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Goal: 25,000 Progress: 15,382
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

Jan 31, 2015 Steven phenicie
Jan 31, 2015 terrie phenicie
Jan 31, 2015 Donna Richard
Jan 31, 2015 Ewa Wojtkiewicz
Jan 31, 2015 Joy Ryan
Jan 31, 2015 Dusty Stepanski
Jan 31, 2015 tabbitha brindle
Jan 31, 2015 Kevin Reilly
Jan 31, 2015 Taylor Johnson
Jan 31, 2015 Michael Carmon
Jan 31, 2015 gary boggan My grandson is autistic and any break through plan/therapy are appreciated but can be costly. Help these little one become productive American Citizens.
Jan 31, 2015 Sheilagh Daly-Zeras
Jan 31, 2015 Aurora Margareta Barabancea
Jan 31, 2015 kapil suranga
Jan 30, 2015 Diana Boswell
Jan 30, 2015 chenie kaur
Jan 30, 2015 Joan Kennedy
Jan 30, 2015 Cheryl Schlecht
Jan 30, 2015 Cate Lemieux
Jan 30, 2015 peggy williams
Jan 30, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jan 30, 2015 Myrna Melton Never Forget!!!!
Jan 30, 2015 (Name not displayed) DON'T LEAVE US ALONE, IF WE GET BACK HOME.
Jan 30, 2015 Rochelle Thorne
Jan 30, 2015 Don Baker Short on Money, use congress money, the do not work anywhy
Jan 30, 2015 Lea Johnson
Jan 30, 2015 elise baird
Jan 30, 2015 jessica clupp
Jan 30, 2015 Marie Sillery
Jan 30, 2015 Gina Freitas
Jan 30, 2015 Kathryn LeMosy
Jan 30, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jan 30, 2015 Alison Little
Jan 30, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jan 30, 2015 Sharon Reardanz
Jan 30, 2015 Roger West
Jan 30, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jan 30, 2015 Claire Bonnet
Jan 30, 2015 Joseph Bator
Jan 30, 2015 Mary Ann Gilkey
Jan 30, 2015 Florence Scott
Jan 30, 2015 Robert Konkolewsski
Jan 30, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jan 30, 2015 Irvin Allen
Jan 30, 2015 Esther perez montero
Jan 30, 2015 Lee Williamson
Jan 30, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jan 30, 2015 Shannnon Jameson
Jan 30, 2015 Heather Caito

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