Recommendations released from the Autism Technical Advisory Group (ATAG) to the Maryland Insurance Commissioner

Friday, April 26, 2013

The ATAG recommendations were released today. Under HB1055/SB744, the ATAG (composed of individuals with expertise in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders) was charged with determining the medically necessary and appropriate use of habilitative care services for the treatment of autism. 

The recommendations released today are a step in the process and are not yet law. The next step is the promulgation process which involves review by the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review and public comment periods. The regulations shall be adopted by the Insurance Commissioner, on or before November 1, 2013.

The ATAG recommendations, although not perfect, are moving the State towards meaningful autism treatment. Pathfinders for Autism, along with Autism Speaks, will continue to be closely engaged in the process and will keep you up to date on progress via our website, social media and e-newsletter. 

Below is a brief summary of the recommendations made. The complete report can be found here.

ATAG Recommendations Summary

The ATAG developed separate recommendations for children 18 months to age 5 and age 5 through age 19, as well as recommendations for the scope of services. The ATAG recommended that:

• Children diagnosed with an ASD from 18 months of age through their 6th birthday should receive 25 hours per week of comprehensive, individualized habilitative services that address social interactions, communication and language, and maladaptive behaviors.
• Children age 6 through their 19th birthday should receive 10 hours per week of habilitative services beyond those received during the school day.

Comprehensive habilitative services should be evidence-based and should include, but are not limited to:

1. Behavioral health treatment, which refers to counseling and treatment programs, including applied behavior analysis, that are;

a. necessary to develop, maintain, or restore, to the maximum extent practicable, the functioning of an individual; and

b. provided by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCABC), supervised by a BCBA or by a licensed psychologist so long as the services performed are commensurate with the psychologist’s university training and supervised experience.

2. Psychological care, which refers to direct or consultative services provided by a psychologist or social worker licensed in the state in which the psychologist or social worker practices.

3. Therapeutic care, which refers to services provided by licensed or certified speech therapists, occupational therapists, or physical therapists

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