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April 18, 2014

Public Comments Disclose Flaws In Medicare Program That Compromise Quality Of Care For Patients - PRNewswire
WASHINGTON, April 18, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An array of clinicians and advocates for Medicare patients, as well as home medical equipment providers, manufacturers, and trade groups, sharply oppose a proposal by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to expand the...

Medicare Patients Face Danger Going To Doctors' Offices Says AAHomecare - PRNewswire
WASHINGTON, April 18, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Dorena Hyatt of Meyersdale, Pa., has been disabled since the age of 12.  "My disability affected my legs and I am no longer able to walk," said Hyatt. Now 65 years old, she lives alone and maintains her independence by using a...

Home Videos May Allow For Quicker Autism Diagnosis - DisabiltyScoop
Using YouTube videos, researchers say they've identified a new approach to autism screening that could significantly speed up the path to diagnosis.

Court: Mom Acted Wrongly In Arranging Son's Vasectomy - DisabiltyScoop
In a case centering on the rights of people with intellectual disabilities, a court has ruled that an Iowa mother overstepped when she arranged a vasectomy for her son with special needs.

Request for Information (RFI): Impact of DSM-5 Changes to Diagnostic Criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) on Research and Services - AUCD
NIH released a Request for Information (RFI) to seek input from the scientific community, health professionals, self-advocates, family members, and other community stakeholders on the biomedical and services research implications of recent changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

Boeing Hit With Class Action Suit Over ABA Denials - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Washington employees accuse aerospace giant of Mental Health Parity violations

April 18, 2014

(APRIL 20, 2014) --Aerospace giant Boeinghas been hit with a complaint in federal court by its Washington state employees who claim the company's denial of insurance coverage of applied behavior analysis (ABA) for their children withautism violates thefederal Mental Health Parity Act. Filed by two families whose sons have autism, "C.S." and "D.Z.",the suit seeks certification as a class action on behalf of Boeing's 81,000 Washington-based employees.

Listed #30 on the Fortune 500 list as the nation's largest aerospace and defense firm, Boeing reported earning $3.9 billion in profits last year on $81.7 billion in revenues. Headquartered in Chicago, half of Boeing's employees are based in Washington. The suit was filed in U.S. Dstrict Court in Seattle.

The case has added significance because Boeing self-insures its employee health plan and therefore isregulated under federal ERISA lawwhich is immune from state autism insurance reform laws, such asthe law in its headquarters state of Illinois. The suit was filed bySeattle attorneys Ele Hamburger and Richard Spoonemore who have been winning a series of similar federal class action suits in Washington over ABA denials. The complaint alleges Boeing's denial of ABA benefits violates the 2008 Wellstone Domenici Mental HealthParity and Addiction Equity Act as well as its fiduciary responsibilities under ERISA.

Boeingdoes not expressly exclude ABA coverage in its health plan, but ratherhas its claims administrators exclude all coverage of ABA therapy through internal policies and restricted provider networks, the complaint alleges.

Boeing's non-mental health claims administrator, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL), excludedABA therapy coverage.When a Boeingemployeeoverturned thedenial,according to the complaint,Boeingdirected BCBSIL to classify ABA therapy as a mental health service to be administered by Value Options, which administers Boeing's mentalhealthclaims.

Boeing directed Value Options to limit its provider network in Washington state to exclude licensed ABA agencies, the plaintiffs assert.

"The effect of Boeing/Value Option's failure to include in its network any licensed ABA agencies in Washington state is the same as a blanket exclusion," according to the complaint."It is impossible for plaintiffs and the proposed class to obtain coverage for the ABA therapy services they need because Boeing will not contract with any providers who can deliver it."

The Mental Health ParityActdoesnotrequire Boeing to cover mental health services; rather it requires employers if they do choose to provide mental health coverage -- as the Boeing plan does-- to cover the benefits“at parity” with medical benefits.ERISA requires Boeing to abide by the Mental Health Parity Act and other regulation in administering its plan.

"By applying a blanket, hidden exclusion of ABA therapy to treat (autism), in violation of the Parity Act and its regulations, Boeing is systemically and uniformly failing to properly administer its Plan," according to the complaint. "It is alsobreaching its fiduciary duties to plaintiffs and class members, who have not received the benefits to which they are entitled."

The suit seeks a court order stopping Boeing from denying ABA coverage in its health plan and requiring reimbursement for past claims

This lawsuit seeks remedies for Boeing's breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA and its failure to properly administer the terms of Plan, as modified by the Parity Act and its implementing regulations. It further seeks to recover the benefits that have been wrongfully denied to plaintiffs and the class they seek to represent. It also seeks a court order declaring Boeing's exclusion of coverage for ABA therapy to treat ASD through a restricted network of providers void and unenforceable. The lawsuit further seeks an injunction to prevent any future or ongoing efforts by Boeing to use and enforce any blanket exclusions of ABA therapy to treat ASD.

The class consists of all individuals who have been, are, or will be Washington state participants or beneficiaries under The Boeing Master Welfare Plan that have been, are or will be in effect or renewed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, UCP RELEASES ANNUAL REPORT ON STATES SERVING AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES  8th annual Case for Inclusion report ranks, compares states on Medicaid outcomes Washington, D.C. (April 17, 2014) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) …
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April 17, 2014

SpecialNeedsWare launches AutisMate, an award-winning special needs learning platform, for Android - PRNewswire
NEW YORK, April 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- SpecialNeedsWare will release AutisMate, a comprehensive life and learning platform for individuals with special needs, on Android-powered tablets and smart phones.  AutisMate focuses on simultaneously improving learning, self-management...

United Cerebral Palsy Honors Meijer with Employer of the Year Award - PRNewswire
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., April 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Recognizing its dedication to the employment of persons with disabilities, United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) has named Meijer "Employer of the Year." The 2014 Award for Excellence, announced at UCP's Annual Conference in Nashville, Tenn.,...

California Cracks Down On Autism Insurance Denials - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Denials followed by delays prompts new regulatory enforcement

April 17, 2014

(April 17, 2014) -- The California Department of Insurance has won the go-ahead to enforce toughnewrequirements to stop private insurers from denying and delayingcoverage forbehavioral health treatments, such as applied behavior analysis (ABA), for autism.

The department based the new regulations on its interpretation of the state's 1999 Mental Health Parity Actand won approval Wednesday from the Office of Administrative Lawto begin enforcement. California is one of 35 states to require certain commercial insurers to cover behavioral health and other treatments for autism by law, yet still encounters widespread non-compliance by the industry.

"Approval of the mental health parity regulation will help end improper insurer delays and denials of medically necessary treatments for autistic individuals," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "This regulation provides clear guidance to the industry, stakeholders and consumers on the requirements of the Mental Health Parity Act from 1999."

The department proposed the newregulations when it found insurers were able to delay or deny medically necessary treatment for individuals with autism as required under California's 2011 auitism insurance reform law. The regulations further define the circumstances in which insurers must cover behavioral health treatment by specifically applying the requirements under the Mental Health Parity Act.

Since 2009, the Insurance Departmenthas referred23 cases related to denials of behavioral health and other autism treatment to external clinicians for Independent medical review. Of those, 19were overturned.

In another 40 cases that have been closed, the individual delays in obtaining treatment averaged nearly half a year; delays currently average over 10 months, or almost a year, for those cases which are still open. The cumulativedelays on open and closed casestotal 12,864 days, or 35.2 years.

"These lengthy delays all involve treatment that experts agree is most effective when provided in early childhood," the department argued in its regulatory proposal. "The benefits anticipated from the proposed regulation include significantly lessening or eliminating these delays and denials of treatment and substantially improving treatment efficacy and outcomes."

US Drug Watchdog Stresses the Urgency for DePuy Pinnacle All-Metal Hip Implant Recipients to Ask About a Specific Blood Test that Can Detect Premature Failure - PRNewswire

WASHINGTON, April 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The US Drug Watchdog says, "We want every US recipient of an all-metal hip implant to call us for the code for a specific blood test that has been designed to measure the levels of cobalt, or chromium levels in a recipients blood stream. If...

Beneficios del Gobierno para personas con discapacidades - PRNewswire
WASHINGTON, 17 de abril de 2014 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- Las discapacidades afectan las actividades diarias de una de cada cinco personas en Estados Unidos, según informan los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC, por su sigla en...

Government Benefits for People with Disabilities - PRNewswire
WASHINGTON, April 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five people are affected by disabilities. Some of those disabilities happen at birth, while others are the result of injury, illness, or aging. Despite the...

Ranking Names Best States For Disability Services - DisabiltyScoop
An annual ranking of states offering the best services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities reveals a familiar but evolving landscape.
April 16, 2014

Special Olympics Teaches Victory Living Programs Clients Healthy Diet and Exercise Habits - PRNewswire

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., April 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Teaching healthy diet and exercise habits to adults with special needs can be more challenging than with most groups of people, but for Karlyn Emile it's also more...

Walk to Cure Arthritis Comes to San Francisco - PRNewswire

SAN FRANCISCO, April 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Help find a cure by participating in and fundraising for the 2014 Walk to Cure Arthritis on May 17 at the Golden Gate Park Music Concourse in San Francisco. Formerly Arthritis Walk, Walk to Cure Arthritis is the Arthritis Foundation's...

Feds Impose Stiffer ADA Penalties - DisabiltyScoop
For the first time in more than a decade, the fines that the federal government can impose for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act are set to rise.

UCEDD Directors Retreat and TA Institute Meeting Materials Available - AUCD
This meeting provided an opportunity for UCEDD leaders to network, meet with their federal project officers, and learn of new initiatives, national trends, and other information vital to the administration of the UCEDD programs.

LEND Directors Meeting Materials Available - AUCD
This meeting was held in Washington, DC, in conjunction with the Disability Policy Seminar. Significant time was spent on discussing the following topics: training opportunities in transition, trainee long-term follow up surveys, increased participation of self-advocacy trainees, trainee diversity efforts, examining LEND programs, the new MCH Workforce Development Center, LEND leadership training, AUCD Network Strategic Planning, the need to reauthorize the Combating Autism Act, and regional group work.

Royal Walker, JD, Appointed to the National Council on Disability - AUCD
President Obama has appointed Royal Walker, JD - Executive Director of the Mississippi University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), the Institute for Disability Studies at the University of Southern Mississippi - to the National Council on Disability. Royal is a past AUCD President and has served on the board of directors of the American Task Force for the Homeless, the Governor's Interagency Coordinating Council for Children with Special Needs, the Mississippi Council on Developmental Disabilities, and the Mississippi March of Dimes. AUCD congratulates Royal Walker on the appointment.
Last updated : April 20, 2014 - 21:37:34
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