Friday, February 22, 2008

Don Spencer, Monroe County ISD Superintendent, Gives Full Support!

What follows is the text of the actual letter sent by Don Spencer to Senator Richardville, please feel free to copy it and use it in your lobbying efforts:

"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 is comprised of over 3000 residents of Michigan who have pledged their support in passing the autism insurance legislation in Michigan. The sole aim of AIM is to pass autism insurance legislation in Michigan with the help of those 3000+ members.

AIM Position Statement

It is our position that
1) legislation should be passed in the state of Michigan that will require insurance companies to cover diagnosis, treatment, and services for all people wiht Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
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

ACT Network

Ann Arbor Families for Autistic Children's Education and Support

Autism Advisory Group
Autism Alliance of Michigan
Autism ASK

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

Beaumont Hospitals

Behavior Analysts Association of Michigan

Detroit Medical Center
DTE Energy Company

Early InterventionCenter

Easter Seals

Elder Disability Rights Association Section of the State Bar of Michigan

Family Chiropractic Clinic

First Capital Directories

Forestview Lanes

Fravel Financial Services

GFWC Madison Heights Intermediate Womens Club

Glenn Buege Chevrolet

Henry Ford Health System

HOPE Network
Image One Corporation

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 PTA

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
Rehmann CPAs Troy, MI

The Abilities Center

The Ann Arbor Center for Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics
The Children's Center of Wayne County

Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District
Wayne County

If your organization is not on this list and you would like to show your support, please email your organization name and your contact information for verification to Thank you!

Jim Bouder's Testimony 6/9/09

Espinozas' Testimony 6/9/09