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Goal: 50,000 Progress: 23,855
Sponsored by: The Veterans Site

For years the Department of Defense (DoD) has refused to acknowledge the validity of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) in treating the symptoms of autism. With over 23,000 military dependents living on the spectrum, this means restricted access to the most valuable treatment currently available. Already burdened by the constant moving and social turmoil of military life, families must also pay out of pocket for this costly yet vital therapy.

Rather than embrace change, the military's primary health care program, TRICARE, has imposed a series of even more restrictive guidelines, all while DoD lawyers continue to argue against covering ABA, citing "a lack of evidence of effectiveness." Medical professionals and organizations agree, however, that ABA is the most effective treatment available, helping those with autism lead happy and productive lives. Children tend to respond best to the therapy at a younger age, so as the DoD stalls and delays, families are losing precious time to help their loved ones.

With the world's largest, best-equipped, and best-financed military, such practices are unacceptable. An effective military starts with the people. Let's give military families the benefits they have earned.

Sign Here

Dear Dr. Woodson, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs:

As the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense of matters of health, you have an obligation to keep our nation's military healthy.

And you are failing.

For years the Department of Defense has refused to acknowledge the valuable service provided by Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) in treating the symptoms of autism. Medical consensus depicts ABA as the gold standard of autism therapies, yet TRICARE provides inadequate coverage and imposes unreasonable bureaucratic obstacles, leaving military families to incur debt trying to cover the costly yet necessary treatment.

It is time to live up to your obligation. The DoD should immediately:

  1. Recognize ABA as a "medical therapy." Current TRICARE policy labels ABA as "educational intervention" and places restrictive caps on who can receive benefits and how much they can receive. Even the federal courts recognized the misnomer, calling TRICARE's designation "arbitrary and capricious." Words matter.
  2. Fulfill the congressional mandate for a pilot program. The late-2012 order from Congress would establish a model for the future while providing immediate relief for the nation's veterans and their families. Several months overdue, the pilot should be launched immediately with clear and concise communication to the families affected.
  3. Reverse ABA cutbacks. The recently announced changes to ABA policy impose impractical obstacles to proper treatment and, given the timing of the changes, demonstrate an unwillingness to work with the families who are only seeking access to the benefits they earned.

The health and well-being of military families has a direct impact on military readiness. By continuing to stall on this matter, the DoD not only betrays the nation's military, but also puts the nation at risk.

Please do the right thing.

Petition Signatures

Apr 26, 2017 Inez shavers
Apr 18, 2017 Michael Garrett
Apr 17, 2017 Elizabeth Frost
Apr 17, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Apr 17, 2017 Janet Flatt
Apr 17, 2017 Sabrina Degasperi
Apr 17, 2017 Pamela Kjono
Apr 13, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Apr 13, 2017 Richard Laba
Apr 12, 2017 Michelle Cary
Apr 9, 2017 Wendy Cohoe
Apr 9, 2017 Brandy Robinson
Apr 9, 2017 jackie lewthwaite
Apr 8, 2017 Cynthia Plummer
Apr 7, 2017 Lisa Briggs
Apr 6, 2017 robert dowling
Apr 6, 2017 Judith Kelley
Apr 6, 2017 Leslie Solook
Apr 5, 2017 pat wilburn
Apr 5, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Apr 5, 2017 Emily Ettinger
Apr 4, 2017 Mary Carlson love
Mar 31, 2017 Gayle Williams
Mar 28, 2017 Sandra Hazenberg
Mar 28, 2017 Jack Martin
Mar 27, 2017 Darlene Ross
Mar 27, 2017 Georgi Mortensen
Mar 27, 2017 John Dalla
Mar 26, 2017 Marsha Croner
Mar 23, 2017 Barbara MacDougall
Mar 19, 2017 Sibrina Russell
Mar 13, 2017 Stephen Moyer
Mar 13, 2017 Lora Hamman
Mar 6, 2017 stephanie cameron
Mar 5, 2017 Ellena Pickerd
Mar 5, 2017 Jane A Lemison
Mar 3, 2017 Jessenda Swartzwelder
Mar 3, 2017 Chris Gill
Mar 3, 2017 Darleen Hogg
Feb 28, 2017 Sharon Perry
Feb 27, 2017 Fernanda Coelho
Feb 27, 2017 Lajeanne Leveton NO EXCUSE for this condition not to be fully covered in every way!
Feb 23, 2017 Diane M McCoy
Feb 23, 2017 Nadia Mousa
Feb 23, 2017 (Name not displayed) OUTRAGOUS that this is being overlooked in this day and age!
Feb 19, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Feb 19, 2017 (Name not displayed) symptoms of autism should treated and covered.
Feb 17, 2017 Paula Crawford It is the right thing to do.
Feb 17, 2017 michalla sutton
Feb 15, 2017 Sieglinda Preez

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