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Goal: 15,000 Progress: 14,427
Sponsored by: The Veterans Site

For years the Department of Defense (DoD) has refused to acknowledge the validity of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) in treating the symptoms of autism. With over 23,000 military dependents living on the spectrum, this means restricted access to the most valuable treatment currently available. Already burdened by the constant moving and social turmoil of military life, families must also pay out of pocket for this costly yet vital therapy.

Rather than embrace change, the military's primary health care program, TRICARE, has imposed a series of even more restrictive guidelines, all while DoD lawyers continue to argue against covering ABA, citing "a lack of evidence of effectiveness." Medical professionals and organizations agree, however, that ABA is the most effective treatment available, helping those with autism lead happy and productive lives. Children tend to respond best to the therapy at a younger age, so as the DoD stalls and delays, families are losing precious time to help their loved ones.

With the world's largest, best-equipped, and best-financed military, such practices are unacceptable. An effective military starts with the people. Let's give military families the benefits they have earned.

Sign Here

Dear Dr. Woodson, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs:

As the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense of matters of health, you have an obligation to keep our nation's military healthy.

And you are failing.

For years the Department of Defense has refused to acknowledge the valuable service provided by Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) in treating the symptoms of autism. Medical consensus depicts ABA as the gold standard of autism therapies, yet TRICARE provides inadequate coverage and imposes unreasonable bureaucratic obstacles, leaving military families to incur debt trying to cover the costly yet necessary treatment.

It is time to live up to your obligation. The DoD should immediately:

  1. Recognize ABA as a "medical therapy." Current TRICARE policy labels ABA as "educational intervention" and places restrictive caps on who can receive benefits and how much they can receive. Even the federal courts recognized the misnomer, calling TRICARE's designation "arbitrary and capricious." Words matter.
  2. Fulfill the congressional mandate for a pilot program. The late-2012 order from Congress would establish a model for the future while providing immediate relief for the nation's veterans and their families. Several months overdue, the pilot should be launched immediately with clear and concise communication to the families affected.
  3. Reverse ABA cutbacks. The recently announced changes to ABA policy impose impractical obstacles to proper treatment and, given the timing of the changes, demonstrate an unwillingness to work with the families who are only seeking access to the benefits they earned.

The health and well-being of military families has a direct impact on military readiness. By continuing to stall on this matter, the DoD not only betrays the nation's military, but also puts the nation at risk.

Please do the right thing.

Petition Signatures

Nov 23, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Nov 22, 2014 Tamara Ortgies Praying you get all the signatures you need and deserve. Thank you for serving our country. Thank you to my father for his prior service, my brothers current service, and my fiancé who will be serving soon.
Nov 22, 2014 Lori VanSickle
Nov 22, 2014 Glen Greening
Nov 22, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Nov 22, 2014 Pamela Hankins They need this. God Bless these people.
Nov 22, 2014 Barb Brinkman
Nov 22, 2014 Laurie Cooney It's imperative that the Government make the military families a top priority in all areas of budgeting. Health care, housing for Vets, FOOD FOR ACTIVE DUTY SOLDIERS IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES! Seriously, TOP PRIORITY!! God Bless Our Military & their families!!
Nov 22, 2014 Alyson Reilly
Nov 22, 2014 Mary Ann Farner
Nov 22, 2014 Guy garavaglia
Nov 22, 2014 Dawn Bowers
Nov 21, 2014 Lois Anderson
Nov 21, 2014 Sharon Tuggle Give our military and their dependents the benefits promised to them!
Nov 21, 2014 Judith Helter
Nov 21, 2014 Lisa Farley
Nov 21, 2014 Regina Mason Our military men and women deserve for their families and themselves to be taken care of. They have paid for all they are entitled to by protecting us all.
Nov 21, 2014 Bob Brucker We can never forget the price of freedom is not "free."
Nov 19, 2014 lisa wright god bless y'all and thank you for serving!
Nov 19, 2014 Cheryl Blankenship
Nov 19, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Nov 19, 2014 Mairi MacDonald
Nov 18, 2014 Ruth McNaughton
Nov 18, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Nov 18, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Nov 18, 2014 Ruth Price
Nov 18, 2014 William Scholefield
Nov 18, 2014 SUSAN O'KEEFE
Nov 18, 2014 Sharon Bailey Honor. Our. Military. &. Their families
Nov 17, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Nov 17, 2014 E. Kendrick Let's help our veterans while decreasing the number of pets in shelters, please! They all deserve it.
Nov 17, 2014 Dawna Harbuck
Nov 17, 2014 Chloé Espinasse
Nov 16, 2014 Lorie Ramos Love heals !!!
Nov 16, 2014 William Tubilleja
Nov 16, 2014 Gayle Champion
Nov 16, 2014 Brenda Webster Brave men and women put aside their own family lives so we may enjoy our lives in peace. They and their families deserve the benefits they have earned. Anyone in Washington who does not do their utmost to make this happen does not deserve his/her job.
Nov 16, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Nov 16, 2014 Cheryl Robbins Pets are wonderful companions.They are a stress reliever and always a support. Their unconditional love gets you thru most anything. Having service animals for veterans is a phenomenal idea. Look at Paws for Stripes!
Nov 16, 2014 Sharon Herber
Nov 15, 2014 mélanie hodé
Nov 15, 2014 Alexis Stringfield
Nov 15, 2014 Lauri Rogers
Nov 14, 2014 Cindi Green
Nov 13, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Nov 13, 2014 ruth raney
Nov 13, 2014 Veronica Kauffman Give our brave man what they should have they gave for us and some gave all.God Bless them
Nov 12, 2014 Dawn Gorden
Nov 12, 2014 patti wade
Nov 12, 2014 Lee Reed

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