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Up to 250 Utah children will be eligible to receive treatment for their clinically-diagnosed Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) through a new Utah Department of Health (UDOH) Medicaid autism pilot program. Services will be available to a limited number of children through a Home and Community-Based waiver that was recently approved by the federal government.
Applications for the program became available yesterday at www.health.utah.gov/autismwaiver.
The program will provide intensive individual support for children with ASD, as well as respite care and financial management services for their families. Data have shown that early, intensive treatment gives children with ASD the best chance to reach their full potential.
State Rep. Ronda Rudd Menlove sponsored legislation (HB 272) during the 2012 legislative session to create the program. The state anticipates spending $4.5 million over the two-year life of the pilot project, with the federal government contributing an additional $10.5 million.
“Autism is a significant challenge in our state, and it's not going away,” said Menlove. “This program is a small, but wonderful, step in the right direction. We recognize there are still thousands of families who need these services for their children. Hopefully, what we learn from this program will help us develop a more permanent solution for them.”
Once the application period ends, UDOH staff will assign a randomly-generated ranking to each eligible applicant. In order to ensure statewide access, program openings will be assigned geographically by local health district based on each district's population.
To be eligible for the program, a child must be a Utah resident with a date of birth between April 1, 2007 and October 31, 2010. The child must also not have assets (bank accounts, trust funds, etc.) of more than $2,000 in his or her name. Unlike traditional Medicaid, a parent's income and assets are not considered when determining the child's eligibility.
“This is a unique opportunity to provide treatment to Utah children living with ASD that wouldn't be possible without the excellent leadership and hard work of our Medicaid program, and the forward thinking of my fellow legislators and the Governor's staff,” Menlove added.
Submit applications for the program by October 31st online at www.health.utah.gov/autismwaiver. Parents can also print the application and fax or mail it.