The Plight of Military Families having Kids with Autism
Military families wait and look forward to the Congress for necessary amendments to the therapy care bills so that the needs of their autistic kids are well taken care of.
Kevin and his wife Kelly Bridgeforth, both retirees from Air Force, are impatiently waiting for Congress to pass the bill that is scheduled to take place after the election. The authorization bill is expected to be late by four weeks.
Though lawmakers are not worried, Kevin and his wife are well aware of the importance of the bill to be negotiated at the earliest. Signing the bill and having it passed will help in determining the possibility of their daughter Livia, aged 6 years, having her therapies to her advantage or not.
Livia’s parents are also aware of the fact it can help her a long way if the bill passes in favor of autistic children.
Although the Defense Department is trying to bring back the earlier rates of Tricare reimbursement, they have been further ordered by the department to keep the rates unchanged up until April for children with disorders.
A concern has been raised with the higher ups since the rate cuts that are in effect now, has significantly stopped few providers from rendering services to military children.
The providers, on the other hand, show their helplessness, since they are unable to sustain their staff which is further resulting in higher attrition rate for them. The fees that are being paid to them, due to the passing of a new bill, is on a much lower side.
Karen Driscoll, another mother with an autistic kid, who renders services to applied behavioral vendors, highlights the fact that defense agencies do not have to delay the decisions until the defense bill comes out.
The changes were an effect of the policy change which lowered rates, in the same way, it can be changed to raise the rates to a comfortable level, she commented.
However, the leaders resist the recommendations to modify the existing rated, rendering the families helpless.
Last week, a discussion among Tricare autism managers took place with service providers along with regional contractors. The changes that service providers proposed were taken a note of. The frequency of current operations was also, further discussed.
Edward Simmer, Tricare deputy director chaired the meeting. He along with Richard Hart, another senior analyst, agreed to have a meeting with various service providers, as well as make the providers aware of the present state in which Tricare Autism lies.
In spite of many complaints and grievances among service providers, Tricare continues to have a large number, 28000, of service providers for autism related therapies.
There are 13000 military children, hence this works our two for every child seeking a therapy.