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State Autism Profiles: Alaska

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DEMOGRAPHICS

In 2000, 222 or 1.25% of children ages 3-21 who received special education services in Alaska have autism. In 2014-2015, 1,201 or 6.66% of children with disabilities ages 3-21 who received special education services have autism.
Table 1-1: IDEA Part B - Children with Autism in Alaska for 1999-2000 and 2014-2015
(Child Count by Age Group)

  1999-20002014-2015
Age 3-5

27

106

Age 6-21

 195

1,089

Age 3-21

 222

1,201

Source: Reported by the State of Alaska in accordance with Section 618 of IDEA to U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs

Table 1-2: IDEA Part B - Children with Disabilities in Alaska for 1999-2000 and 2014-2015
(Child Count by Age Group)

  1999-20002014-2015
Age 3-5

 1,637

2,034

Age 6-11

 8,218

7,822

Age 12-17

7,150

7,215

Age 18-21

 686

952

Age 6-21

 16,054

15,989

Age 3-21

 17,691

18,023

Source: Reported by the State of Alaska in accordance with Section 618 of IDEA to U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs

STATE TASK FORCE

Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education (GCDSE)
Formed in 1977 (Admin. Order 42), the mission of the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education is to create change that improves the lives of Alaskans with disabilities. In 2007, the council formed an Ad Hoc Committee on Autism to study the needs of Alaskans with autism. The committee developed a five part recommendation: to provide universal screening and well-child checkups; referral for a comprehensive evaluation to expand the diagnostic capacity in the state and to have additional screening clinics throughout the state; to develop an Autism resource center; to provide time-limited early intervention services through a Medicaid waiver for a period while the child is young, which would offer early intensive intervention; and to build capacity to train people in Alaska to provide the intensive intervention services for children with autism. The Autism Workgroup continues to meet in 2016.
http://dhss.alaska.gov/gcdse/Pages/committees/autism/default.aspx
http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/wcfh/Pages/autism/default.aspx

STATE INSURANCE COVERAGE

On June 27, 2012, Alaska became the 31st state to enact autism insurance reform. S.B. 74, first introduced in the 2011 session, provides coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders for individuals under the age of twenty-one, without a maximum annual benefit. Covered treatments include medically necessary habilitative or rehabilitative care, such as applied behavior analysis, pharmacy care, psychiatric care, psychological care, and therapeutic care. The law also has some exceptions for small employers (25 or fewer employees). S.B. 74 also created the Comprehensive Autism Early Diagnosis and Treatment Task Force, which will survey the effects of S.B. 74, as well as make recommendations concerning the development of a statewide plan to aid the early diagnosis and treatment of autism. (Alaska Stat. § 21.42.397)
In 2013, House Bill 147 extended the reporting and termination dates of the Task Force until January 2015.

ESSENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS

Autism services are included in Alaska’s Essential Health Benefits (EHB) package under the Affordable Care Act. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is included in the “Habilitative Services” EHB. The exchange is being run by the federal government.
(Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska; Alaska Heritage Select Envoy)

MEDICAID

Alaska Medicaid was scheduled to begin paying for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) through Medicaid’s Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) program in 2016. Last update indicated that the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) was developing regulations and other guidance in order to make ABA available via EPSDT.
http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/wcfh/Pages/autism/default.aspx
http://dhss.alaska.gov/gcdse/Documents/Publications/pdf/autism_policy.pdf

Alaska Home Community Based Services Waiver (HCBS): People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AK.0260.R04.00)
This waiver, implemented on July 1, 2006, allows individuals with developmental disabilities, and more specifically autism, to remain living at home and within their community. Services provided under this waiver include: providing care coordination, day habilitation, residential habilitation, respite, supported employment, chore, environmental modifications, intensive active treatment, meals, specialized medical equipment and supplies, and specialized private duty nursing and transportation. This waiver has no age restriction or limit and expires on June 30, 2016. Alaska filed a request with CMS in February 2016 for a five year extension.

OTHER STATE RESOURCES

Behavior Analysts Licensing Program
In 2014, the legislature passed and the governor signed HB 361 creating the behavior analyst licensing program administered by the Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing. As of September 16, 2016, the state requires licensure for all practicing behavior analysts. Prior to that date, licensure is only required for those new to the field or new to the state.
https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/cbpl/ProfessionalLicensing/BehaviorAnalysts.aspx

Alaska Autism Resource Center (AARC)
The AARC is a program of the Special Education Service Agency (SESA), which seeks to promote awareness and support of autism in the communities of Alaska. AARC provides information to families of children with autism and helps to increase the availability of services in the state. Also, the center provides in-service training to school districts and provides information on all aspects of autism spectrum disorders.
http://alaskaarc.org/

STATE LEGISLATIVE CALENDAR

The Alaska State Legislature meets annually on the third Tuesday in January. Each session can last for no more than 120 consecutive days, unless extended by a 2/3 vote. The 2016 session convened on January 19, 2016 and adjourned on May 18, 2016.The 2017 session is expected to convene on January 17, 2017 and is expected to adjourn in April 2017.
http://w3.legis.state.ak.us/index.php


Sponsors of Autism Legislation

Prepared by Easterseals, Inc.; November 2016.

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