The Politics of Autism includes an extensive discussion of insurance and Medicaid services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
S.C. children in need of intensive autism treatment cannot find therapists, and the state's Medicaid agency is to blame, according to a federal lawsuit that alleges the state is driving therapists away by failing to pay them enough.
The lawsuit was filed by Ashley Manley, a Lexington mother whose 6-year-old son has been waiting for more than two years to get more than 40 hours a week of in-home, intensive therapy. A doctor prescribed the therapy for the child after he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
South Carolina's reimbursement rates for autism therapists are so low that they cannot afford to treat patients covered by Medicaid, the joint federal-state insurance program for the poor and disabled, according to the lawsuit. The suit, filed last week, names the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services and its director, Josh Baker, as defendants.
As a result of those low rates, some S.C. therapists refuse to accept Medicaid patients for the autism treatment, leading to a scarcity of therapists and long waits for their services, the suit alleges.