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Goal: 25,000 Progress: 15,604
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

Mar 2, 2015 Michelle ROY
Mar 2, 2015 Sandra Bowen
Mar 1, 2015 Kimberley Clack
Feb 28, 2015 Eva Yeskin
Feb 28, 2015 Tammy Jones Hancock
Feb 27, 2015 Marcy Ryan
Feb 27, 2015 Eliza Duncan
Feb 27, 2015 Judi Cecich
Feb 27, 2015 Brandi Doyle
Feb 26, 2015 Vivian Hooton ABA therapy is absolutely necessary for thousands of kids. Why not prevent a problem rather than cause one by denying them their needs due to your bottom line?
Feb 26, 2015 Kathy Snawder
Feb 26, 2015 Sean Diviny
Feb 26, 2015 Joan S.
Feb 26, 2015 Tammy Nogles
Feb 26, 2015 Susan Hepler
Feb 26, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Feb 26, 2015 Angela Soper
Feb 26, 2015 RENEE NEWPHER Don't let our VETS down...
Feb 26, 2015 Laurel Jordan The changes MADE IN TRICARE RECENTLY HAS LEFT MY SON WHO WAS EXCELLING IN ABA THERAPY, WITHOUT ADEQUATE TREATMENT DUE TO THE STIPULATIONS PLACED ON HIS PROVIDER.It has left my son regressing and struggling instead of thriving. it is painful.
Feb 26, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Feb 26, 2015 Mary Field
Feb 26, 2015 Elissa Aldred Our military and their families deserve the very best healthcare. No questions asked!
Feb 25, 2015 Beverly Stecklein
Feb 25, 2015 Michael D. & Brenda M. Old Turtle As a couple of old vets, we believe these young vets should be supported & Helped like you DIDN't support & help us during the Vietnam days.
Feb 24, 2015 Evette Mumford
Feb 23, 2015 Sharon Novak
Feb 23, 2015 celeste long If a soldier has a child with ant medical problem than our goverment should cover it. Having a child with a medical problem is still part of that soldier, so we should cover it.
Feb 23, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Feb 23, 2015 David Zufelt
Feb 23, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Feb 23, 2015 Jana-Lee Hofmann
Feb 23, 2015 Joyce Simmons
Feb 23, 2015 Kathy Aprile
Feb 23, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Feb 22, 2015 kathleen thornton
Feb 22, 2015 Jennifer Bickle We are a military family and our son is on the autism spectrum. It's crucial that any child with autism receive the help they need and deserve.
Feb 22, 2015 Maureen Cece
Feb 22, 2015 Lee Barrilleaux
Feb 22, 2015 Sean Comerford
Feb 22, 2015 Carol White Beyond shame that we need to ask help for anyone who has served in our military.
Feb 22, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Feb 21, 2015 beki hartsell
Feb 21, 2015 Donna Ward
Feb 21, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Feb 21, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Feb 21, 2015 Debbie Morgan
Feb 21, 2015 Marsha Rump As a professional who works with children on the spectrum, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to provide therapy at the youngest age possible.
Feb 21, 2015 Melany Stawnyczyj
Feb 21, 2015 Crystal Kimmel

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