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Monday, August 29, 2011

A Federal Case

Sometimes, policies and judicial decisions regarding other issues may have implications for autism. (The Rowley case, which interpreted IDEA, involved a student with a hearing impairment.) The Los Angeles Times reports:

A Northern California woman's treatment for anorexia at a residential facility was medically necessary and must be covered by her healthcare plan, a federal appeals court has ruled in a case that could lead to more extensive benefits for those being treated for mental illnesses.

Jeanene Harlick's policy with Blue Shield of California specifically excluded coverage for residential care, the room and board expenses she incurred while at the Castlewood Treatment Center in Missouri for 10 months beginning in April 2006.


Harlick's attorney, Lisa Kantor of Northridge, said the ruling could have huge significance for those with eating disorders as well as emotional disturbances like Asperger syndrome and autism.

The ruling may not have immediate effect, though, because Blue Shield could petition the court for a full 11-judge rehearing of the case or ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review it.

Also note that the case is in federal court, so the impact could eventually reach beyond California.