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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.

Six-Year Quest For Kansas Autism Insurance Reform Ends in Victory - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Gov. Brownback enacts law making Kansas 10th state to expand coverage

April 16, 2014

OVERLAND PARK, KS(April 16, 2014) -- Governor Sam Brownback today signed legislation expanding autism insurance coverage beyond the state employee health benefit program, culminating a six-year campaign to enact more meaningful reform in Kansas. Enactment of the law also made Kansas the 10th state to amend its original autism insurance law to make it stronger.

“Autism Speaks applauds Governor Brownback's support of the autism community," said Mike Wasmer, a Kansas resident who serves as Autism Speaks' director of state government affairs. "This bill is an important step toward providingaccess to medically necessary treatment for allindividuals with autism in Kansas.”

Sponsored by Rep. John Rubin (R-Shawnee), the new law,HB.2744, will require state-regulated large group and "grandfathered" small group individual health plans to cover medically necessary treatments, including applied behavior analysis (ABA), for autism for children up to age 12.

The bill as initially proposed by the House Insurance Committee would have limited ABA coverage to 10 hours per week, but was raised after vigorous opposition from the state's autism community. As enacted, the new law allows for 25 hours per week of ABA for four years from the time of diagnosis and then reduces to 10 hours per week.

The new law is spearate from the state's 2010 autism insurance reform law which applies only to state employees. The 2010 legislation when introduced would have covered the private market, but was amended into a pilot program limited to state employees to gauge the impact on health care costs. When the 2010 law was enacted, Wasmer, then president of the Kansas Coalition for Autism Legislation (KCAL), said, "This is not the end, but rather the start of getting autism treatment to all in need in the state of Kansas."

After being judged a success, the program was made permanent for state employees, but Kansas lawmakers continued to resist efforts to expand the coverage to the private market. In 2012, efforts to force a bill out of a committee fell one vote shy of success.

After Rubin introduced a bill this year that would have provided broader coverage, the insurance lobby filed a second version with much more restrictive terms and would have cut back existing benefits for state workers. After heated opposition from the state's autism community, HB.2744 was introduced as a compromise measure.

Wasmer said the new law marks a step forward, but that efforts will continue to provide the best coverage for the most children. The existing state employee autism benefit will continue unaffected by the new law.

April 15, 2014

Study Finds Inpatient Autism Treatment On The Rise - DisabiltyScoop
The number of children with autism who are being hospitalized -- often due to mental health concerns -- is on the rise, particularly among teens with the developmental disorder.

Congress To Weigh Police Interactions With Disability Community - DisabiltyScoop
The mother of a man with Down syndrome whose death at the hands of law enforcement last year made national news will testify before a U.S. Senate panel.

AUCD Unleashed: The Power of Engagement - AUCD
The 2014 AUCD Conference theme reflects our goal of achieving an elevated level of engagement with our respective and collective communities, networks, and well beyond in order to better inform, enhance, and enrich the work we all do to improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families. Ink your calendars, get your submissions in, and make travel plans accordingly to participate in this engaging event that will serve in keeping our work relevant and our vision strong.

NxStage Patient Enjoys Travel and Active Lifestyle - PRNewswire

LAWRENCE, Mass., April 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- NxStage Medical Inc., (NASDAQ: NXTM), a leading manufacturer of innovative home dialysis products, is proud to share current NxStage patient Henning's story of resilience and strength. For Henning, who has spent his life pursuing active...

April 14, 2014

Walk to Cure Arthritis Comes to Philadelphia, Pa. - PRNewswire

PHILADELPHIA, April 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Help find a cure by participating in and fundraising for the 2014 Walk to Cure Arthritis on May 17 at FDR Park located at 20 Pattison Avenue in Philadelphia. Formerly Arthritis Walk, Walk to Cure Arthritis is the Arthritis Foundation's...

International Caregivers Making A Difference In The Lives of Families Raising Children With Autism - PRNewswire

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif., April 14, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- April is Autism Awareness Month. Finding and securing affordable childcare for autistic children is one of the biggest challenges parents of these children face. According to the CDC, 1 in 68 children is on the autism spectrum...

Judge Orders Man To Hold ‘I Am A Bully' Sign - DisabiltyScoop
An Ohio man accused of harassing his neighbor and her children with developmental disabilities stood at a busy street corner this weekend with a sign proclaiming "I am a bully."

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, UCP ANNOUNCES 2014 AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE Annual awards honor exceptional people, programs and partnerships across the UCP affiliate network Washington, D.C. (April 14, 2014) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) is honored to announce the …
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Accessible Frank Lloyd Wright House To Make Public Debut - DisabiltyScoop
The only fully-accessible home ever designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright is set to open to the public as a museum.
April 11, 2014

Groups Want Federal Autism Dollars Reallocated - DisabiltyScoop
With the nation's primary autism legislation set to expire soon, some disability advocates are pressing for major changes in the federal government's approach to the developmental disorder.

ADA Claim Sparks Dispute Over Potty Breaks - DisabiltyScoop
In response to a complaint that some polling places lacked accessible restrooms, one county simply barred everyone from taking a tinkle while waiting to cast their ballot.

Amy S. Goldman, Co-executive Director of the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University Travels to New Delhi for UNESCO Session - AUCD
In February, Amy S. Goldman, co-executive director of the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, College of Education, participated in the G3ict Accessibility Week in New Delhi, India. "G3ict" is the acronym for "The Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communications Technology - Promoting the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Digital Age."

Now Available! A Comprehensive Approach to Transition - AUCD
Geared for individuals with disabilities, this paper was produced by members of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) because they want to help people work together to support the self-determined transition of youth to adulthood and community life.
April 10, 2014

CORRECTION - ReadSpeaker: ReadSpeaker docReader Becomes the New Document Viewer of Choice on the Web - PRNewswire
A new version of ReadSpeaker's popular document-reading and viewing solution, ReadSpeaker docReader, has launched today with new features and performance improvements. ReadSpeaker now offers the most accessible online reading and viewing experience of PDFs and other documents on the web....

Musician with ALS Creates "The Bionic Mouth" Album with ModelTalker Voice Synthesizer - PRNewswire

EAST LANSING, Mich., April 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- East Lansing-based musician Lee Abramson, (43) has forever changed the way music may be created using a touchpad and one finger. Photo - With his new album "The Bionic Mouth"...

DynaVox Affiliates File For Bankruptcy - DisabiltyScoop
Three affiliates of DynaVox filed for bankruptcy this week, but the entity responsible for the assistive technology products long used by people with disabilities says it is unaffected.

'Week of the Young Child' in Guam: Discussing Needs and Services Available in Guam from the CEDDERS - AUCD
Senator Aline A. Yamashita and Vera Blaz from the Guam CEDDERS and others recorded an interview (121 minutes) for GMH's 'Heroes of Healthcare,' discussing the needs of and services available for young children in Guam, during the 'Week of the Young Child.'

CORRECTION - ReadSpeaker: ReadSpeaker docReader devient la nouvelle visionneuse de documents sur le web - PRNewswire
UPPSALA, Suède, April 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  Un représentant de ReadSpeaker nous a avisés que dans le communiqué de presse « ReadSpeaker docReader devient la nouvelle visionneuse de documents sur le Web » diffusé par la société le...
April 9, 2014

Easter Seals and CVS Caremark Celebrate Week of the Young Child(™) - PRNewswire

CHICAGO, April 9, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Week of the Young Child, sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), aims to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize organizations like Easter...

Last updated : April 19, 2014 - 21:19:58
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