Connecticut Gov. Daniel Malloy has announced a comprensive overhaul of the state's emergency and long term behavioral health care system, including four steps specific to upgrading treatment for children with autism. The reforms were required by legislation enacted after the 2012 mass shooting tragedy in Newtown.
“No child in mental health crisis should have to wait days to get access to the treatment they need," Malloy said. "That is why I am announcing a series of strategies that...can be implemented immediately."
The Connecticut plan calls for short-term improvements to emergency care services which, in line with national trends, have experienced increasing admissions of youths with acute behavioral health issues and delays in discharges. Malloy's plan calls for immediate increases in emergency care capacity with specific accommodations for the autism community.
The longer term changes were developed by the state Department of Children and Families (DCF) as required under Public Act 13-178, legislation enacted following the Newtown tragedy.
In a review of emergency care services required by children in HUSKY, the state's Medicaid program, nearly half the children with autism enrolled in the program needed to visit an emergency room over an 18-month period. Nearly half of those visits were because of behavioral, rather than medical, reasons, versus just 7 percent for the overall HUSKY population.
The Governor's immediate action plan is HERE.
The DCF longterm plan is HERE