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Monday, June 20, 2011

Update on the New York Mandate

Autism Speaks is urging Governor Cuomo to sign the legislation that passed the New York State Legislature last week:

GREAT JOB NEW YORK! On Friday afternoon, June 17th, 2011 the Senate and Assembly BOTH passed autism insurance reform UNANIMOUSLY! We need your URGENT help in this last step toward reform to ask Governor Cuomo to SIGN autism insurance reform into law this year. We must flood his office with calls and emails! Please take a moment to send him an email by taking action below. THEN ask your friends and family who live in New York to do the same!

The Garden City Patch quotes an old friend of mine:

The New York State Senate approved legislation to enable individuals with autism spectrum disorders to receive insurance coverage for screening, diagnosis and treatment, according to Sen. Kemp Hannon.

The bill would save tens of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses spent by families caring for individuals with autism and address insurance companies’ refusal to cover costs for autism treatments and therapies.

“This significant legislation is necessary to provide families dealing with autism the assistance they both need and deserve,” said Hannon, chairman of the Senate Health Committee. “These families should not be denied the proper services and quality of care for their loved ones merely because of an autism diagnosis.

The Staten Island Advance reports:

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, a co-sponsor of the bill who was among those to highlight it at a recent Albany press conference, hailed its passage.

"A lot of families have been suffering because their health insurance doesn't cover these treatments," said Ms. Malliotakis (R-East Shore/Brooklyn).

"This is a win-win for everyone. Families will be protected and individuals will get coverage. Early intervention is so important. If we detect autism early, it changes the life of the child and saves money in the long run."

"Parents will now have the ability to get early intervention, access it earlier, get therapies earlier," she said. "The sooner there is a diagnosis and treatment begins, the better it is for the child."

Donna Long, executive director of the G.R.A.C.E. Foundation, said the bill was long overdue and would help with earlier detection of autism.

Floor remarks of the sponsor, Senator Charles J. Fuschillo: