Here are some exciting and important developments:
We now have a PayPal link where you can make donations towards the West Georgia Autism Foundation. Here is the link if you would like to donate: https://www.paypal.me/WestGaAutism
Our 501c3 letter from the IRS should be here soon. Once approved, we will fully engage in our multiple fundraising opportunities. Please consider joining the Fundraising Committee.
Expansion of Our State Autism Mandate.
Thank you to Kimberly Dick of Autism Speaks for sharing this blurb:
Ava’s Law was originally passed in Georgia in 2015 after almost a decade of advocacy by the autism community. The law intended to reverse the discrimination that individuals diagnosed with autism experienced when health insurance plans specifically excluded any treatment specific to autism from their coverage. Families in Georgia struggled for years to access basic, evidence-based care, unable to pay out of pocket. Without the appropriate funding stream, the number of providers remained extremely low and long waiting lists developed across the state.
Although it was a huge step in the right direction, the initial passage of Ava’s Law was not without compromise. Although evidence indicates that therapy is effective across the lifespan of individuals with autism, the legislature amended the original bill to cap coverage of behavioral therapy at $30,000 annually and only apply the requirement to children ages six and under.
Advocates were grateful for the progress, but also determined to continue to work towards coverage for individuals with autism of all ages. Another critical step forward occurred in the 2018 legislative session when Senator Renee Unterman introduced Senate Bill 118,. The bill simply increased the previous dollar cap on behavioral therapy to $35,000 annually and also increased the age cap on behavioral therapy from six up to the age of twenty.
House Insurance Committee Chairman Richard Smith, a longtime opponent of the bill, became its champion in the 2018 legislative session upon review of claims data reported from Georgia’s own State Employee Health Plan. The bill now awaits Governor Deal’s signature and will go into effect on January 1, 2019.
Be on the lookout for an October date for our big Masquerade fundraising event. Please consider assisting Cynthia and contacting her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Another way you can get started on helping us with the fundraising project is by making a list of as many people as you know that would love to purchase a ticket, table, or just make a donation in their honor.
We still need more speakers who can get in front of more audiences to spread the word about the WGAF. Please contact Jenn Toney if you are interested in becoming a voice for autism. You can email her at email@example.com.
Thank you for your continued support with WGAF. Please continue to spread the word!
West Georgia Autism Foundation