Studies Infants At Risk & Newly Diagnosed Toddlers
Categorization in Children & Adults With Autism
Associated Current Studies
Cognitive Enhancement Therapy
Autism Treatment Network
Autism Task Force
AUTISM TASK FORCE
Estelle B. Richman, Secretary of the
Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DWP), formed the Autism Task
Force. Secretary Richman assigned State Representative Dennis O’Brien
as Honorary Chair; and administering Co-Chairs; Dr. Nancy Minshew, Dr.
David Mandell and Ms. Nina Cote, MSS, LSW. The committee, along with
250 people developed a plan for a new system for individuals living with
autism and their families that would make Pennsylvania a national model
of excellence in autism service delivery.
task force was divided into 12 subcommittees, each of which focused on
current practices, problems and potential solutions. The final report
was developed December 2004, and included the following:
The current mental health/mental
retardation system is not structured to meet the needs of people
living with Autism and other Chronic Neurodevelopmental Disorders.
Pennsylvania is experiencing a
shortage of qualified, trained professionals to evaluate, treat,
educate and provide other services to people living with Autism.
There are almost no
community-based services for adults with Autism.
There is a lack
of coordination within and across the Multiple Systems that provide
care for people living with Autism.
system provides no incentive for delivering quality care.
There is no
cohesive set of policies and plans to provide consistent care and
education to people living with Autism across the Commonwealth.
system is not able to address differences in individuals living with
Education System does not meet the needs of people living with
FIVE PROPOSED SOLUTIONS
Create an Office of Disability within the Department of Public
Welfare that has a Bureau or Division of Autism Spectrum and Related
February 7, 2007: Pa. Dept. of Public Welfare News Bureau In the
state of Pennsylvania, autism services are administered through an
office of disabilities. These offices recognize autism as a lifelong
disorder that requires support throughout an individual’s life.
Therefore service does not stop at age 21, it also provides a single
entry point so that treatment and services are effectively provided.
Create a consumer-led organization that provides information
about autism services in multiple systems and advocates for the
needs of individuals living with Autism. RFA:
TO BE RELEASED
Develop an Autism-Specific Medicaid Waiver to allow for greater
flexibility and creativity in providing services for this
May 22, 2008: Pa. Dept. of Public
Welfare News Bureau Governor Edward G. Rendell announced that
Pennsylvania had been approved for a federal waiver program to
provide home and community based services for adults with autism.
The $20 million a year waiver program was approved by the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Medicare and
Medicaid Services. The program is designed to serve up to 200
individuals 21 years of age and older with autism.
Situate Regional Autism Centers across the state that provide
high quality services to individuals with Autism, train
professionals in the area to assess and evaluate the needs of people
living with Autism, provide education and supports to families, and
create opportunities for research to continually improve treatment
Education, Reserch and Training (ASERT) STATUS: ACCOMPLISHED
July 24, 2007
By Sarina Rosenberg, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pennsylvanians living with autism face four to eight month waiting
lists to be diagnosed and assessed by doctors. But a slice of nearly
$23 million in state and federal funds dedicated this year to autism
health care will cut that wait to three weeks, according to Dr.
Nancy J. Minshew, a pediatric neurologist at the University of
Pittsburgh Medical Center, who has been involved with autism
research for more than 23 years. Dr. Minshew said she plans to use
some of that funding to set up the state’s first regional autism
center at UPMC to make doctors more readily available to treat those
with autism and provide better care.
Doctors at the center would diagnose and treat some of the estimated
75,000 Pennsylvanians suffering from autism, and train clinicians to
deal with autistic workers and students. “Every dollar is precious,
and the need is great in autism. It’s been such a neglected area for
so long,” Dr. Minshew said.
June 1, 2008: Pa. Dept. of Public Welfare News Bureau The
commonwealth will fund three ASERT (Autism Service, Education,
Research and Training) Regional Centers, as a direct result of the
work of the Autism Task Force with a 2 year grant.”
Develop creative mechanisms for
blending and braiding funding between education and Medicaid to
ensure coordinated, collaborative care across systems.
July 10, 2008
By David Wenner, The Patriot News
"Gov. Ed Rendell has signed a bill that advocates for people with
autism say will make the state a national leader in helping children
with autism. Rendell signed the bill Wednesday at The Vista School
in Hershey, which serves children with autism. After much wrangling
during the past week, a bill finally passed both the state House and
Senate. It requires health insurers to pay up to $36,000 per year
toward medically necessary treatments of autism. Covered treatments
include applied behavior analysis; a long-term therapy intended to
teach people with autism to perform normal tasks. The bill requires
insurers to cover medically necessary treatments for people up to
age 21. Health plans covering small businesses with less than 50
employees are exempt.
House Speaker Dennis O’Brien, R-Philadelphia, a leading advocate for
autism coverage, had withdrawn his support for an earlier version of
the bill, saying it had been gutted of its major strengths. But he
supports the latest version, a spokesman said Thursday."