Nevada Plans to Pay More for Autism Therapists, After Outcry - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Nevada Plans to Pay More for Autism Therapists, After Outcry

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From the Department of Health and Human Services:

Richard Whitley, director of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), today announced that effective January 1, 2016, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will be covered by the Division of Health Care Financing and Policy (DHCFP).

“This is a significant step forward for treating the children of Nevada whose lives can be greatly improved by receiving this type of therapy,” Whitley said, “and it will be a great benefit to their families. We thank the community for their passion and involvement in this process.”

Funding for the program was approved by the Nevada Legislature during the 2015 session as part of an overall push to improve autism treatment for approximately 6,000 children in Nevada.

Nevada Medicaid will reimburse for ABA rendered to Medicaid eligible individuals under age 21 in accordance with Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) coverage authority. The coverage includes assessments, evaluations, individual interventions and family treatment. There are no co-pays or annual/lifetime limitations.

Nevada Medicaid worked closely with the community and providers over the past several months through public workshops. Input was evaluated along with national standards, consistent rate methodologies and other data to determine the rate that will be paid to registered behavior technicians (RBTs), the paraprofessionals who implement behavior plans directly with clients. As a result of comments during the public process, DHCFP revisited the rate calculation methodology and made adjustments that have resulted in a new proposal of $31.31, which reflects the rate for RBTs.

RBT licensing in Nevada began in November 2014 and today the state has 113 credentialed RBTs. It is important to note that RBTs must be supervised by a physician, psychologist, licensed behavior analyst (BCBA) or assistant BCBA. RBT licensing consists of a high school diploma or equivalent plus 40 hours of training and Behavior Analyst certification. Currently, there are only 53 BCBAs in Nevada. As a result, workforce development for all of these roles is a continuing challenge.

DHCFP will submit the proposed rate methodology on Nov. 9 to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) as a state plan amendment. DHCFP will continue to evaluate the program for the first year, as is done with all programs.

For an ABA summary, FAQs, updated RBT rate, calculation methodology and all other resources for ABA, visit http://dhcfp.nv.gov/Pgms/CPT/ABA/.

From the Department of Health and Human Services

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