Parents of autistic boy sue Ohio health department

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 28, 2012 at 3:45 pm •  Published: December 28, 2012
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"Therefore it is not provided," he said, adding that the state provides a number of other treatments.

The Youngs have been using grants to pay for 15 hours of applied behavioral analysis for Roman, but Holly Young said the grants expire next month and she and her husband, a Miami Township firefighter, have taken out loans, used up credit cards and gotten help from friends and family to pay for their son's treatment.

The lawsuit said the couple is on the brink of bankruptcy.

Jim Ball, executive chair of the national board of the Bethesda, Md.-based Autism Society of America, said lawsuits like the one the Youngs filed are not uncommon in the U.S. He said parents seeking the best treatment for their children are at odds with states and school districts trying to minimize costs while following federal requirements to treat autistic children.

Access to applied behavioral analysis, widely considered the best treatment for many children with autism, is spotty across the country and often comes down to where a child is born, how well off the parents are or how much government agencies are willing to pay, Ball said.

"It's sad to say, but in a lot of cases it comes down to money," he said.

The Youngs will be in court on Wednesday arguing for a judge to order the state to immediately begin providing intensive therapy to Roman as the lawsuit proceeds.

Besides the 46 hours of therapy a week for Roman, the lawsuit seeks more than $3 million in compensatory damages for the Young family and a declaration that the state "systemically violates the rights of infants and toddlers with disabilities when it unilaterally and categorically excludes certain intensive early intervention services."

The lawsuit came just three days before Gov. John Kasich expressed his support of a plan for the state to require health insurance companies to cover therapy and treatment for children with autism starting in 2014.

Most private carriers don't offer coverage for children with autism. Ohio's new requirement will allow parents to get coverage through health insurance sold in the private market and in the upcoming federal health insurance exchange and for state employees. The requirement won't include the self-insured and large group insurers.

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Follow Amanda Lee Myers on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaLeeAP



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