Governor Proposes New Funding to Assist Autism Community

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Today Governor Pat McCrory announced new initiatives that will be included in his proposed 2016 budget to be presented to the legislature before this year’s short session.

The Autism Society of North Carolina (ASNC) and other partners have worked with the governor’s office and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to include these new dollars that will provide for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families.

“We appreciate that Governor McCrory, Secretary Brajer, and Deputy Director of Division of Medical Assistance Dave Richard from the NC Department of Health and Human Services have put money towards needed services for the autism community,” said Tracey Sheriff, CEO of ASNC. “The proposed budget provides for a variety of services from case management, to evidence-based therapies and early intervention programs. We look forward to working with the legislature to make sure that these priorities make it into the final budget.”

Highlights of the announcement include:

Medicaid services expansion for people with developmental disabilities and autism 

  • The governor’s proposal adds 250 Medicaid Innovations Waiver slots to provide services and help individuals with developmental disabilities and autism continue to live in their community of choice. ($2.5 million)
  • Families who rely on Medicaid for support (waiver and Medicaid health insurance) will have the ability to access the same services for autism that were approved under last year’s autism insurance legislation through the state’s network of managed care organizations (MCOs). This means children with Autism Spectrum Disorder will be eligible for services (such as Applied Behavior Analysis and other evidence-based practices) under the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment program, or EPSDT. The Department of Health and Human Services will work with stakeholders to develop a Medicaid State Plan Amendment that outlines delivery of the covered intensive behavioral health treatments. This State Plan Amendment will be submitted to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by Sept. 1, 2016. To read more about EPSDT services for individuals with ASD see our March 18 blog here.

Case Management/Crisis Services – Invests in child facility-based crisis centers that work closely with Juvenile Justice, foster care programs, and schools. These crisis centers will collaborate with case managers and families to address the behavioral health needs of children who are dually diagnosed with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. ($30 million)

Ensure high quality early childhood programs by increasing Pre-K slots – Finally, the governor’s proposal will increase access to high quality education for an additional 400 at-risk 4-year-olds, including those on the autism spectrum. ($2 million)

The Autism Society of North Carolina will continue to advocate for and monitor the progress of these proposals as the legislature reconvenes. To read the full press release, click here.

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