When Utah debuts a new Medicaid-funded program for children with autism, parents will have to compete for the limited number of slots for at-home services.
The Utah Department of Health says it will open enrollment for 200 children Monday. Officials acknowledge Utah has thousands of children with autism, and they are preparing to hold a lottery to select a chosen few randomly.
"We'll assign a certain number of openings to different geographic areas based on population," Health Department spokesman Tom Hudachko told The Salt Lake Tribune. "We want to make sure rural regions get their fair share."
Another 50 children will be provided with at-home services through the Public Employees' Benefit and Insurance Program, the newspaper reported. That's an insurance plan for state workers.
Legislators have created a third option for parents — a state fund to accept private donations — that could widen the coverage to 350 children.
"This is so exciting," said Rep. Ronda Menlove, R-Garland, a sponsor of the efforts to help parents. "The federal government recognized that we are doing something innovative."