Gov. Nixon today visited the Burrell Autism Center in Springfield and signed legislation to increase access to services for more children with autism. Nixon’s staff says he signed House Bill 2010, which will increase the state’s investment in five regional autism projects by $750,000, providing services for approximately 375 additional children. The bill will take effect July 1.
“For more than two decades, thousands of families have been connected with programs and services in their area through our five Regional Autism Projects, but there are still families across Missouri who need help accessing autism services,” Nixon said in a press release. “That’s why, even in a tight budget year, we’ve worked together to invest an additional $750,000 in these programs to serve an additional 375 children. This funding is another step in our ongoing commitment to making sure that children with autism and their families have access to services they need and deserve.”
House Bill 2010 is the appropriations bill for the Department of Mental Health. The Department’s Division of Developmental Disabilities oversees the regional projects that collectively provide autism services to approximately 2,500 families statewide. The services are designed to assist in skill development of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and provide needed training and support for families. The appropriations for Fiscal Year 2013, signed into law today by Gov. Nixon, will extend these services to an additional 375 children, bringing the total served to approximately 2,875.
In 2010, Gov. Nixon signed landmark legislation that ended the longstanding insurance company practice of denying coverage for medically necessary, evidence-based Applied Behavior Analysis therapy. Health insurance companies must now provide coverage of up to $41,000 a year, until age 18, for Applied Behavior Analysis.
Because of that law, 1.3 million Missourians now have a health plan that must provide coverage for Applied Behavior Analysis. In 2011, the first year of the new law, nearly 4,000 Missourians received Applied Behavior Analysis therapy covered by their insurance plan.