FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 04/30/2013
LEGISLATORS, LEADERS, FAMILIES MARK TEXAS AUTISM AWARENESS DAY
Highlights Include HB3276 and SB1484 for Screening and Treatment
AUSTIN - Rep. Ron Simmons (Carrollton) joined Rep. Larry Gonzales (Round Rock), Senator Kirk Watson (Austin), Senator Eddie Lucio (Brownsville), Senator Wendy Davis (Fort Worth), and leaders and families to mark the first annual Texas Autism Awareness Day at the Capitol.
Noting that autism affects 1 in 88 children nationwide, Rep. Simmons said, "What we do as lawmakers, civic leaders, and families makes a difference in coverage, diagnosis, treatment, research, and support for these vulnerable children and adults." Rep. Simmons also serves as Vice Chairman of the Board for the Autism Society of America.
The event included discussions of vital legislation to improve autism diagnosis and treatment, as well as the recognition of prominent groups for autism research and support, such as Autism Speaks and the Autism Society of America.
House Bill 3276, filed by Rep. Simmons, aims to ensure that the screening exam for autism is covered by insurers. Currently, treatment for autism spectrum disorder is covered in Texas, but only after an official diagnosis. The bill is in the Calendars Committee awaiting placement for consideration on the floor.
"A critical oversight exists in regards to insurers' coverage of screening for autism spectrum disorder," explained Rep. Simmons. "HB 3276 will close the gap in coverage so that benefits can begin sooner-- and the sooner the diagnosis, the better the outcomes."
Senator Watson's SB 1484 is awaiting consideration on the Senate floor. The bill seeks to continue the coverage period past the current age of 10 for autism treatment. "Every single person living with autism deserves to enjoy the highest possible quality of life. I filed Senate Bill 1484 this session to ensure that autism services reach kids who need them the most, no matter how old they are."