Hundreds of families across Virginia who had counted on mandated insurance coverage for their autistic children next month may have to wait untold months more for help.
Despite a law signed by Gov. Bob McDonnell in May after more than a decade of lobbying that requires the insurance and that becomes effective in January, implementation of the law is being delayed by the state Department of Health Professions because of what some observers describe as a questionable need for a "technical fix" in the law.
Longtime advocate John W. Maloney of Richmond accuses state agencies and others of "deliberately dragging their collective feet" to appease business interests "while 3-year-olds with autism don't get treatment."
"It's unconscionable and breaks a promise from the governor that hundreds of families would have this valuable care available to them," said Mark Llobell of Norfolk, a founder of the Virginia Autism Project and the grandfather of an autistic boy. He has spent tens of thousands of dollars from retirement benefits and second mortgages to pay for special care for his grandson that would be covered by insurance under the new law.
But the governor's office is pointing to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, whose office concluded that the new insurance law cannot mandate the state Board of Medicine to create a licensing regimen for a special class of therapists trained in handling autistic children.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Delay in Virginia Mandate
An earlier post told how a licensing issue could hold up implementation of the Virginia mandate. Now, Bill McKelway writes at The Richmond Times-Dispatch: