Friday, February 22, 2008
Don Spencer, Monroe County ISD Superintendent, Gives Full Support!
"February 11, 2008
Dear Senator Richardville:
"I wish to urge your support of several bills that have been introduced in the House that, if passed will support Autism Spectrum Disorder research, place a check-off box on the state income tax form for filers to donate to the Autism Research Fund and require health insurers to cover [ASD] related health treatments. The bills are House Bill 5528, which would create the Autism Research Fund Act; House Bill 5526, which would amend the Income Tax Act; House Bill 5527 and House Bill 5529, which would add a new section to the insurance laws which would require health insurers and HMO's to provide coverage for [ASD].
"During my career at the MCISD, I have observed significant increases in the number of students with disabilities related to [ASD]. Since 2001, the Monroe County [ISD] incidence rate for [ASD] has increased from 96 students to nearly 300 students between the ages of birth [to] 26. This is a conservative number based on the fact that many of these students are initially diagnosed during infancy as having a language disorder or some other developmental delay. The support system for these students and families outside of education has failed to respond to this rapid increase. It is time that Michigan become a leader in the research, diagnosis and treatment of disabilities related to [ASD]. As I reviewed the bills, I could see great potential for these funds to result in new opportunites for these children and their families. It would also elminiate discriminatory practices that insurance companies engage in today when it comes to covering treatments related to [ASD]. This lack of coverage often results in families looking to their school districts for medical treatments. [ASD] is a serious health threat to the families of Monroe County and throughout Michigan. Families of students affected by this need the support of the state and community health agencies. They need medical insurance to cover their children's treatment. Our society also needs to understand the reasons that we are experiencing such a large increase in the incidence rate for Autism Spectrum Disorder.
"Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any help in promoting the passage of these bills and I encourage your support to see that they are passed as soon as possible."
Donald A. Spencer
cc: Monroe County Superintendents' Association
Monroe County Association Boards of Education
AIM Position Statement
2) all people with ASD should be covered, regardless of age.
3) Autism Spectrum Disorder is defined as any of the pervasive developmental disorders as defined by the most recent edition of the DSM.
4) this coverage should include treatments as prescribed or ordered by the insured's treating physician or psychologist and that no insurer may deny coverage for an individual based solely on the fact that the individual is diagnosed with an ASD.
5) covered treatments shall not be subject to visit limits.
6) there should be a provision for an expedited arbitration process if an insurance company denies coverage or changes coverage status.
7) coverage should not be construed as limiting access to benefits or other services that are otherwise available to an individual.
List of Supporting Organizations as of 4/23/10
Ann Arbor Families for Autistic Children's Education and Support
Autism Advisory Group
Autism Insurance in Michigan (AIM)
Autism Resource Network
Autism Society of America
Autism Society of America - Oakland County Chapter
Autism Society of Washtenaw County
Autism Society of WestShore
Autism SpeaksAutism Alliance of Michigan
Behavior Analysts Association of Michigan
Detroit Medical Center
Elder Disability Rights Association Section of the State Bar of Michigan
Family Chiropractic Clinic
First Capital Directories
Fravel Financial Services
GFWC Madison Heights Intermediate Womens Club
Glenn Buege Chevrolet
Henry Ford Health System
Kaufman Children's Center for Speech, Language, Sensory-Motor & Social Connections, Inc.
Michael James Associates
Michigan Association of Elementary and Middle School Principals
Michigan Association of IntermediateSchool Administrators
Michigan Association of School Administrators
Michigan Association of School Boards
Michigan Association of School Psychologists
Michigan Association of School Social Workers
Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health
Michigan Nurses Association
Michigan Pharmacists Association
Michigan Secondary School Principals Association
Michigan Speech Language Hearing Association
Middle Cities Education Association
Monroe IntermediateSchool District
National Alliance on Mental Illness - Michigan Chapter (member of Partners for Parity)
National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Detroit Section
The Abilities Center
The Ann Arbor Center for Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics
Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District