Monday, June 29, 2009

Steven's Law

Steven's Law is going to be effective this Wednesday, July 1. The question is, will your child be eligible for autism-related insurance coverage. See the step by step guide below for help.

1. Ask the Company/Human Resources Dept. (HR) for whom you work (where you receive your health benefits/insurance) if the plan your family has is a “Self Insured Plan.” If they tell you “Yes” – you are not eligible for benefits under Steven’s Law. If they tell you “No” go to step # 2.
2. If you do not know or are unsure, ask the HR Department if the company has 50 or more employees. If they tell you “No” than you are not eligible for benefits under Steven’s Law. If they tell you “Yes” go to step #3.
3. Ask the HR Department where/in which state your Insurance Plan is “underwritten.” If your plan has been underwritten in any state other than Arizona you may not be eligible for Steven’s Law.
4. Call your insurance company and ask for “Member Benefits.” Ask if they (Customer Service) are familiar with Arizona’s Steven’s Law/Autism Coverage.If they tell you “No” ask to speak to a Supervisor and ask the Supervisor the same questions.
5. If they tell you “Yes” ask them if your family (your child) is eligible for the benefits under your plan.
6. If they tell you “No” ask them why/what the reason is, and then tell them you want the reason you do not have coverage sent to you in writing.
7. If they tell you “Yes” request a list of “Network or Contracted Providers” or “Preferred Providers” for your area. This will give you all of the agencies and/or individuals who are contracted with your insurance company to provide services outlined by Steven’s Law.
8. Because some Companies have elected to offer this coverage when they are not required to, call your insurance company and ask even if you think you are NOT eligible. If they tell you that you ARE eligible, request it in writing before you make any appointments etc.

From here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

You're Not Listening rally June 23rd


The “You’re Not Listening!” event takes place TUESDAY, June 23. This event will have a different feel/appeal than what has been done in the past.

There has been marching, rallying, chanting, singing, moments of silence, emailing, phone calling, meeting with your legislators, articles in the news, letters to the editor, interest stories on the news/tv and the list goes on… These efforts HAVE made a difference. A judgment was awarded resulting in 69 days without budget cuts and restoration of non-title 19 funded services – so far; restoration of Early Intervention Services and a renewed sense of urgency and attention to the disabled population. But we cannot stop there. We need assurances for our children well beyond the age of 3. Our State government is NOT LISTENING to our cries for justice for ALL disabled citizens.

Therefore think visual, symbolic, strong messages that convey images, feelings and thoughts, to other participants. Our focused target group is the Governor, Legislators, the press/media and passersby.


  • Earmuffs representing you’re not listening/hearing us
  • Trace two hands together and “cut” off one finger – representing a loss of 10%

**Place your name, address, phone number on the back for delivery to Governor/Legislators**

  • Group of 100 people, 90 in white shirts, 10 in black.
  • Candlelight Vigil – 100 candles, 10 not lit

We need large banners like bed sheets, bolts of cloth with statements representing what “You’re Not Listening” means to you and the individuals you serve. Use your body as a billboard – wearing white t-shirts with your message of “You’re Not Listening”. Or depict thoughts and feelings about being developmentally disabled – that it is a challenge in itself - having to justify that disability - having to justify necessary life supporting services - having to settle for anything less than whole is an injustice – merciless - acts of violence (another train of thought).

Timelines…..this is an estimate, details will be sent Monday 6/22/09

11:30a – Governors tower

12:00p – Press Release House Lawn

12:30p – House of Representatives

1pm – Senate

Prayer/Candlelight Vigil – 7pm-9pm

As Tom stated in his last email, “I am begging each of you to put aside any differences and work together to fight the extremely destructive appropriations that will hurt people with disabilities, their families and providers of service for years to come, if they are approved as currently recommended. We would love to see you next Tuesday and we hope you will support our efforts to get our Governor and Legislature to listen to our plea.”

Please forward this notice, as well as future notices, to anyone you think might be potentially interested.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

AHCCCS Eligibility Policy Manual

There is a new link to the AHCCCS Eligibility Policy Manual. You can find it here as a PDF.
This includes the AHCCCS questionnaires and scoring instructions that are used to qualify children.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Right of the Month- June

To withhold family information from your records or discussions with service providers.

I've heard from many families in service that between intakes, evaluations, doctors, and therapists, they feel like they recite their family and child's history...several times over. As a therapist, I can say that the more I know about your family and child, the better I can assist you. However, this has to be balanced against the family's need for (and right to) privacy. Ultimately, the line is drawn differently for each family, and with each professional, and I would love to hear about how any readers have decided to draw those lines.

For other discussions of rights, click the right of the month label.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Supreme court to hear budget cut challenge

Supreme Court to hear budget cut challenge
By Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services

The Arizona Supreme Court turned aside two requests Monday by state agencies to block the Legislature from cutting their funds but agreed to hear arguments on a third.

Without comment, the justices rejected efforts by organizations that provide care to the developmentally disabled to force the Department of Economic Security to restore funds for services to the developmentally disabled.

In a separate order Monday, the justices refused to consider claims by the Industrial Commission of Arizona that the Legislature illegally took some funds from the agency to balance the state budget.

The rulings are most immediate a victory for the state which, for the time being, doesn't have to spend any more money.

But the high court did agree to hear arguments at the end of this month on a claim by First Things First that it was illegal for lawmakers to take more than $7 million from the account of that program approved two years ago by voters.

All three lawsuits are a direct outgrowth of a move by lawmakers in January to deal with a $1.6 billion deficit.

Legislators sought to balance the budget in part by "sweeping'' money from special accounts held by various state agencies. All totaled, lawmakers took more than $500 million.

That included $7 million in interest accumulated by First Things First, a program approved by voters in 2006 to add an 80-cents-a-pack tax on cigarettes to fund programs for early childhood development. By law, the tax proceeds are off limits. But legislators insisted they could take the interest that was earned off the money.

The high court agreed Monday to consider arguments that the raid was illegal.

The justices, however, refused to consider a similar claim by the Industrial Commission that taking $4.7 million from its special accounts was illegal.

In a petition to the Supreme Court, attorneys for the commission said the funds constitutionally can be used only to benefit injured workers, their employers and the companies that provide workers' compensation insurance, "not the general public.'' They also said the sweep amounted to "an unconstitutional taking of private property ... without just compensation.''

But attorneys for the state said there was nothing special about the commission's funds, allowing lawmakers to tap the cash when needed.

In Monday's action, the Supreme Court simply refused to hear the arguments.

That, however, does not end the matter. The commission is still free to file a regular lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court and try to make its case there.

The third lawsuit stems from the order by lawmakers in January that DES reduce its spending by about $150 million. That agency, in turn, cut payments to individuals and others that provide services to the developmentally disabled by 10 percent.

DES also eliminated services for people who are moderately developmentally disabled who, with support, can work in the private sector. Also cut was funding for early intervention services for 2,000 children, from birth through age 3, who are at risk for becoming developmentally disabled.

A trial judge blocked the move in March, ruling DES had acted illegally, blocking the cuts.

But the Arizona Court of Appeals last month said the evidence showed the agency had done nothing illegal and allowed DES to proceed with the reductions. Monday's Supreme Court decision upholds that ruling.

From here.