INDIANAPOLIS — Dozens of parents protested outside Gov. Holcomb’s residence Thursday demanding he put an end to a proposal they say could hurt children with autism.
The protest comes a week after 55 parents and advocates signed a letter to the governor asking him to reevaluate the FSSA proposal that could slash the average Medicaid reimbursement for autism therapy (known as “ABA” for short) nearly in half.
”Families won’t be able to afford it, to do it with private pay,” Tory Buchan, a concerned grandparent at the rally, said.
”It would be devastating,” concerned parent Molly Dubovec said.
Dubovec’s eight-year-old son has received ABA for almost five years—she said the treatment he’s received up to this point has been profound for his development.
”He’s learned things that I’ve never thought he might be able to learn,” Dubovec said.
She said she’s concerned the proposed standardized rate could mean her son would lose the personalized care he desperately needs.
”I don’t know how the centers will be able to possibly survive,” Dubovec said.
”I would love for the governor to put a stop to this,” Sarah Winningham, Regional Director of Step Ahead ABA Therapy, said.
Winningham said her business serves 90 families in Indiana, nearly all of which use Medicaid vouchers.
”With Medicaid cuts, they will not have access to those services,” Winningham said.
The FSSA said it has been working to establish a rate because there is no current rate.
”FSSA needs to take some responsibility here for the fact that they never set the rate,” State Rep. Becky Cash, who sits on the House Education Committee, said.
Cash said if Gov. Holcomb approves the FSSA proposal later this year, it could have a devastating impact on the state’s educational system.
”I just know that our schools cannot in January absorb these kids, and the needs of these children will not be met in the schools,” Cash said.
We reached out to Gov. Holcomb’s office for comment. We have yet to receive a response.