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Goal: 15,000 Progress: 12,318
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

Sep 14, 2014 Crystal Jones
Sep 14, 2014 Edward Quinn One day I'm serving my country and my child can receive ABA therapy. I retire and there are restrictions on the same providers and same child. Just because I'm no longer in an 'active' status doesn't mean my child doesn't need the same therapy.
Sep 13, 2014 Valerie Brown
Sep 13, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Sep 13, 2014 Sandy Warner Please offer these benefits to our veteran's families
Sep 13, 2014 juanita fortson
Sep 13, 2014 Barbara Wetula
Sep 13, 2014 Deanna Quintana
Sep 12, 2014 Kathy Hasenjaeger
Sep 12, 2014 CHUCK JONES
Sep 12, 2014 Michael Schimmel
Sep 12, 2014 Julia Viel
Sep 12, 2014 Ron Dot'o
Sep 12, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Sep 12, 2014 Myrna Chandler
Sep 12, 2014 Judy Wood Give these precious babies a chance. They are God's children ad well after all.
Sep 12, 2014 (Name not displayed) Our military service men and women go through hell to keep our nation, our people safe. Do not withhold vital services to these brave men and women. They've given enough already.
Sep 12, 2014 Ellen McVay
Sep 11, 2014 kaitlin kennedy
Sep 11, 2014 harvey stein
Sep 11, 2014 Susan Zettlemoyer These families sacrificed so much, they deserve these important benefits
Sep 11, 2014 elmer hargrave
Sep 11, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Sep 10, 2014 Michael Cox
Sep 10, 2014 Kyle Masciari
Sep 10, 2014 linda umbenhour
Sep 10, 2014 sherry dalton
Sep 10, 2014 Amy Jolly
Sep 10, 2014 Jacqueline Franklin
Sep 10, 2014 Philip Klingenberger
Sep 10, 2014 Janet Johnson If they can fight for our freedom they damn well deserve to be taken care of after they come home .
Sep 10, 2014 Deborah Schrader
Sep 10, 2014 Linda Wheeldon
Sep 10, 2014 Russell Searles Please look into this. I know several military families that this affects and there are thousands more...Do your duty to them.
Sep 10, 2014 Stacey Malone
Sep 10, 2014 Cary S
Sep 9, 2014 Frieda Robinson
Sep 9, 2014 janice arrington
Sep 9, 2014 Pauline Short
Sep 9, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Sep 9, 2014 sheryl Hurula My husband spent thirty six years in the Air Force and Air Force reserve. The veterans administration has never acknowledged and of his injuries etc. Lets not let that happen again.
Sep 9, 2014 Cicely Howard
Sep 9, 2014 Maria Simao
Sep 9, 2014 Jennifer Johnson
Sep 9, 2014 Dianne Andrews
Sep 9, 2014 heidi heiss
Sep 9, 2014 BOB MOTTO
Sep 9, 2014 Dollie Mitchell Please help Our Military Families with the Benefits that they deserve. They have fought for Our Country!
Sep 9, 2014 Anna Mariscal
Sep 9, 2014 (Name not displayed)

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