The Florida Association for Behavior Analysis (FABA) today called on the state
Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to immediately address significant issues in how behavior analysis providers throughout Florida are approved and authorized to provide treatment for children. The association said many children with autism or other developmental disorders are being denied medically necessary behavior analysis services as a result of harmful delays, routinely lasting a month or longer, by a state contractor hired by AHCA.
“These delays are inexcusable and are causing heartache for so many children and families who desperately need the services provided by qualified behavior analysts,” said Nikki Dickens, president of FABA. “Our state government simply cannot sit back while these vulnerable children suffer as a result of an ineffective and inefficient bureaucratic system.”
These delays have been going on for months but became a far bigger problem in June, when eQHealth Solutions, the contractor hired by AHCA to process Medicaid assessments, authorizations, and claims for behavior analysis services, terminated all authorization approvals from the previous contract administrator, Beacon Health Options, requiring all providers to seek reauthorizations. This transition from Beacon to eQHealth has been fraught with difficulties, delays, and denials that are negatively affecting both behavior analysis professionals and the people they care for every day.
Some children are even being denied access to medically necessary behavior analysis services due to six- and seven-month-long delays in the enrollment and credentialing of behavior analysis providers by AHCA which has significantly limited access to behavior analysis services. Such enrollment with the state is a requirement for behavior analysts to receive Medicaid reimbursement for providing services to clients in Florida.
Parents and caregivers recently organized a rally in Tampa to highlight these challenges, with additional events being planned across the state.
“AHCA has repeatedly said there will be no loss of service for children who need behavior analysis services, but we are hearing from countless providers and families across the state who say that is simply not true,” Dickens said. “This problem must be addressed immediately, and it must be addressed with the top priority on helping those Floridians who need the services that skilled professionals can provide.”