INDIANAPOLIS — The Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) has released an updated plan to reimburse autism therapy in Indiana.
The update would increase the proposed reimbursement rate for services rendered by an RBT by 24%. However, several parents and lawmakers say that the increase still may not be enough for many clinics to survive.
“The updated rates are still a steep cut,” concerned Kokomo parent Chanel McClure said.
McClure has a son who receives Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy. She said she is concerned the updated proposal could still mean her son would lose out on essential care.
“It’s increasing the rate a bit, but it’s still well below the cost for providers to run the facilities,” McClure said.
“We’ve got to find a way to meet in the middle somewhere,” parent Kate Miller of Indianapolis said.
Under the FSSA’s updated plan: the average reimbursement for RBT services would increase from roughly $55 to $68 per hour. Miller said a compromise could be reached if the FSSA increased the rate to $76 per hour.
“The promising thing is that, you know, eight dollars is…we’re closer, we’re close,” Miller said.
Jason Shaw, President of InPEAT (Indiana Providers of Effective Autism Treatment), said his organization represents 15 ABA centers statewide. Although the update increased the allowance for overhead costs from 15 to 20%, Shaw said that’s well below the average 35% needed for most centers.
“If it’s so low it can’t cover costs, no one can survive the turmoil when all of those providers drop out January 1 and disappear,” Shaw said.
The FSSA is expected to present its updated plan to the State Budget Committee on October 27. However, some committee members say they may decide to table the plan if they feel it needs further legislative review.
“The bottom line is we could just keep the current rates until the legislature acts and then make an adjustment, we’ve done that before,” State Rep. Ed DeLaney said.
“I don’t think that we need to rush coming up with a rate that has a detrimental impact on our children,” State Sen. Fady Qaddoura said.
If the committee does approve the FSSA’s plan, State Rep. Craig Haggard said lawmakers will be watching to see what additional improvements can be made.
“We may not fix it, but at least the spotlight has shone on it now, so I don’t think that it’s going to be allowed to go the wrong way, and if it does, I think we’ll make some corrections,” State Rep. Haggard said.