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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Autism Speaks v. Cuomo Administration Rule

Autism Speaks has come out against the a Cuomo Administration rule effectively gutting New York's insurance mandate:
Autism Speaks today issued the following statement in response to new emergency regulations issued by the New York Department of of Financial Services regarding the licensure of ABA practitioners:
"New emergency regulations issued today by the Department of Financial Services (DFS) to implement the 2011 autism insurance law still do not address a prime concern of thousands\ of New York families. These rules continue to ignore the clear direction contained in the statute that behavior analysts, certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), are qualified to provide applied behavior analysis and be compensated by health insurers under the law.
"The DFS rules continue to require state licensure of behavior analysts despite the fact that state licensure does not yet exist in New York State for this profession. Because of this, Autism Speaks, in working with legislative sponsors to enact the 2011 statute, specifically required that behavior analysts be certified by the BACB. The BACB certification is a national 'gold standard' for behavior analysts, but New York State continues to narrowly interpret the statute to the detriment of those seeking health coverage under the new law.
"Autism Speaks will continue its work and use all available means at its disposal to change this regulation so that it complies with state law."
Vicki Knapp, President of the New York State Association for Behavior Analysis, explained to me in an email:
Our biggest concern is this:
“(h) Certified behavior analyst means a licensed provider who is certified as a behavior analyst pursuant to a behavior analyst certification board.
(i) Licensed provider means a psychiatrist, psychologist or licensed clinical social worker, or an individual licensed or otherwise authorized under Education Law Title VIII to practice a profession for which ABA is within the scope of that profession”
The issue here is that they define a certified behavior analyst as “…a licensed provider who is certified as a behavior analyst…” Behavior analysts often do not hold a license in another profession. The fact that the Department of Financial Services defined a behavior analyst as holding a license in psychology, psychiatry or social work is in direct conflict with the Autism Insurance Law, which lists Behavior Analysts as qualified providers, in their own right. If the DFS regs don’t change, that leaves only about 40 people in New York to fill that role—clearly not enough. If the regs change to allow BCBAs to provide without a supplementary license, that opens the field up for over 400 people to provide that service. 400 is still not quite enough, but better than 40.