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Goal: 25,000 Progress: 16,488
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

Jul 4, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jul 4, 2015 Donald Wedekind
Jul 3, 2015 Jackie Reed Our members of the military deserve our thanks and support for PTSD and Autism and so many other problems, The suicide rate is intolerable
Jul 3, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jul 3, 2015 Vicki Brayton
Jul 2, 2015 Michael Mayes
Jul 2, 2015 Cynthia Glidewell
Jul 2, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jul 2, 2015 Devon Kerbow
Jul 2, 2015 Paul-Denis Clermont
Jul 2, 2015 Stephen Thomas
Jul 2, 2015 Patty Mason
Jul 2, 2015 Gail Bottari
Jul 2, 2015 Brenda Sholar
Jul 1, 2015 Mary Pietsch
Jul 1, 2015 Melanie Burningham
Jul 1, 2015 Rachel Morgan
Jun 30, 2015 Undine Nestler
Jun 30, 2015 (Name not displayed) Support this cause of Increasing need across all economic and social levels. Urgent ongoing need.
Jun 30, 2015 Connie Foust
Jun 30, 2015 Erin Mikkelson
Jun 30, 2015 antonio calbetó
Jun 30, 2015 Brenda Marrs
Jun 30, 2015 (Name not displayed) Autism benefits should not be withheld from our Military. Early treatment is vital to the development of these children. As a grandmother of an Autistic child, I have seen firsthand the benefits if early treatment. Implement benefits now!
Jun 30, 2015 (Name not displayed) I am raising my 10 year old grandson who was diagnosed as high functioning autistic. Some days I feel we both need timeouts from the world. And the costs for the help he needs are out of our reach.
Jun 29, 2015 Cynthia Williams
Jun 29, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jun 29, 2015 Mary Kellogg
Jun 29, 2015 April Secore
Jun 29, 2015 Paula Jampsa
Jun 29, 2015 Diane Harris
Jun 29, 2015 Lisa Fort
Jun 29, 2015 Jacqueline Nelson
Jun 29, 2015 B Pelton
Jun 29, 2015 Charles & Deborah Supers Jr ALL Military Personnel and Veterans deserve the best of everything for themselves and their Families! They've ALL EARNED IT the HARD WAY!
Jun 29, 2015 pat knack
Jun 27, 2015 Roxanne Proctor-Toomey
Jun 27, 2015 Barbara Desrochers
Jun 27, 2015 Lori Shores Understand government and VA, we NEED help with PTST and SUICIDE!! This is REAL!! There is no reason we have people suffering!! Get acting on this ASAP!! They are dying when they come home from fighting for our Country!!!!!/
Jun 27, 2015 n. gottlieb
Jun 26, 2015 Nancy Shumaker
Jun 26, 2015 Alex Sutherlin
Jun 25, 2015 Teri Endrich AUTISM Therapy must b a priority & have the healthcare coverage through military benefits!
Jun 25, 2015 Janice Banks
Jun 25, 2015 Judy Flanagan
Jun 25, 2015 Trina Harding
Jun 25, 2015 Toni Soderholm
Jun 24, 2015 Susan Bender
Jun 24, 2015 Patty Weston Please do not rob our military families of the medical therapies that they need. We need to take care of those who serve our country. Thank you!
Jun 23, 2015 Kimberly Mclaughlin

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