Monday, May 5, 2014

Children's Autism Program Now Accepting New Applicants

(Salt Lake City, UT) – The Utah Department of Health’s (UDOH) Medicaid Autism Waiver program is open for enrollment and will accept applications until Sunday, May 18 to fill 35 openings in the program.  The program was originally funded as a two-year pilot project, but was made an ongoing program during the 2014 legislative session (House Bill 88). The program provides treatment for approximately 290 children, ages two through six, who are clinically-diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  

Since its implementation, the Waiver has provided services to more than 300 children statewide.   During the first year of measurement, outcomes were extremely positive in both verbal and behavioral trajectories for the enrolled participants.  The program provides intensive individual support for children with ASD, as well as respite care for families.  Data have shown that early, intensive treatment gives children with ASD the best chance to reach their full potential.  

“The difference from a year ago is just unbelievable,” said one Utah mother whose six-year-old son has been enrolled in the program since it launched in October 2012.  “He is learning coping skills and learning to ask and take ‘no’ as an answer. It’s giving us as a family the tools to help with his issues and struggle. It’s a family process and not just about him.”

To enroll in the program, applications must be received by Sunday, May 18.  Applications can be submitted online at  Parents can also print the application and submit it by fax (801-536‐0153) or by mail (UDOH, PO Box 143112, Salt Lake City, UT 84114).

Applicants are not selected on a first come, first served basis.  Once the application period ends, if more than 35 applications are received, random selections will be made by geographical area based upon on each local health district’s population, to ensure statewide access.  Children currently participating in the program will not need to re-apply.  

To be eligible for the program, a child must have a clinical diagnosis of ASD and be a Utah resident with a date of birth between December 1, 2007 and May 31, 2011.  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.  Children currently enrolled in traditional Medicaid will not be automatically eligible for the program and will need to apply.  
Another Utah mother of a four-year-old son added, “It has helped my child by helping him learn things that he wouldn’t be able to do on his own. He was totally nonverbal and now he is saying words.  It’s been a game changer for us and given us a lot of hope and help after having difficulties with autism.”
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Media Contact:
Kolbi Young