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Autism Program Clients Face More Cutbacks Connected with State Funding

Finley Schroeder of Springfield has exceeded expectations in communicating with other children and adults despite the 4-year-old girl’s diagnosis of autism, her mother says. Kristen Abbott credited an expensive treatment known as “applied behavior analysis” therapy for helping keep her daughter’s emotional and intellectual development on a relatively even keel. And Abbott is thankful the therapy has been provided at no out-of-pocket cost to her the past two years from The Autism Clinic at Hope Institute for Children and Families. But because of changes to the state’s Medicaid program in central Illinois that took effect Jan. 1, Schroeder and about a dozen other Springfield-area children could face more financial barriers to receiving life-changing ABA therapy, advocates for people with autism say. The loss of the state’s only Medicaid managed-care plan willing to pay for ABA therapy is just the latest financial hit for the Springfield-based Autism Program of Illinois, the parent organization of the Autism Clinic. Facing uncertain funding and an ongoing state budget crisis that cut off services for dozens of Springfield-area children and hundreds statewide in 2015 and 2016, The Autism Program now is worried that the recent cutoff of certain Medicaid managed-care funding will stretch its resources even thinner. The not-for-profit program will try to continue ABA services for the dozen or so families that had benefitted from the payments provided by Health Alliance Connect after the Medicaid managed-care plan stopped operating Jan. 1, according to Leigh Grannan, Autism Clinic director. But the Autism Clinic had to stop serving all other Medicaid-covered clients from August 2015 until October 2016 because of a lack of state funding related to the budget crisis. Grannan worries that the clinic may be setting up these dozen families for more disappointment if The Autism Program’s state funding isn’t renewed in summer 2017 and the program is forced to make a similar decision.

Source/more: Lincoln Courier



David Wingate is an elder law attorney at the Elder Law Office of David Wingate, LLC. The elder law office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.

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