City Should Provide Treatment for Autism

At Tuesday’s Council meeting I asked the City Manager to look into providing health insurance coverage for the treatment Autism for the children of City employees (such coverage is not now provided):

Mr. Manager,

One of the key focus areas of the City’s strategic plan is a safe, vibrant, and healthy community.

It has come to my attention that the City’s health insurance does not provide coverage for a treatment known as Applied Behavioral Analysis (or ABA) for children of City employees who have Autism Spectrum Disorder.

ABA is recognized as an effective treatment of Autism. In October 2015 Governor McCrory signed into law Senate Bill 676, “An Act to Provide Coverage for the Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder” to provide coverage for ABA. This law went into effect July 1, 2016.

A number of organizations supported SB 676. These include:

• The Autism Society of North Carolina
• The Arc of North Carolina
• TEACCH Autism Program
• Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development
• North Carolina Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
• North Carolina Pediatric Society
• North Carolina Psychiatric Association
• North Carolina Psychological Association
• Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

By passing Senate Bill 676 North Carolina joined more than 40 states in the Country to provide coverage for ABA.

As a consequence of wide spread recognition and support for Applied Behavioral Analysis as a treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder, I ask that staff consider adding coverage for ABA to the City’s health insurance plan in conformance with SB 676. Doing so will provide much needed support for the children and families of the City’s employees and will help us move towards our goal of a safe, vibrant, and healthy community for all – especially those of our community who are most vulnerable.