-ae71-14b1c040f9da

Chanel McClure said it took about a year before she was able to get her 3-year-old son, King, enrolled in therapy.

"He was having behavioral issues, elopement, running away. He was very overwhelmed and overstimulated in public. He would not interact or play with any children or adults. He would shy away from them," McClure said.

Since then, McClure said King has made tremendous progress….

McClure and thousands of other Hoosier families are worried about a proposed Medicaid reimbursement rate that could impact a type of therapy for their kids.

That therapy is called applied behavioral analysis, or ABA.

Families of children with autism say cuts to the program would be detrimental.
"ABA is very costly, and my family would not be able to pay out of pocket for such an essential service, and that's why it's so important that you set a rate that is sustainable to facilities," McClure said.

The State Budget Committee is expected to review rate cuts later this month, less than a month before a Medicaid oversight hearing takes place.

"Families and providers who reached out to us felt that they just hadn't had enough of opportunity to state their case," said Carl Ellis, CEO of Indiana Minority Health Coalition.

Families of children with autism receiving SBA therapy want lawmakers to reschedule the meeting so they can voice their concerns....

McClure said the reimbursement rate does not keep up with inflation.

According to the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, the rate for the primary ABA service delivered by a registered behavioral technician has increased to $68.24 per hour.

That's up from $55.19 per hour — a 24% increase. McClure said families are asking for $76 per hour.

"At least that $76 can cover overhead costs and keep doors open," McClure said.

The rate for the primary ABA service delivered by a master's level board-certified behavior analyst has increased to $110.52, up from $103.77….

The State Budget Committee is expected to review rate cuts later this month, less than a month before a Medicaid oversight hearing takes place.

"Families and providers who reached out to us felt that they just hadn't had enough of opportunity to state their case," said Carl Ellis, CEO of Indiana Minority Health Coalition.





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