Press Release: Sen. Bates Applauds Autism Community for Victory in Providence Case

Senator Dr. Alan Bates (D-Medford) today thanked and congratulated autism families for their perseverance in fighting Providence Health Systems' illegal denial of treatment to its members.

In a class action suit brought by Providence members whose children were diagnosed with autism, U.S. District Court Judge Simon ruled that Providence had illegally denied treatment, in violation of Oregon and Federal law.

Sen. Bates, a long-time champion of better care for families affected by autism, said, "This is about the children. They deserve the right treatment at the right time. This ruling brings relief and certainty to these long-suffering families struggling to get what their kids deserve."

The treatment in question is Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA therapy, which has an established history of dramatically improving life skills in autism-affected individuals. While the cost of initial treatment can be prohibitive for many families, the long-term benefits can be profound, resulting in a greater degree of lifestyle choices, educational opportunities and employment options for those who receive treatment.

Sen. Bates co-sponsored SB 365, the Autism Insurance Reform Bill, which was unanimously passed and became law in 2013. SB365 clarified existing requirements for insurance coverage of medically necessary treatment for autism spectrum disorder, including ABA. It also created the Behavior Analysis Regulatory Board to license and credential providers of ABA services to ensure high quality, low cost service delivery in a model consistent with the national standard of care. He worked closely with the Autism Society of Oregon, Autism Speaks, Oregon Association of Behavior Analysis, Cambia Health, Providence and Pacific Source Health Systems to craft the treatment mandate.

Judge Simon’s ruling strengthens and clarifies the intent of SB 365. Taken together, Oregon stands to have one of the strongest autism treatment mandates in the nation. 

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