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.

Sequestration To Defense Budget Will Gut Needed Services to Military Servicepeople

My friend Jeremy Hilton just wrote a compelling piece on the effects the sequestration would have on our nation’s military. I am inclined to agree with him wholeheartedly. The largest part of the cuts will come from the defense budget with the swiftness of a guillotine blade, slashing this and that without any concern for the affect such cuts would have. I am fearful for the needed benefits that service people have that access programs like ECHO, The Demo, Respite and others – who literally could lose everything as a family if these badly relied upon services were eliminate. Please read the article and reach out to your representatives to tell them NO on sequestration!

In Advocacy,

Mike

Click here for the Huffington Post Article…

This is a call to action for all military men and women, the veterans that came before them, and the families that support them both.

On January 2, 2013, the automatic spending cuts written into the Budget Control Act of 2011 (otherwise known as sequestration) will go into effect, amounting to an additional $500 billion in cuts to the defense budget. Sequestration poses an immediate and direct threat to both our nation’s defenses and the people who provide for that defense.

Sequestration would create significant readiness issues, reducing the force by tens of thousands of personnel, freezing compensation, reducing healthcare, and eliminating important family support programs. At an absolutely critical juncture, sequestration has the potential to decimate the all-volunteer force, all because politicians do not want to compromise or make hard decisions.

We understand the sacrifice required of our entire nation in order to reduce our overall deficit and debt. However, this sacrifice should be shared by all. Our nation’s debts should not be primarily laid on the shoulders of those who have already given so much.

The Department of Defense’s leadership has been constantly pushing Congress to take steps to avoid sequestration. Here is but one example:… click on link above to read the rest of the article.

Testimony to the Senate Armed Service Committee Autism and ABA

I just got a chance to watch the testimony given last week to the Senate Armed Services Committee about the current state of servicemember’s ability to receive special needs care, and in particular, ABA for autistic dependents.

The testimony provided by this excellent panel to include senior members of Tricare, Office if Special Needs, Jeremy Hilton (2012 Military Spouse of the Year and outstanding advocate for military special needs families), Dr. Geri Dawson from Autism Speaks and others. This is well worth the watch if you are a service member utilizing Tricare, ECHO, and the Demonstration project for your child with autism.

You can click here to link to the the high definition video.

In Advocacy,

Mike

New Website Added To Recommended Websites – “Military Homefront – EFMP Special Needs Toolkit”

The Department of Defense (DoD) has come up with a pretty good resource on a website called Military Homefront.

According to the DoD,

Military Homefront is the Department of Defense website for official Military Community and Family Policy (MC&FP) program information, policy and guidance designed to help troops and their families, leaders, and service providers. Whether you live the military lifestyle or support those who do, you’ll find what you need.

There is a section devoted to the military special needs community and the program that drives the benefits and service under the DoD’s Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). The link here, or the one on the right side of the page, is a shortcut to a tool provided called the EFMP Toolbox. Procedures on how to enroll, links and other useful information relating to the EFMP can be found here.

In Advocacy,

Mike