As Illinois continues its steady, yet slow-paced, move away from restrictive institutional settings for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD) there remains a huge barrier to a truly inclusive community-based support system. That roadblock is universal access to applied behavioral analysis (ABA), the only evidence-based therapy proven to help people with autism and other forms of ID/DD.
Illinois state law requires that private insurance companies pay for ABA therapy but the state Medicaid law is overly restrictive on who qualifies as an ABA provider. This inconsistency significantly reduces options for families and individuals on Medicaid who are in desperate need of ABA therapy. It is imperative that Illinois lawmakers take steps this session to expand access to ABA therapies and ensure that all vulnerable Illinois citizens have equal access to this promising treatment. Bethesda calls on the Illinois legislature to take two immediate steps:
- Pass House Bill 16, legislation introduced by Rep. Deb. Conroy, that would amend Illinois Medicaid rules to require therapists to be certified as a Board Certified Behavioral Analyst (BCBA) and not require a second certification thereby making Medicaid requirements identical to requirements of private insurance providers; And,
- Provide funding in the FY2021-22 state budget to provide for sustainable Medicaid ABA rates that expand system capacity and provide equal access to critically-needed support for all in the state to live full and meaningful lives in the community.
Please take a moment to use the tools on the right side of this page and demand Illinois lawmakers address this pressing concern and remove the Medicaid obstacle to the equal access to ABA therapies.