Response to Tricares Change in ABA Policy from Senators Gillibrand and Murray

TricareLogoThis is an incredible response that nails every point that my wife and I were discussing last night after learning of the discouraging Tricare news. Please click on the link below to read their response to Tricare’s ABA radical policy shift.

Such an egregious shift in policy such as this must be an attempt to fire the proverbial “shot across the bow” to all Tricare ABA beneficiaries. Tricare, through careful, deliberate planning, sends a powerful and surprising position change that is so radical all the while knowing they will receive a push-back exchange from their beneficiaries. They do so in order to gauge the DEGREE of return response they will receive from those relying on the benefit (aka – all the “smaller ships”). From a public affairs standpoint they are now collecting response data from the announcement in both quantity and quality as they aren’t truly ready yet to make the real change. Reading the change announcement itself leaves one to scratch the head until near bloody as it is so full of missing components, all of which are taken to task from this Gillibrand/Murray response.

Now, my speculation is that Tricare will back peddle as the response from thousands of smaller ships, their senators and others continue to rally and rail against the change. While at the same time of gauging the DEGREE of outcry, they will then go back to the planning table with all the new data we are providing them, in order to better prepare for the gentle downsizing, disruption and eventual discharge of ABA benefits to thousands. Tricare will be back again, but expect a back peddle in the weeks or perhaps months ahead. The more data, the longer they will delay.

Very, very unfortunate for the families of the brave men and women who serve and the dependents who rely heavily on those necessary, appropriate, medically-necessary benefits for development!

In Advocacy,


From “The DoD Report to Congress on Participation in the Extended Care Health Option (ECHO)

MilitaryI think one of the reasons for the change in Tricare policy limiting coverage of ABA for autistic dependents is, frankly, it cost too much at a time when the military is near broke. Here is an excerpt from the ECHO report to Congress that is very telling:

“Government costs for ECHO program participants with ASD diagnosis more than TRIPLED between FY 2009 and FY 2012 (from $31.0 to $107.7 million, a 247% increase). Costs increased by 84 percent between FY 2009 and FY 2010, by 47% between FY 2010 and FY 2011, and by 28% between FY 2011 and FY 2012 primarily refelcting TRENDS in users.”

So, create more hoops, make it more difficult to even qualify AND disqualify them under a list of restrictions – all in the name of budget reduction…in the wrong area of course. Status quo military strategy.

Please click here to read the entire report. If you are active military and use, or intend to try to qualify for ECHO you need to read this.

Autism Votes: “Tricare ‘Turns Back the Clock’ on Military Families”

Autism VotesThe title of this post could not have been more appropriate. This policy change cracks open the door to many more insulting changes to benefits of military families living with autism.

TRICARE ‘Turns Back the Clock’ On Military Families

WASHINGTON, DC (June 27, 2013) — Military families will face new restrictions and cutbacks obtaining applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy for their children with autism under new policies made public this week by TRICARE, the Department of Defense health benefits program.

“These policies drastically change how ABA is covered under TRICARE and will impact all beneficiaries and service providers,” said Karen Driscoll, Autism Speaks’ associate director for federal government affairs and military relations. “Autism Speaks is very concerned about the imposition of age and duration limits, threatened cutoffs for treatment, and the administrative hurdles to access care.

“Military families deserve better,” she said. “Our clinical science and advocacy teams are working on a report and plan of action to address. Please stay tuned for policy updates.”